Books are my medication.

Books are my medication.

Sometimes my Depression gets the best of me even though I’m on medication which is meant to stabilise me.  Medication is all good when it works but I find that sometimes my mood drops for no reason and it’s up to me to fight through it with willpower.  My Doctor always told me to try and distract myself when I was feeling particularly low, and I tried a lot of ways but only one thing works for me and it’s reading.

I’ve been a bookworm since my first book at 5 years old, I’ve always had bookshelves full of books and I don’t go anywhere without a book, whether a paperback or kindle.  Books take me away from my life and give me adventure and excitement, they allow me to live so many lives and learn so many things.  I have an Alice in Wonderland tattoo dedicated to the book because it’s one of my favourites, I’ve always loved the idea of finding another world or reality and getting lost in it, I could just never understand why the characters wanted to go home again at the end.  I also have a Jane Eyre quote down my spine which reads “I am no bird and no net will ensnare me” which is one of my favourite book quotes.  Reading for me is about being free and letting go of everyday stresses for a while.

I soon realised that when my mood dropped, if I picked up a book and read it through, by the end I felt a little better and a little more hopeful.  The thing with me and reading though, is that I have to read a book in one go, there is no putting it down and picking it up the next day.  I start and finish a book in a matter of hours because I live the story and I don’t want to pause halfway, I want to live the whole thing all at once.  So I would read late into the night when my insomnia was bad and it actually helped me sleep better because I dreamt of the things I read and it was a refreshing experience for me, because I’d usually dream of disturbing things and have nightmares.

The Doctor was glad that I had found something that distracted me when I needed it but she was also a bit worried because my imagination is overactive and early on in my depression and at some points still, I can become confused between reality and imagination.  She advised me to carry on reading but to not get lost in books and try to forget my problems because it was only a short term release.  I have a habit of avoiding my problems and bottling things up until I explode and then my mood becomes unstable, with books she was afraid I was just avoiding my feelings.

I think she was right to some extent, I do avoid real problems with books.  If I’m stressed or something bad has happened that day, I’ll pick up a book and ignore the world for a while, I’ll forget to eat and drink but I’m happy and free for a few moments.  This is why books are my medication, maybe it is bad for me to get lost in imaginary worlds and ignore the real one but it makes me happy for a while and I’ll take that.  Books bring me hope and joy, they let me relax and unwind and become invested in something.  I would never give up books, reading is my life and it’s what gets me through my hardest times.

To end, enjoy some quotes from those who also believe imagination is one of the most important parts of life:

Here in your mind you have complete privacy. Here there’s no difference between what is and what could be. CHUCK PALAHNIUK, Choke

We do not need magic to change the world. We carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better. J. K. ROWLING, speech to Harvard Alumni Association, 2008

The man who has no imagination has no wings. MUHAMMAD ALI, Newsweek, 1975

Logic will get you from A to Z; imagination will get you everywhere. Albert Einstein

Imagination is the eye of the soul. Joseph Joubert



Time to put the war paint on.

Time to put the war paint on.

Going out for a social event is something that most people look forward to and it’s something that I used to love to do.  Now it’s something that I have to spend a long while building up to, getting myself prepared for and building up my inner strength for.  It’s my sisters birthday in a week and she’s a very bubbly person who loves going out and having a good time.  As the older sister it’s hard to see, my little sister can go out and be completely free when I can’t.  My sister has always followed my footsteps, when she was little she would copy everything I did and she looked up to me.  I can’t help but think I’ve let her down, I should set an example and encourage confidence and independence.

So every birthday she chooses to go out for a meal with the family.  And this is where the war paint comes in. I spend most of my time too tired to do anything or too depressed to bother, so I never get dressed up or where make up.  So on the rare occasion I do go out, I like to think of my make up as war paint because I use it to try and hide how I really feel, I try to become a different person for one night.  When people look at me they will think I’m just a normal 23 year old who enjoys life, they won’t see the self hatred and darkness that’s inside me.  I use the make up as a shield, I dress up and pretend to be someone I’m not.  For one night I try to forget about my worries and fatigue, I put everything into acting the part and allowing my family to enjoy their time out and not worry about me.  It used to be that my family were so worried how I would react to certain places, they avoided going and I don’t want to deprive them of anything.

Depression has changed who I am and it’s also made me an extremely good actress.  Depression makes it easy for me to lie and I use it to put up a front, I use it to smile and laugh along with people, to blend in.  I feel disgusting inside but it allows me to act the part on the outside which is why it’s called an invisible illness.  On the outside I look like a typical person enjoying myself and getting on in life, no one looks deep enough to see the pain and anxiety that lurks beneath the surface.

So in a week, it will be time to wear the war paint and act happy and carefree for one night, because it’s my sisters birthday and I’ll do anything to make her happy and see her live the life I can’t.