My children were messing about in the playground. Too old to go on the slides but young enough to race to the top of the climbing frame.
My friend and I watched and chatted. She kicked the leaves as I clutched my coffee.
I was trying to explain how I felt. The sadness. The disappointment. The anxiety. The despair.
She knows me well. She knew what was going on from the moment we all hugged at the train station.
She knows my fake smile. My fake 'life is a pile of poo but sure I'm grand' throw-away-remarks.
Very few people see through my mask.
But she does. She knows.
She looked at me and stumbled over her words.
I knew what she was going to say. What she was trying to say. I couldn't leave her alone in this.
'You're wondering if I should see a doctor?' I asked her.
The relief flooded her face. She thanked me for saying it first. She had no idea how I would react. But I wasn't upset. I wasn't insulted. She was absolutely right - I am not well at the moment and I need some help. If my stomach/arm/leg/head was sick I would not hesitate to make an appointment.
So, why am I so reluctant to see a doctor about my depression?
Even typing that word feels strange - I call it my sadness. I don't use the D word.
But my friend knew I was very low. Does that mean others will sense it too? Does that mean my acting skills are not as proficient as they were? Don't tell me my MeryI Streep impression is slipping! Is it because my friend knows me well and loves me or is it because I am actually worse than I thought I was?
The last time I went to the doctor about my mental health, she asked me how I was and I sobbed. I told her what was happening - 'My marriage is over and I am moving house with my children, my ex is full of anger and hate and I am trying to make my way in a stressful career while I'm pretending to the world that I'm okay' (or words to that effect).
She said she would be more surprised if I wasn't depressed and put me on a low-dose anti-depressant. I came off those tablets exactly six months later. I don't know if they helped. Would I have coped anyway? I think I would. It might have been a very different six months but I would have muddled through. Somehow.
I go to a fabulous therapist and I like to think that is enough for me. Therapy, my kids, my friends, chocolate, music, books and any form of water (preferably the warm sea kind but I'll take freezing sea, chlorine pool, lavender bath or imperial leather shower!)
But this time, I might need more than those. I might. I haven't made the appointment yet. If I have to, I will. I accept that acceptance is vital.
Salt Water Mum
A Moodscope member.