Beating the odds. I'm making my way through medical school and here you can share in my journey.
Tuesday, 6 April 2010
Guest Post - Max and Me
Guest post submitted by Nooreen Akhtar. For sufferers of Depression like myself, this is a fantastic piece of writing explaining exactly what it is like for us on a day to day basis. Well worth reading. The black text is the entirety of the post, exactly as it was sent to me. Thank you for this wonderful submission.
Written by a friend.
Max and Me
The radio goes off at 7 am, and when I open my eyes I can tell Max is already awake. As I start to pull myself up the exhaustion hits me, and I wonder how much sleep I managed to get. Max must have kept me up for hours going on and on about money problems, the heavy workload we have at university and life after graduation. I turn off the radio and reach for my glasses when he starts trying to convince me to spend the day in bed, keep the curtains closed, ignore my timetable and stay under my duvet where its warm and safe. It sounds like such a good idea I nearly give in, but I pull on my glasses, climb out of bed and start planning my day. I wonder round the flat gathering my lecture notes and incomplete assignments with Max making annoying comments in the background, which I try to ignore. Once everything seem ready, I head to the bathroom and jump into the shower. The shower feels great, all the smells from fancy shower gels and shampoos calm me down and wash away the exhaustion. It’s nice to be away from Max’s constant complaining, but I can’t spend all day in the bathroom when there’s work to be done. As I walk out feeling refreshed and start planning my outfit for the day, but as I go through my cupboard Max comments about how all my clothes make me look fat and that I should really make more of an effort to lose weight. I try to argue back but there’s no winning this fight and it easier to just let it go even though I wonder if he might be right. Once I’m ready and out the door walking to lectures you would never figure out that Max was with me. It’s a secret that no one can know about, I’m scared they won’t understand or will judge me, and when I’m outside or around other people it’s easier to pretend that Max is not part of my life. The next few hours are spent hanging out with my friends, going to lectures and trying to complete coursework. From time to time Max will secretly start whispering in my ear about how my friends don’t really like and they’d probably be better off without me. It drives me up the wall when he starts while I try to finish my work in the library. He spends the entire time putting me down or convincing me to just go home back to bed. Some days I just plain ignore him, but today I give in and head into town instead. I walk in and out of shops, seeing loads of items I’d love to buy. Max tries to convince me to buy them, telling me that they will cheer me up and make me feel better today, and a lot of the time I give in, because he’s right it does make me feel a lot better. When I get home, I put everything away and start wasting time finding random things to read online. One of my friend’s then sends me a text reminding me that I was supposed to going out for a party. I’ve known about this party for ages and had originally planned to go but Max suggests that it might just be easier to stay at home and watch DVDs, and again I give in and text my friend back with a made up excuse. The evening goes by, a mixture of DVDs, videogames and avoiding coursework that really needs to be done. Before I head to the kitchen to turn the light before bed, Max starts having a massive go at me, and the comments sometimes reduce me to tears. The subject matter varies from friends, family, work, but he tends to always criticise me as a person. Today it was how I’m never going to succeed at my future goals, how I’m kidding myself that I am smart enough to be at university and that the best thing to do would be drop out and leave, and today I believe him. He follows me as I head to the bedroom and as I curl up under the duvet, he lies next to me going on and on. Seems like it’s going to be another long night.
Max is not real, but Max is not imaginary either. Max is a dark shadow that has followed me for a while now. Max is a real disease that affects several million people all across the globe. Max is depression. What I have described is one of my bad days, and I have them a lot. But I am trying to get help so that Max becomes a decent memory rather than that annoying and demeaning voice in my head. If you have the same problem or know someone who does, encourage them to get help, because the good days you start to have make every bad day well worth it.
Don't forget that I'm looking for another guest post for the weekend, so submissions by midnight Thursday please!