I’ve heard depression described as a black dog; as a cold fog that seeps into the bones and obscures everything colourful and joyful. I’ve heard it described as being like quicksand, dragging you deeper and deeper the more you struggle to get out of it.
My depression has been all of these things, but last week it was more like a punch to the heart: quick, brutal, flooring.
It had been a work day like any other. Not one of the best days, when the words flow freely and I tap-tap-tap out my stories quickly while keeping my inbox under control but not one of the worst either. And it was getting to the end of the work day, and it was sunny outside, but then out of nowhere I felt as though I was sinking. And the next thing I knew it was half an hour later, and I’d been idly clicking but I was really just staring at my computer screen and shuffling windows about.
This is how it happens: lost time, and sweaty palms, and a dryness at the back of my throat.
I’ve written before about the strategies I’ve adopted to help me cope when depression or anxiety threatens to take over. I try to focus: cut out everything beyond what I need to get up, go to work, get through the day and get home again. Self-care goes out the window, plans get cancelled. I order the same takeaway two nights in a row, but I always tip now so I don’t allow myself to get embarrassed.
As I write this, I know it’s beginning to lift. It has passed every other time, and there’s no reason why it won’t now.
There’s one night that, after ruthlessly cancelling some plans, I come home to a perfect selection of post. Two recent magazine orders, which coincidentally have arrived at the same time. There’s the new issue of Marbles, the Edinburgh-based indie magazine that aims to explore, dissect and destroy the stigma around mental health through personal essays, interviews, features and creative works: the new issue has an essay by my bezzer about her complicated relationship with body positivity and health at every size, but it turns out to be full of pieces by other people I love too. And there’s You Got This, a motivational zine about mental health and wellbeing, by journalist Fiona Thomas whose work I’ve been following on Twitter.
Devouring them both is beyond me, but I sink into a bath scented like a strawberry cream tea and find comfort in flicking through the pages.
And then there’s my gorgeous new watch* from Mr Jones Watches; an independent, London-based watchmaker brand that does some really cool, playful things with the traditional timepiece. Like many people (you, perhaps?) I haven’t worn a wristwatch in years – my iPhone is usually near me, so if I need to see the time I just reach for that. But the bright, rainbow-patterned face of the Mr Jones Watches ladies’ Cyclops watch drew me in, and that was before I took a closer look…
You see, you’ll notice from the pictures that the Cyclops doesn’t have any hands. Instead, there’s a single black circle which slowly moves around the dial, one revolution every 12 hours. Mr Jones (yes, he’s a real guy: his name is Crispin) says that the idea is that the watch can be “read with a relaxed kind of accuracy” and acts as a reminder that we are “not slaves to time”. Me, I love it because I love beautiful things; and sure, while it’s no good as a timepiece if you’re running for a train, I’ve been finding it surprisingly functional these past few blurry, dreary days. And as I gear up for what will hopefully be a fun birthday weekend, full of music and friends, I think I’ll continue to feel the same about it: leisure time is not there to be micro-managed down to the second, and I want to feel present and human in the company of those I love.
Mr Jones Watches have taken the idea that people usually have a mobile phone or laptop screen within reach for when they need to accurately know the time, and run with it as a licence to get creative and design watches that make really memorable gifts or clever conversation-starters. There’s “The Accurate“, which replaces the traditional watch hands with the words REMEMBER and YOU WILL DIE; “The Blowball“, which takes the idea of a dandelion clock to a whole new level with a gorgeous dandelion head design by Winchester illustrator Fanny Shorter, which changes with the time (please someone order this so I can see it IRL). There’s also a beautiful revival of the traditional “Sun and Moon” watch design, with an illustration that shifts with the rising and setting sun; and even a custom-made “Everyday Special” watch whose hands can be made to reflect a special date, or any other (short) message you prefer.
Mr Jones Watches would like to offer Last Year’s Girl readers 20% off any ladies’ watch purchased before the end of June. Use the code LASTYEARSGIRL18 at checkout, or shop via this link to have the discount applied automatically.
Taking time to keep quiet, and to let myself recover, this past week hasn’t been fun, but it was necessary. If your head is in a similar place right now, and you are looking for permission to take that time: it’s here. Have a bath. Read a book. Drink some water. Take your meds. Hug your pet. Get a good night’s sleep.
It’s going to get better.
If you need urgent help please, please go to any hospital Accident & Emergency department, or call 999 and tell staff how you are feeling.
If you need some support, but don’t want to go to A&E, then please:
- call NHS 24 on 111;
- call the Samaritans on 116 123 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, they are open 24 hours and are there to listen to you; or
- contact your GP for an emergency appointment.
This post contains a PR sample, but all views are my own and unbiased.