It was a sunny day in June, and that was putting it lightly. The sun was beating so hard on my windows that I was afraid it was going to break them. People flickered on my laptop screen as I attempted to binge watch one of my favorite TV shows, but it wasn’t going as well as I’d hoped it would. I was too distracted by the nasty little voices that insisted on living in my head; like the Dementors in Harry Potter, they sucked happiness out of the air.
It had been like this for a very long time; since I was a teenager, in fact. It was almost as if the moment when I turned thirteen was the catalyst for everything going horribly, horribly wrong. One day, I had been hanging out with my friends after school, sitting in the local park and making jokes about a teacher that none of us liked; the next day I didn’t even want to get out of bed, even though it was a beautifully sunny Saturday morning. That was the first sign that something wasn’t right, although it took me a long time to realise just what was going on, by which point it felt like it was too late to do anything about it.
I wish I’d known then what I know now.
It was proving difficult to focus on the show I was watching on Netflix. The funny thing was, it usually did the trick. It didn’t matter how many times I had already watched it, it always made me feel better. That day was different. I couldn’t focus on it at all, I was that low.
It was only early afternoon, but between the curtains being closed, coating the room in darkness, and not being able to pay attention Sherlock on Netflix, there was a big part of me that just wanted to curl up and go to sleep for a very, very long time – maybe until the all the pain rattling through my bones and rushing through my veins went anyway.
I wasn’t sure what to do with myself. As far as I could see there were two options, carry on struggling to watch Netflix or have a nap. Both of them sounded good and bad at the same time.
After a few minutes of struggling to make up my mind, there was a sharp knock on the door that could only mean one thing: Mum wanted to see what I was doing.
I took the deepest breath I could manage and called out, “Come in!”
The door swung open and Mum came in, sheer determination all over her face. I knew what was coming and I definitely didn’t like it.
She stomped over to the window and wrenched the curtains open. In a matter of moments, my room was filled with sunshine. I cringed away from it as much as I could. Believe me, it wasn’t easy.
“Why do you insist on keeping your curtains closed?” she asked. Her eyes are narrowed as she turned to face me. I stared back at her, silently daring her to tell me off or to tell me that I was being stupid when it came to my mental health.
“It makes me feel better.” I reply
“Sitting in your room all day, with your curtains closed isn’t going to make you feel better,” Mum scoffed, “Why don’t you go out; go for a walk?”
“Maybe I’m not in the mood to go for a walk.”
“Well, then make yourself in the mood to go for a walk!”
And with that, she stormed out of my room, leaving the curtains wide open and unwanted sunlight streaming into my room. I somehow forced myself to get up and close them again before crawling back into bed.
I hated that she always treated me like this. There was absolutely no need for it. Just because my twin always went out didn’t mean that I had to too.
Why didn’t Mum at least try to understand how my depression made me feel?
It was later that evening when I got a text from my best friend, Tom. I smiled as I opened the message. Maybe he wanted to see how I was; maybe have a conversation full of lots of inside jokes and arguing about our favourite TV shows. That wasn’t the sort of message I got.
It was a message inviting me to a party later that evening; the sort of party that would go on into the early hours of the morning, maybe even beyond that. I declined. To put it quite simply, I just didn’t feel up to going, mentally. I would just send Tom a message the next day and ask him how it went.
I settled down to carry on browsing Netflix to my heart’s content.
I was just about to start playing a film that I had completely forgotten I loved when I got another text alert. It was another unexpected sort of text – and not only that, but it hurt. It hurt a lot.