This is why I need to live alone.

I am firmly on the up-slope, depression-wise, and most of the acute symptoms are dropping away. The tried and tested management tools kicking in and getting me straight again, slowly. It’s like swimming in treacle, but forward progress in inexorable.

But it’s still easy to get de-railed. This morning I was late for work. The culprit was a broken shoelace. I was rushing and *snap* in my hands, sat on the sofa, a useless frayed bit of cord dangling in my hand.

3 months ago this would have been terminal. I would have sat with my head between my knees in despair at the futility of even trying to deal with the universe (yes I know it’s just a broken shoelace, but when you have clinical depression this is what can happen to your state of mind).

Today, all my training kicked in. It’s just a shoelace. I tried knotting it back on to get it working again, which caused another trigger-point, a failure…. Sitting on my sofa and failing miserably. No, it’s not my fault. I scanned around and over in the corner, another pair of shoes. That I can’t wear either because only one of them has a working lace (yes this same thing happened a while back, which was fixed by me switching shoes but that is suddenly no longer an option…) But between the two pairs, two intact laces! Result.

I rip out the lace from the other shoe. Full of hope and impressed by how well I’m dealing with all this. But. The little hard thingies at the ends are worn away. It has ends that are errant and wispy. These shoes have smaller eyes. No amount of twisting or poking or anything will get the damn thing in.

I stare at the carpet. It is covered in bits of broken lace. (Only a couple in fact but in my head, no, it’s covered). I make a rapid internal deployment to ignore this and resolve to fix those things after I get home, not now. Then I remember, somewhere round here I have a spare pair of laces. One I bought to fix the other pair, but never did. Where are they?

In a flash of inspiration it comes back to me. They are in the Sainsbury’s carrier bag with the light bulbs for the bathroom. I run upstairs and look under the bathroom sink… Nope not there. Back down and I see a glimpse of orange between my box of art canvases and my sleeping bag at the bottom of the stairs. Yes! 8 light bulbs and a pair of laces.

Finally, I get my footwear functioning and I’m ready to roll. The world has not ended. I can do this. Really.

Thankfully, this kind of mental battle is limited to when I am less well. It is exacerbated by the fact that my house is currently a disorganised mess, on account of all the low energy, lack of motivation and countless other battles to stave off complete disintegration over the last few months.

You would think that having someone else around for support when I’m not so well would help some, no? No. That’s not how it works. How it works is that you’re doing it on purpose, specifically to make someone else’s life difficult. That you’re just not trying hard enough. That even all this is your fault too.

One bit of sage advice I read recently was this – work out who your support people are and when you are struggling, ditch everyone else because they will only make it worse. Ruthless but necessary. If you’re operating at 10%, you can’t go spending energy where it’s only going to make it worse. And if those attitudes are in your face then life becomes impossible. So. I have learned to live with my limitations and everyone else can go hang if they don’t like it. I have a life to live, and don’t need the disrespect and judgement of others. At all.

In the midst of all this I have decided to teach myself how to make croissants from scratch. This will be tricky because I have naturally warm hands that are great for bread-making but lousy for pastry. I envisage having to have a bowl of iced water to dip them in periodically to keep the butter from melting all over the place.

Oh and my copy of Love is a Dog from Hell by Bukowski arrived at work in a package today. That’s my evening sorted. The broken shoelaces on the floor can wait. They don’t matter.




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