Please do not confuse having a bad day, week or even a month with being depressed. It’s insulting to the growing number of people suffering, mainly in silence, from this debilitating illness. On the other hand, if you are currently depressed know that you are not along.
The following account is an example of a particularly bad day I had several years ago. It’s okay to laugh – laughter is good for the soul – even I laugh about it, now!
The alarm clock went off and I stretched under my duvet contemplating the day ahead. First things first, toilet, coffee, shower, get dressed and off to work. I have never really been a morning person and it always takes me a minute or two before the little grey cells kick into gear, usually assisted by several espressos. I swung my legs out from under the duvet and sat up slowly. I knew that if I lay back down I would go back to sleep. I got up on autopilot and walked to the door.
I grabbed the handle and pulled down, nothing happened, apart from a loud clunk on the other side of the door, leaving me stranded with the useless end of the handle in my bedroom and the business end on the other side of the door. I pushed against the door even though I knew it opened inwards.
‘This isn’t good!’ I looked around for my mobile. Damn, it wasn’t on the dresser or the bedside table. Then I remembered that I’d left it on the desk next to the computer. ‘Crap, crap, crap and crap,’ I shouted glaring at the door.
‘Come on, get a grip and think.’ I often talk to myself, especially during stressful times. My most urgent need was the unrelenting desire to empty my bladder, maybe then I could think straight. I scanned the room looking for something I could use as a temporary receptacle, if only I was a man I could aim out the window. My gaze fell on the beautiful cachepot my son had given me, along with the thriving purple Orchid nestled in it, for Mother’s Day.
I hesitated for a second before snatching the Orchid out of the cachepot, now pee-pot, placing it on the floor and squatting, the relief was instantaneous. I stashed the pee-pot under the bed, not wanting my rescuer seeing it. Then I started to pace the length of my small attic bedroom working through the different ways I could get myself out of this unforeseen predicament. It was surreal!
I could try shouting to someone in the office block opposite and see if I had any luck there. However, I could only just make out the rooftops of the buildings on the other side of the street and that was standing on my tiptoes. I pushed the dresser under the window and climbed up. At first, I felt embarrassed shouting out my attic window like a banshee but after a few pathetic attempts, I saw the head of a woman appear at her office window, one floor down from me on the other side of the busy high street.
Taking a deep breath, I shouted as loudly and as long as my lungs would let me, ‘Help’ I waved my arms in the hope of drawing attention to myself. The head disappeared. On the bright side, the window was now open, I shouted with renewed hope.
A couple of hours later, I was horse and the woman in the office still hadn’t pinpointed where the voice calling out to her was coming from, time to try something else. ‘Calm down,’ I tried to reassure myself feeling a bout of panic coming on. I sat down on my bed. I could hear my phone ringing on the other side of the door. Probably my lovely boss wondering where I was, she was bound to check in on me when she got no answer on my mobile. I just wasn’t sure when that would be.
Under normal circumstances, I would do anything to stay warm under my duvet in my comfortable bed. Today, all I wanted to do was get out of my bedroom. The only things on my bedside table where the book I’d just finished, my glasses, a radio-alarm clock and a half-full box of matches and I’m no MacGyver. I did have an idea though, if I used a match I could maybe push the three bolts out of their hinges and with any luck, pry the door open. At this point, I was desperate enough to try just about anything, including breaking my door.
It was a long drawn out operation and the match kept slipping which wasn’t helping matters, but I was determined. Sweat was beginning to drip down my back, and my thumb was hurting. Brushing my hair out of my face with my elbow, I repositioned the match, and continued to push the bolt out of its hinge.
After I’d removed the second bolt, my thumb could take no more. I wedged my fingers as far under the door as possible and pulled as hard as I could, using my feet as leverage against the doorframe, the door barely budged. After five minutes of heaving and tugging with little effect on the door, I gave up and climbed back onto the dresser to see if I could catch the woman in the office’s attention. If I leaned as far out the window as possible, I could see most of the street below and part of the pavement. No sign of the woman in the office but the window was still open. I called out as loudly as my sore throat would allow me.
To my surprise and joy, the woman appeared at the window and looked around. I leaned further out the window and screamed, ‘Look up, across the street… Help, I’m locked in my bedroom.’ I waved my arms around like a lunatic.
‘Please look up across the street. Help!’ More frantic waving, ‘I’m up here locked in my bedroom, please help me.’ I screeched putting emphasis on the e of me. The woman peered out the window, looking slightly concerned or it could have just been confusion, whatever it was it put fuel in my bellow.
‘Up here, across the street, please can you help me?’ I realised I was sounding rather desperate, but I kept seeing myself dehydrated and dying alone in my attic bedroom. After what seemed like ages, the woman leaned out her window and looked directly up at me. I waved at her just to make sure she’d really seen me. Sure enough, she waved back.
‘Can you please see if any of my neighbours are at home and ask them to contact my landlords for their spare keys,’ I shouted, ‘I’ve locked myself into my bedroom with no way out and no phone.’ It occurred to me that I was talking to fast for the woman to understand everything I was saying. ‘Did you get all that?’
The woman gestured for me to stop talking, ‘I’m coming over to you, hold on a minute please.’ She shouted. Five minutes later, she appeared on the small patch of pavement I could see from my vantage point. ‘None of your neighbours are home. I did call the Police who are trying to contact your landlords.’
‘Thank you so much.’ Relief flooded trough my body. Now all I could do was wait, and with the initial fear fading my arms started to hurt from tugging at the door, my fingertips had tiny splinters from the base of the door and the beginning of a blister was forming on my thumb from the match. I got off my bed and started pacing again. Every five minutes or so I would climb onto the dresser and look out the window before returning to pacing. If there was one thing I hated, about as much as being locked in my bedroom, was waiting.
The Police turned up 45 minutes later, I shouted down, explaining my embarrassing predicament again. The police officer informed me that he’d already contacted my landlords. Unfortunately, they were on holiday in Thailand. I couldn’t help but feel disappointed; this wasn’t going to be resolved quickly. The only plus, I no longer needed to pee!
The police officer had contacted a locksmith, however, one of the doors downstairs had a security key pad, and that door required the locksmith who’d originally installed it. So I was back to waiting.
I did discover something during my forced incarceration, it is one thing to wish for nothing to do, it is a very different matter actually having nothing to do. After what seemed like an eternity, I heard noises downstairs, followed by voices. I’ve never been so happy to have someone break into my apartment. After thanking the police officer and locksmith, the first thing I did was reverse the door handles, so that in the future the business end would be on my side of the door. Furthermore, I now always wedge my slippers between the door and doorframe and every night before going to sleep, I make sure my mobile is on the bedside table, just in case!
The following link is an article written in the Guardian which aptly describes what a lot of people go through when suffering from depression.