Fifteen minutes before her stop she packed away her things, put on her cardigan, coat and scarf and moved to stand in the vestibule. She could feel her cheeks getting redder as she loaded up with her bags, but the blast of cool air was welcoming after the stifling heat of the carriage. She let her over-stuffed over night bag fall against her boots as she stood at the door. She grasped the bars either side of the misted window, their metallic chill passing across her fingers and steadying her from the rocking of the train.
The landscape rolled past, a comforting combination of greens, browns and yellows, spotted with vibrant flashes of orange and red from the changing leaves. She snuggles her nose and mouth into the folds of her scarf and tried to imagine some of the lives contained within the sparsely scattered homes passing by her.
About a year ago I was in a very bad place. I hated my job; I felt like a complete failure because I hated my job. I felt like I was imposing on my friends by staying with them. I felt like I had no good options ahead of me. I was sinking into one of the worst bouts of depression that I have ever experienced.
A year later I have part time work, I’m off medication, the doctor doesn’t want to see me regularly any more. I’ve made friends and I’ve settled into the city. I feel calm and almost contented, which is something I’ve not felt for a very, very long time. I don’t feel guilty about as many different things as I once did. I speak to myself more kindly in my own head. I can recognise my worth again.
There are little things that help me recognise my improving mental health. When I am at the worst of my depression, I cannot laugh, I cannot sing, I cannot dance around the kitchen like a loon.
I am stupidly busy, but going out and working, even odd shifts and hours, feels much better than sitting with a Netflix binge (although that’s still a big draw now and then). Spending time with people, talking about everything and nothing helps me as a person. I don’t have to feel guilty about having a bit of a social life, despite being poor.
And now I feel like I’m on the verge of something new and different. Something that could be quite special, but even if nothing really comes of it, it will still have been a positive boost. Usually, this is when I would feel nervous and awkward, but instead there is this calm radiating inside me, a hitherto unknown confidence and sense that actually, everything is probably going to work out alright. I’m actually quite excited by the unknown for once!
I guess I’ll just have to wait and see…