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I posted this on my Insta stories the other day. A friend asked me how I was. I said I felt like a potato. Just kind of bland, heavy and inert. She thought for a moment, then said, “Potatoes have nutritional value. And they are delicious any way you cook them. Potatoes are good.”

Yes they are.

I think this is a result of my new/increased meds kicking in. I just feel blank. Like the inside of a potato. The screen of my mind just feels like solid whiteness. Along with the energy lack, it just means a lot of staring off into space. I hope this will sort itself out as my body gets used to the new level of medication, and it’s certainly better than the scary mood swings I was having a few weeks ago.

But I wonder about creativity in all this. I had to fill out a form describing how my condition has affected my ability to work. It was clear as day to me; how can I think creatively or come up with interesting artwork and design when there’s just nothing there? Will the person reading the form (and deciding whether or not I am eligible to claim income protection insurance) understand what that means? That to be a graphic designer you need to be able to function creatively, and if you are unable to think at that level because of depression, then you are unable to work?

I don’t know. We’ll see.

I’ve been playing flute more, and apart from the usual enjoyment and satisfaction I get out of it, I think part of why music is helpful is because someone else has done the creative heavy lifting of actually writing the music. I just have to work out how to play it. But when I’m faced with creating something out of nothing, as in design work, my brain shuts down. I even got out some clay the other day, wanting to make something with my hands, and just sat there, feeling overwhelmed.

I got another mental health care plan from my GP today, entitling me to subsidised sessions with my counsellor (so grateful for this). On the DASS (Depression Anxiety Stress Scale) that is used to assess my condition, I rated mild for stress and anxiety but severe with depression. There’s still a ways to go. It’s hard not to be impatient with my slow recovery, or to feel guilty, or even like I’m just making it up. That’s the worst one; if I have a day or a moment where I recognise I’m feeling quite good, I immediately have the thought That’s right. You’ve been making it up this whole time. You’re such a faker. Or if I’m lying on my bed, staring off into the distance or mindlessly scrolling on my phone, I get You’re so lazy. You’re not even resting. You’re just lazy. Untangling and addressing those first thoughts with truer second thoughts is exhausting.