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There is one really good thing about depression. Let me tell you.

You need to have been able to survive a bout of it in order to reap the benefits of this one good thing.

Like recovering from a bout of the norovirus (which has not been diagnosed as the norovirus by a medical professional but you know it is the norovirus and tell all your friends you have the norovirus because this twenty-four hour shape-shifting trauma of emptying from both ends at the same time at break-neck speed cannot be described as a mere ‘tummy bug’) you emerge, blinking into a new day, gasping for air and filled with a new gratitude for the simple things in life, like once again being able to fart with confidence.

Because the only good thing about depression is when it’s over.

And I am happy to report that, metaphorically speaking, I can now fart with confidence.

It’s a relief for everyone.

Knowing when a period of depression and crisis is over is an emerging reality. If I may further extend my most pleasant norovirus/farting analogy: you wake up one morning to find that your farts and burps are once again arriving without consequence. You feel AMAZING. You have maybe never felt so good. But man, are you hungry. You’ve been emptied good and proper and now you need to fill up. You decide on a bowl of cornflakes, savouring every mouthful. How did you ever take eating cornflakes for granted before? Oh the times you casually wolfed three bowls after a night out. Never again! For evermore you will appreciate the wonder of those crunchy amber flakes, that ice cool milk, the hypnotic, soothing pleasure of spoon to mouth. You fart. But that’s ok because you are BETTER. You fart again. Erm…

It’s just a setback. You moved too quickly, were too impatient in your recovery. Back to bed for you.

I have eaten many metaphorical, too-quick bowls of cornflakes over the last few months. I’ve forced myself to do things, to feel things that I was nowhere near ready for. Each set-back, each time I had to slip back into bed (not metaphorically, beds are where depression happens) I felt the sting of failure more painfully. Why attempt to risk getting out of bed again? All that awaits you out there is another upsetting bowl of cornflakes.

So gradual is the process of recovery, so riddled with false starts and – ahem – bum moves, that it may take several successfully digested bowls of cornflakes before you realise you are actually better. It’s not until you find yourself one evening, lolling happily on your sofa with a bellyful of chicken tikka and a gallon of lager, that you realise it’s over. You’re ok again.

My curry moment was when I moved into a new flat. I didn’t want to move. The kids didn’t want to move. We didn’t like the new place at all. It’s on the ground floor, on a really busy road, in a different part of town. It seemed unsafe. It’s filthy and falling apart and there’s only one bedroom so me and youngest have to share. There is no space for eldest here. But it’s cheap(er).

I wept as I walked around it the day before the move. What has happened to my family, to my life? I felt like Rachel in Friends series one; fleeing from her fiance and the gilded protection of her wealthy family and finding herself having to share a flat and pay rent and *gasp* GET A JOB.

Rachel looked hot as fuck in crisis. And she had friends who supported her because they knew she was far better off in her new reality, precisely because it was REAL. I did not look hot as fuck in crisis but I did have those friends, a beautiful army of them who arrived first thing on moving day and stayed until almost every box was unpacked, every picture put up, candles lit and wine poured and my God the love I felt in this shite flat.

When I woke up the next morning, I cried. I knew I would. But it wasn’t from despair, from the bilious realisation of having eaten another bowl of cornflakes before I was ready; I cried because I’d got through it. No, more than that, I’d fucking ENJOYED it. I walked around the flat and fell in love with it. I had eaten the curry and I was fine. I was better.

And feeling better is better than feeling better has ever been before because of all the months of being not better. That is the gift of depression and crisis. The intense relief of ordinariness restored after the storm.

I bought a face mask and stripped the shitty paint off the shitty tiles in the shitty bathroom. It was satisfying in the extreme. I organised and cleaned and settled. Youngest and I fell into a routine of early nights together in our bedroom, a regular sleepover party where we read and chat and giggle and where the last sound I hear before sleep is him blowing me a kiss from across the room. And then announcing, again, how much he hates school. And then another kiss. And then his little breaths. Safe sounds for sleep.

Of course, life couldn’t give a twat if you’re better or not. It’ll keep throwing its twatty shapes at you. I’m going through a divorce and while we’re not exactly Mel B and her ex, it ain’t a joyful process because we’re both still a pair of twats.

My kids are both on the up and the down all at the same time, in no small part because their parents are twats.

I still can’t get love and romance to work for me because I don’t know what I want and am still a demanding, insecure and unloveable twat.

I have no money and no career prospects and am considering joining the dating app, SugarDaddies.com because I need an old rich twat.

And now, a dear friend is facing her final weeks of life, because cancer is a massive twat. (More on her soon – she has much to teach us about how to die and not be a twat about it).

But I can eat cornflakes and curry and can burp and fart with glee. And when I cry, I believe it will stop. And when I laugh, I can trust it to last a bit.

And now, icing on the bowl of cornflakes, I feel I can write to you again.

Welcome back, twats.