I'm not quite such a depresso fuck right now, it's amazing what a bit of time at home can do.
I have a bit of a pattern of burning myself out through the academic year, desperately filling the hours, for fear of slowing down and having nothing to do, and ending up in hospital over the summer. August 2008, July/August 2009, May/June 2010, August 2010, June/July 2011 and then October 2011- those are my psych admissions from the last few years, not including eating disorder ones. When I ended up in hospital last month, the doctor didn't get why I'd gone straight back to uni after having just got out of hospital in the summer, he told me that they usually recommend you take a few months out after that kind of a thing.
At the time, I thought that was moronic. For one thing, having nothing to do is not good for your mental health. It just isn't. It's better to be stressed because you have a lot to do than stressed because you have nothing. Trust me on that one- some sort of purpose, even if it's just to read some bloody, shitty, boringly dry chapter on Britain's involvement in Europe (can you tell what my current task is?) is better than trying to fill empty hours. I'd rather climb a mountain than be stuck staring at four walls. Especially when you know you're going to have months of those four walls, endless empty hours to fill. All that to fill is enough to drive anyone mad. Not withstanding the people with mental conditions anyway, I'm willing to bet all the teabags in my house that there's a higher incidence of job-seekers on anti-depressants than people in full employment. And then on a less general note, I wasn't in hospital with a short-term complaint. It wasn't like I had a breakdown and needed to take time out to rest and build myself back up mentally; with my conditions, that's not how it works.
So I came out of hospital last month, not really sure what to do. I didn't want to be at uni, I wasn't well enough and being so far from home (by train, it's between 5 and 6 and a half hours. And can cost £70+ one way) was horrible. But I didn't want to go home because I had nothing to do then, there would be even more empty hours. I didn't really realise all of this then, because I was too down to think very coherently, so I felt like I was looking at a long stretch of nothingness. I've only been home for less than 2 days and I'm here until Monday morning, but I already feel better. The hours are less intimidating when there's a routine, even if the routine is just around the tele and when my mum gets home from work. The hours are easier to fill here and it's so much easier to slow down, to resist burning myself out, when I'm not so scared of the empty hours.