one o clock in the morning. I’m awake. my mind is the usual chaos, everyone talking at once, someone is operating a road drill and I can definitely hear ‘Now That’s What I Call Christmas’ on repeat, with the volume turned up to….. eleven. I answer a WhatsApp message from earlier, surprisingly I get a reply, It’s Sarah, she’s got a stinking cold and can’t sleep for coughing. we chat for a while, then we both go quiet, I turn over.

three fifteen in the morning. I’m awake. The road drill has been replaced by a hundred tap dancers, a choir singing the hits of David Hasselhof, and a playground full of adults playing a spirited game of British Bulldog ( now banned of course). I look at Facebook, three posts within the last ten minutes from friends who are also awake, struggling to sleep, and fed up. I look at twitter, usually at this time all the tweets are from America or Australia, tonight there are several tweets, again recent, from people not ten minutes drive from me. I turn over.

four twenty-five in the morning. I’m awake. I have cramp in my foot, I get out of bed, I walk around the bedroom and bathroom until the cramp begins to subside, I have a drink, I sit on the edge of the bed and look out at the snow and ice on the road outside. I rub Vicks Vaporub on my chest, throat and soles, I plump up my pillow, I put on socks. I get back into bed, I turn over.

five fifty in the morning. I’m awake, I’m shattered, The alarm will go off in ten minutes, I want to cry. I lie awake until the alarm goes off. I snooze the alarm for 15 minutes.

six fifteen in the morning. I’m awake. I snooze the alarm for fifteen minutes.

six thirty in the morning. I’m asleep. the alarm sounds and shakes me awake, I feel nauseous, dizzy and aching all over. I get up and go to the bathroom…..

The day begins.


  1. There should be an app that shows all those awake, that you can tap into in the wee small hours!
    One tends to think it’s just you! There could be Comradery of the Nighti if we realised we are not alone.
    The chorus of ridiculous niggles and the sound track of an annoying tune, that you would never recall in your waking hours, is quite exhausting in itself. My head feels like a sizzling pan, cooking up events from last twenty years and making plans for the next. Needless to say, it’s all there to repeat the following night because you are too tired to complete basic functions in the morning!
    Am reading your blog and thinking of you. I have a huge amount of respect and will always hold you in high esteem because you supported my family in adversity. Xxx


  2. Hi Shaun. I have been impressed by your honesty on the depression front. I too have been living with it on and off for many years. Yes ; depression is a bastard; but it’s also treatable. If it’s come back then that means you have got better before. Try to remember the things that helped before. And give your self as much time out as you need. I tried to work as a social worker whilst ill: bad move. I would suggest you try not to make any major decisions until you feeling better. There’s no rush. And if you’ve got better before; you can and will get better again. Having got ill and better again many times now, I now have the tools and the knowledge to spot what’s needed. I think of it as similar to the way our immune system works. We are better equipped to cope with mental illness if we have faced it before. So, try to be kind to yourself (easier said than done, I know ) and in the darker moments try to remember that this comes and goes and you will get better x Catherine Gibson


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