Carrie is walking the long corridor away from the plane, her blonde ponytail is becoming loose and bits of hair are falling over her face. Whilst approaching the airport lounge with the luggage carousel, she starts looking around for her housemate Alice, who is picking her up. Lots of people are going over to family members, partners and hugging them, looking tanned but tired. Voices echo around her, she is hearing parts of conversations and the customer announcements. Children are running around the carousel. Stressed parents are pulling them away telling them to keep still. People are standing, waiting for their luggage. Some bags have coloured ribbons on them, some have coloured bands wrapped around the middle. Eventually her bag comes round and she lugs it off the carousel, drags it behind her and starts wondering through the crowds of people slowly, looking for Alice.
Alice spots Carrie, stands on her tippy toes and waves at her, Carrie looks like she hasn’t slept in a few days. She looks confused and lost within the crowd of people. Alice finally catches Carrie’s eye and Carrie slowly slopes towards her. They hug each other and Alice takes Carrie’s bag off her and puts her other arm around Carrie.
“What’s up? You’re supposed to look happy and relaxed after a little break.” Asks Alice
“Have you not seen the stressed looking parents around?” Carrie says emotionlessly
“You haven’t had the kids around to wind you up for the week. Come on, what’s up?” Alice stops and looks at Carrie. Her eyes have no light in them, there are dark circles under her eyes, her hair is a mess and she looks glum.
“I think I have reached the point of no return, I can’t sleep at night but could easily sleep all day. The holiday didn’t inspire me, the sun was too bright and frankly I feel crap.” Carrie says quietly, starting to look at bit teary eyed.
“Do you think we need to get you to the Shrink?” Alice looks worried
Carrie nods. She looks small and childlike.
The drive home only took half an hour, the clouds look low and grey but the temperature outside is humid. It looks like it could pour with rain any minute now. Carrie can feel her heart sinking further, the closer they get to the house. Cars seem to be going excessively fast, it even feels like Alice is speeding, Carrie looks at the speedometer and can see that Alice is going the legal speed limit.
It seems like she is going in slow motion, this is one of the signs that a depressive spell is coming on.
She went to Greece to try and make it go away but she spent the whole week in bed, under a duvet and occasionally getting up to make herself a cup of tea and eat something.
Alice parks up outside their house. It’s an old Victorian terraced house, tall and thin with stairs leading up to the front door. Every step Carrie takes feels like a lot of effort and all she wants to do is lay on the sofa with a duvet and hide away from everyone. Alice lugs Carrie’s bag up with her, she can see how much effort Carrie has to put into walking up the stairs.
She remembers how bad Carrie’s depression got last time. She ended up in a psychiatric ward for two weeks, heavily sedated as she was so suicidal. Alice doesn’t think Carrie has got to that point yet, but she will lock any form of medication away just in case and phone her psychiatrist in the morning.
In the meantime, it looks like it’s going to be a night of hot chocolate, chocolate and soppy romantic comedy films. It’s a good job neither of them have work tomorrow.
The next morning Alice walks into the living room to find Carrie still on the sofa, laying on her front, one arm hanging off the sofa and looking distant.
“Would you like a cup of tea?” Alice asks
Carrie nods her head slowly and rubs her eyes. They look puffy and red like she’s been crying all night. Alice walks to the kitchen, puts water in the kettle from the tap, puts it on the base and switches on the kettle.
Carrie slopes into the kitchen and sits on one of the chairs around the table.
“I’m going to phone Dr Simpson when the office opens. Hopefully we can get you an emergency appointment with him today.” Alice explains.
Carrie is sitting in the car zoned out, Alice notices her fists and jaw are clenched
“Relax hun, we’re going to get this sorted.” She smiles at Carrie and Carrie relaxes a little bit, Alice always seems to know best. Carrie then thinks about how lucky she is to have such an understanding friend.
At the Office, they sit and wait. The sound of the secretary typing is starting to get on Carrie’s nerves.
Dr Simpson eventually comes out and calls her in, she follows him slowly, look behind her at Alice who is still sitting in her chair with a magazine.
Dr Simpson beckons Carrie to sit down and closes the door behind him.
“How can I help you today, Carrie?” He asks with his pen poised to her notes, a thin file with all her personal information.
Carrie is holding her hands together, hunched over.
“I started feeling a bit low a week or so ago, so I took myself to Greece to try and lift the mood and ended up in bed the whole time, I sleep all day and just lay there at night completely zoned out. Getting up to go to the loo is so much effort. I feel lost and empty” She says slowly with all her might. She feels tired now.
“Have you been taking your meds?” He asks, scanning her notes to remind himself what Carrie is taking.
Carrie nods slowly.
“Ok, well maybe we need to add something to help lift this mood. Have you heard of Lamotrigine?” He looks at her, waiting for a reply.
“I have read about it…” She says
“It’s supposed to help with the Bi Polar depression, has a small amount of side effects, but we have to gradually bring up the dosage every two weeks as there is a risk of a rash. If you get the rash then stop taking it immediately” He explains to her.
“Does that sound OK with you, Carrie?” He asks carefully, watching her movements.
Carrie nods, she is willing to try anything when it comes to depression. She listens to his instructions carefully, takes the prescription slip and leaves the office feeling a bit of hope spark up.
Carrie and Alice are back in the car.
“Shall we go and collect this prescription and start it as soon as possible?” Alice asks seriously
Carrie nods. Alice starts the car and drives off.
Back at home Carrie has found her spot on the sofa and is curled up in a duvet with a cup of tea, she has taken one of the tablets she has been given. All she has to do now is wait, may take a few days but at least she has something to try and pull her out of the depression.