Depression – The Dirty Little Word

Posted on November 11, 2010

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There are times in my life when I feel ‘sad’ and there are times in my life when I cannot see any point to being here.  Having known people with depression I have come to understand that although there are similarities it still varies from person to person.  For me it’s a powerful feeling that can consume you for no reason at all, fill you with self doubt, unable to cope, an inner struggle of frustration and an overwhelming sense of desperation and sadness.  Yet it is also a numbness that muffles everything around you and leaves you standing alone in a place filled with nothing but darkness.

What I have come to realise is that unless you’ve truly experienced it and I don’t necessarily mean suffered with it, then it really is a difficult concept to understand.   In my case unless you know me and I’ve told you, you won’t know that I suffer with depression.  It’s taken me a long time to come to terms with it and I have a pretty good handle on it nowadays, to the point I feel I can share this intimate part of my life.

People will judge you if they don’t understand or even if they don’t believe in depression as an illness, they will think you’re just playing on it; they feel you’re exaggerating everything and pretty much will label you the miserable so and so or the drama queen.   Just because you cry when you are upset does not mean you have depression as a mental illness.  It also doesn’t mean that you aren’t liable to ever feel depressed at a time in your life.  We are all human after all.

They won’t realise or understand that when you suffer with depression you get to a point in your life that you are so low that it’s extremely difficult to be able to be any other way and even more difficult to have a normal life because it is an imbalance in your brain, there are varying stages and certain triggers that can take you from being normal to depressed in an instant with no explanation.  I went through a bad spell in my life where I had no regard for it and just wanted to fade out of existence, what I didn’t realise at the time was that this wasn’t a one-off occurrence, I had always had these bouts I just never focussed on them.

Just before I was diagnosed with depression I had gone further than I ever had before, I honestly believed I was losing my mind, I lost control of everything.  I couldn’t function properly and even the simplest of tasks seem to be asking the impossible of me.  I would do things multiple times over and over because I just couldn’t remember whether I’d done them.  I spent one day driving back and forth up the street to check the front door, I got home and I’d find I had put the milk in the oven or a dirty plate in the washing machine.  I offered to get coffee for colleagues at work and had to ask 3 people 4 times what they wanted.  My mind just couldn’t hold any information and I could not remember the day or what I had done 2 mins before.  People would see me as this strong, happy go lucky person but I couldn’t talk to anyone as I didn’t feel they would understand.   I could be sitting in the living room watching TV and this feeling would wave over me and I would break down, I couldn’t sleep, I’d cry in my sleep when I did, I couldn’t eat, I had no life in me to the point I became a walking shell of a person just living on the edge of existence.

When I hit my mid twenties, I knew I wouldn’t survive if I spent the rest of my life like this, I wasn’t prepared to be on any kind of medication.  I had been and I swore that the affects of it made me feel worse than I had felt before.  What I didn’t realise is that I was getting worse and the medication was working, it just didn’t feel like it.  So I stopped taking them and I spiralled out of control into my own inner hell.

Somewhere in the midst of this I had forgotten I was a mother, I was a daughter, I was a friend and although I cannot say exactly what it was, it was as if someone had switched a light on in my darkness.  I was so determined that I would beat this one way or the other.  What I didn’t realise is that depression is a mental illness and not something that you can beat! But it is something that you can learn to live with and learn to see the signs.

It has been the signs that have helped me, I made the ruthless decision to disconnect myself from any negative influences in my life and some of that came with a price but ultimately it gave me back my life.  I focussed on the positive aspects, I focussed on ensuring that I don’t let people abuse, take advantage or burden me.  I am your friend I will always be there for you, I will listen and I will give you love, help and support but I will not carry your load as it is not mine to carry.

There is a point now when I feel the change in myself that I know I need to reinforce the love and positivity around me.  I know I need to let go of certain things, I know that I can get through this without it getting the better of me.   I don’t have all the answers and what works for me may not for someone else but I have learnt to accept what I cannot change, I have learnt that my present and future are more important than my past and how to deal with things differently.  It has been a long journey but it is one that I have learnt so much from and even though I still have so far to go, I know that I can get there.

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