My goal for this blog was to be open and honest. Life is not always about the highs, everyone has ebbs and flows throughout their daily lives and it is unrealistic to expect otherwise. This blog will also have the ups and downs of this roller coaster we call life, it will reflect the realities of everyday life.
Depression is a curse, a hellish curse I wouldn't wish upon anyone. There are plenty of people I know who suffer from depression and it differs from person to person. I can only speak for myself and the experiences I have had with it. I'm not an expert on it, I'm not even an expert on my own depression but I am learning. Depression is something that I have suffered from since my early teens.
I never used to talk about it openly and it's only in the last few years I have been able to. I hid it from everyone, my friends, my family, everyone until I could no longer live with the burden on my own. The turning point came when I was at my very lowest and I tried to take my own life.
I am so grateful that it didn’t go as planned and the road to recovery was long, windy and painful but this experience made me who I am today. I undertook years of therapy and tried a dozen different cocktails of medications. Some worked for a while, others made me feel worse. One combination, in particular, turned me into a zombie. I remember sleeping for pretty much 6 weeks straight until I was put on a different medication. It was an extremely hard time and often I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, but it was there, dim but still there.
Becoming more open about the curse
That period in my life taught me to be more open and honest about depression and when I am feeling low. It brought my Mum and I very close. We had never really had a close relationship, we have always got along well and have been good friends (apart from those sullen teenage years of course) but we never had deep conversations, talked about how we felt and hid the bad from each other.
Now though she is one of my best friends as well as my confidant and while it is a shame it took something like that to bring us closer, I am glad it did. I don’t believe in regrets, I believe in lessons. There is no point regretting anything, you can’t change the past, but you can learn and grow from it. Sometimes you have to make the same mistake more than once and that’s ok, we will get there in the end.
I am still hopeful that even though I make the same mistake with my Rocky Road at work, I will nail it in the end. And that’s just it, it’s about the small wins, no matter how small. Life is about the small gains, even if it is two steps forward and one back, you are still gaining. At the moment I am personally two steps forward and one backwards, I feel like I am finally on top of things and something happens and I am once again going backwards.
That something can be something as small as eating an extra bit of chocolate that will send me into a tailspin of guilt and self-loathing and will not normally bother me (ask anyone who knows me), but on that particular day for whatever reason I will feel horribly guilty and give myself a talking to about being greedy and having no self-control.
Other times it will be something substantial that will send me sliding backwards but that is the nature of depression. It can be anything, big or small, it is a volatile, unpredictable curse. Kind of like a woman with PMS, one wrong move can anger the beast within.
The Black Cloud
I have come to loathe this curse, this black cloud that infects my mind, my body, and my being. Because that's what it is. A black cloud that hangs over my head, blocking the sunlight from streaming in. It is always hovering, sometimes low so that no light can penetrate, other times it lingers a little further away letting in dim rays of hope.
I can only describe what it is like for me personally, and for me, it feels like someone is sitting on my chest, it feels incredibly heavy and ever present. It infects my mind, I don't see the point in looking for the rays, what is the point when they shine only briefly? Yes, it is beautiful to feel the warmth of hope but then you notice the darkness even more so after they are gone.
The tiredness is all consuming. It is an effort to do even the most mundane things. Sleeping is easy. Unconsciousness is a blissful relief from thinking, from being. My patterns of thinking change dramatically when I am surrounded by the dark. I'm not good enough, I'm not worth it, people only put up with me because they have to, I'm a terrible person. It is what I genuinely and deeply believe. It is completely destructive and all consuming.
I also act very irrationally, cutting people out of my life or making rash decisions that have long lasting consequences. I tend to lose a lot of weight while I'm at a low, everything tastes like cardboard and to be honest it feels like too much effort to nourish myself properly.
It has taken me many years and many mistakes to learn how to deal with the lows. I have learnt the hard way what works for me and what doesn’t when I am on a low. I have tried to numb the pain with alcohol, with drugs and with unhealthy relationships.
While these were not positive ways of dealing with my pain they ultimately taught me more about myself. I now know what helps, what can keep the clouds from setting in and even though that requires a mammoth effort that often seems to be just out of reach I know I can do it. Exercise, eating properly and good friends all help immensely, nothing beats eating chocolate and laughing with a good friend - I know I said eating properly helps but so does chocolate.
I know it passes. It always does. Sometimes quickly. Other times a little longer. I know enough to know that it will not pass forever. Just a welcome break until the next time and hopefully this time the sun shines a little longer than last time.
Mental health foundation - if you are worried about someone else
Ministry of health - what to look out for
Helpline's - this is a list of lots of different helpline's if you want to talk to someone anonymously
Have you ever had experiences with depression? What helps you?