Honesty time once again. I’m battling with telling the truth again. Kicking depression in the arse, albeit in a weakened haze, again. Lack of comedy post again. Did it ever start though? Don’t answer that.
Bear with me if this post seems disjointed. The fact that it was written is a major feat of will these days.
The thief named Depression is robbing me of my ability to write, my motivation, concentration, and so many other aspects of my life.
It’s a long(ish) post so now’s the time to grab a cuppa, cake, or any other form of food naughtiness and get yourself seated. Please stick with me. Every word was tricky to find. I hope you read them all. *Whistles and bimbles around, waiting for you to get comfy and hopes you’re still out there*
I want to update you, and to write the hell out of this thing after the support you showed with my initial post detailing how the monster, Depression, had sneaked back into my life (see The Enemy Strikes Back).
On the first draft of this post, I typed as fast as I could, first thing in the morning, in the hope that Depression would sleep a little longer and I could write without him taking over. I felt like I was working against the clock on ‘Countdown’ (boring Brit quiz show, don’t bother looking it up).
I have been editing this post many times since. Note to self: writing when straight out of bed and depressed entails coming up with a whole new language no amount of careful editing or spell checking is ever going to recognise.
Depression steals from me every time it crashes into my life.
This time, because I’m fairly new to this writing business, I’ve discovered that he really does not want me to write. It brings me joy so that must be scratched off the list.
Depression does not like it when you enjoy things or are passionate about them. It gets in the way of his party pooping plans.
It’s been devastating to not be able to write much. I get the irony that I’m writing this but the process has been laboured and long.
Somehow it’s easier, when I feel more lucid, to write personal pieces such as this or a journal entry. I’m trying to write when I feel up to it. At the moment that’s only in the form of letting the feelings out.
Apologies this is not a witty, writing-centred post. I know you’d possibly rather read one of those but I just don’t have it in me at the moment to do that. I’m working on it.
Thankfully in ‘well world’ I am an organiser extraordinaire and had some posts already written. I am coming to the end of those now and I’m panicking. I either put this post out there and risk your boredom, or I stop posting and potentially lose support as people may think I’ve ceased blogging.
Depression just keeps on stealing from me.
It has no prejudices. It attacks in times of bad and good. My life was in the best place it’s ever been. I got married in February and started writing in earnest, in March. I was ready for this exciting new phase of my life. Then Depression came along, scratching at the edges, clawing at my mind, until he finally went in there for the Big Takeover.
The first draft of my novel thankfully was finished before the storm hit. I tried to work on a second draft but my creative ability was stolen from me. I couldn’t concentrate and working on a novel about a person’s experiences of depression wasn’t as helpful as I thought it would be.
On the bright side (because I’m forcing myself to grab back anything I can from this git) I now have plenty of extra material for my novel. So there’s a thing…
Depression jealously stashes away my hopes and dreams.
That snide voice whispers in my ear that the future isn’t for people like me. He wants me to lie down with him as he leeches out my living essence. He tells me that my life is worth nothing and I am of no consequence.
Sometimes I feel like I’m holding on to my life by my fingernails. I don’t want to inflict pain upon my loved ones. More than that, I keep going for my amazing husband.
Depression has also stolen from from my husband.
His wife is not the same person she was. A shadow has temporarily replaced her. He has been through a depressive episode with me before. A testament to his fortitude and love is that this happened a few months after we met. This man stuck with me through a year’s worth of depression agony. I knew then that he was a keeper.
He knows me outside of depression and thankfully he thought I was worth it enough to marry me. He digs through the black haze every day now, mining for the pieces of the real me underneath the depression self that gets frustrated, cannot communicate, turns away from him, and disintegrates in front of his eyes.
Depression tussles with my husband’s strength. I know he seeks his own support but it breaks my heart to watch this man hurting so much for me, for us.
When I’m usually the one that supports him, it hurts that I cannot do it effectively now. I just don’t have it in me. It’s tearing me apart that I cannot soothe and love his pain away. I feel useless against this third aspect in our marriage; the Black Dog that pushed its way between us but we vow will not tear us apart.
Depression loves the introduction of heavy duty meds in my life, because the initial side effects replace the real me with a practically comatose version.
This is where Depression stretches out on a sun lounger, sips a few cocktails of the afore mentioned meds, and takes perverse delight in watching the drugged up show.
Note: this isn’t the case for everyone. Antidepressants affect different people in different ways.
Much as I hate relying on pills to be stable, the drugs DO work for me (eventually). In the state that I’ve been in, I’d take hundreds every day if it means that eventually I’ll start to feel better. That said, it’s trial and error and that’s been tough.
I was recently put on a heavy duty drug regime that thankfully has been reduced. I spent days walking around like a zombie when I wasn’t actually sleeping the day away. If you were writing an apocalyptic novel, I would have been your muse.
Depression doesn’t just want your mind, it takes your body too.
I am always surprised by how one minute I’m functioning fairly normally and the next even brushing my teeth feels like a Herculean task.
Sometimes I listen when my body and mind scream ‘Enough!’Sometimes I’m a cockwomble and I push through, only to need a nap to get over the sheer effort of washing my hair. It would be bloody funny if it wasn’t so painfully true.
I am also fighting back against the loneliness and the feeling of being forgotten that Depression constantly taunts me with.
Depression has robbed me of friends.
I know this sounds dramatic and to some, possibly the ‘friends’ who fell by the wayside and are reading this, it would sound like I’m not taking responsibility.
I never use depression as an excuse for my coherent, carefully chosen actions. I do, however, try to be easier upon myself in that depression steals my ability to keep up communication with people, to empathise, and to reach out. When you feel worthless and overrun by negativity, you feel you have nothing to offer to the outside world.
I’m not going to lie because I’ve told the ugly truth so far. I feel let down by people who I thought would contact me or just show that they cared. I know it’s awkward. I know we all feel weird knowing what to say when someone is ill. I understand that mental illness is a scary and unknown area for some.
All I want is for someone to say, ‘I don’t know the right words but I care and I acknowledge you’. It is more than enough to know that someone made an effort to show that I’m not forgotten. I often feel invisible.
Depression has stolen friends from me. I told them lies about why I couldn’t make the social events. I’m scared to write this because I’m finally telling the truth. I think they knew already anyway. My lies got more and more unbelievable as depression strengthened and I’d run out of valid excuses.
I could have told them the truth, but in my defence I tried that at the beginning, and it didn’t wash. Sure, people often offer support in the early stages, but many fade away either because they don’t know how to deal with it, or through apathy that Lisa is having ‘another depressive episode’.
It was too hard to explain that I couldn’t hold my head up and look them in the eye anymore, let alone feign happiness and be chatty. I tried to explain this but the sympathy wore out. Depression rendered me a bore.
I’m more upset than angry. I have found that I’m receiving more messages of support and care from people I don’t know via this blog and my Facebook page than I do from supposed friends.
Maybe it’s easier for a stranger to comment because they’re not invested in any kind of relationship with me, but it’s hard to understand why people you’ve known for years, supported through their bad times, and enjoyed life with, cannot even say ‘Hi’. That would be enough for me. I’d know that they haven’t turned away from me and added to the shame I already feel.
I hold on tighter to the friends and family that support and love me because of this. I will never be able to express how much they mean to me.
I’m scared that Depression has stolen my ability to read.
I have loved reading since the moment I could pick up a book. In previous times of depression, reading saved me. I could go somewhere else, away from my messed up mind and be transported to to other places where depression did not exist.
I’m hoping that when the horse killer strength meds die down, I will be able to read and concentrate more.
I wept the other night for the potential death of reading. This may sound foolish to some, but books and reading define me. I was an English teacher, I have an MA in Literature, and I am now a writer. My life feels like it has come to a halt whilst I cannot read.
I will try every day to read. I will choose flipping ‘Peter and Jane’ books if that is all I can cope with right now. I cannot lose this.
Depression is a cruel thief but…
- He cannot take away the steadfast love of my husband.
- He is not having my currently clumsy words.
- He will not pickpocket my reading ability.
- He will not take the love of genuine friends, family and supporters.
- He will not steal this blog away from me.
- He most certainly is not having my life.
Life may have altered but hope is still here whilst love, writing and reading remain.
EDITED 10/08/2016: Please do not use this post or threads I engage in on social media to sell products or services that you claim or even believe will treat or cure depression. I respect that most of you are well-intentioned and caring people. This is not intended to cause offence. However, I’ve had some people on social media trying to sell me dubious herbs and making claims to possessing medical qualifications they clearly don’t have.
I have a responsibility to others who have depression to ask that these comments are not made in future. I respect every person’s right to choose. However, depression is a mental illness that is a living misery. It can also lead to suicidal thoughts or the act itself.
Medical intervention should ALWAYS be the first step. Speak to your doctor and take their advice for your treatment.
My husband is a doctor and, through him, I know how this checking up on medical credentials and the value of certain products work. Not everyone has that luxury.
Genuine thanks to those making helpful suggestions. This is not intended to cause offence.