Deep in the dark recesses of my brain, somewhere that is still conscious of what is going on, I know that I am in a place I wouldn’t want to be had I a choice. Deep down there too, is the knowledge that I am in big trouble.
Deep in my brain is the wisdom, the knowing that I can’t help myself and I end up screaming at myself every night; because at night time – when I am asleep – is the time my subconscious can reach up and punch my conscious mind. But that constant punching causes problems with my mind during the day, as I struggle to cope with the waking hours having spent all night battling myself as I tossed and turned with my mind screaming; assaulting me with images, thoughts, struggles, pressures, worries that refuse to let me sleep a restful, useful sleep.
Having slumbered, tossed, and turned, my waking moments are lived in slow motion, with words forgotten, tears coming uncalled and the world seen through a veil of cotton wool, as if everything is dulled, muted and I slovenly work on half speed, with a mask in place to pretend I am still me, still fully there. I feel a lot of things and absolutely nothing at the same time. It is as if I know I should feel, am remembering a feeling but am equally incapable of feeling that feeling; I am recalling it as if from memory and not from the process of actually feeling it. My world is getting smaller, it wants to be smaller, and I want to be alone – to be quiet.
As if my very spirit has been stolen, my life is lived purely by going through the motions; as if I have to do it, but no longer want to do it. It is as if someone has turned off a light in my head, in my heart. My brain just refuses to work at times and as I struggle for words more and more it makes me worry, angry, sad, and weary… Not even the words want to come from my head. Just be silent. Just to be silent, that would be wonderful.
To be alone and quiet and peaceful, resting, if that could happen, then perhaps I could mend….
Being depressed, suffering from depression is not a choice; it is an action, something that happens TO you, unwanted, unbidden and sometimes by complete surprise. It is also a battle; a fight with an unseen, powerful thing that sucks the very life out of everything you see, you touch, you do, you are…. It is an insidious illness that can destroy your very spirit, soul, heart, mind and life.
I have bi-polar disorder. I have struggled with this for twenty years and for twenty years I have managed the highs and lows with the help and support of my doctor, family, my husband and my children. But even with me, after so many years and so many swings I was in the depths of clinical depression without realizing it. Despite knowing and managing the symptoms of depression before, they snuck up on me this time. I felt ‘deflated’, I felt unmotivated, flat and devoid of the slightest hint of energy or joy. I forgot the simplest of words regularly and struggled to put sentences together sometimes. I wanted quiet, silently screamed for it, in my surroundings, in my home, but most of all in my head.
When I slept, I tossed and turned, I didn’t get a refreshing sleep, not for months. I am exhausted both mentally and physically but being in a position of having to go on, I did, until I couldn’t any more. When I began to imagine myself crashing into the nearest truck just so I didn’t have to go to work and I could get some rest I knew there was something wrong. Who does that; imagines themselves slightly hurt; enough they’d have to go to hospital where they could sleep, be quiet and not be disturbed for a few weeks??
This is not like the depression I had felt before with the bi-polar. This came on so gradually I didn’t even realize I was different. Not until having seriously thought of hurting myself over and over and then wanting to do it morning after morning, did I admit to myself that I could be sick. So I asked for an emergency appointment with my doctor who has looked after me for over ten years and she told me that I was suffering from clinical depression.
To be honest, some of it was a relief. The idea of forgetting my words when I enjoy writing so much was very frightening. When I talked, I couldn’t piece a sentence together without struggling to reach the words that were just ‘gone’. Simple words for everyday things were missing, unknown, unreachable, vanished completely from memory. This is a symptom of depression.
The idea of wanting to harm myself for some peace and quiet was seriously wrong, but this is a classic symptom of depression.
The thought of getting up day after day and going to work – just doing the ‘run of the mill’ things we all have to do, was destroying my soul, my being and I was beginning to be incapable of doing it; this is a symptom of depression.
The idea of peace and quiet where I can be on my own to just sleep, to rest, is a symptom of depression.
Flashes of anger were not uncommon with my bi-polar but with this episode, it was more like absolute apathy, a feeling like I was wading through glue and no matter how hard I tried it was never going to get any easier, it was just going to get worse…
If I had thought my life was no longer worth living I would not be sitting here writing this now. Fortunately for me, I realized before that happened, there was something wrong.
What I am trying to tell you is that even someone who is used to a bi-polar disorder can struggle with an episode of clinical depression. This one snuck up on me, blindsided me, left me very depleted, more depleted than I have ever felt in my life. This is not a choice, this is not something I am in control of, this is not something I want nor would I wish this condition on any other person, friend or enemy. Unless you have suffered depression, there is no explaining what it does to your mind, body, soul and spirit. No explaining how depleted and spent and lacking in determination, joy or love you feel for life in general, for your life, for the lives of those you do actually love and who surround you every day. It’s not easy getting over depression. It takes an enormous effort from everyone, from the one struggling with it, to the ones who surround that person. I am extremely blessed to have a husband who understands me: my mind, soul and heart. His love, patience and caring is what at times gets me through the darkest of days, even when I feel absolutely nothing but apathy for him because of that very illness. Surrounding yourself with loved ones who know the real you, who can wait for the real you to come back is more important than they will ever understand. To those who say to people who have been struck down with depression like me “just snap out of it”, I wish you never have to feel this way. There is no ‘snapping out of it’; that’s the whole point. Were it that simple, don’t you think it’s a choice we would quickly, wholeheartedly, delightedly make? But depression takes time to recover from; time to heal, time to rest, time to come back to oneself. I am on that road now. I travel it as quickly as my mind allows. I travel this road more than willingly and I know there are times when I feel like I’m back at the start, moments when I feel utterly distraught for no reason, there are moments when I just want to sit down wherever I am and just not get up ever again, there are times when I just don’t want to talk to anyone for what feels like ever again, but I will get there. I know I will – how long it takes, I’m not sure…..