I’m really anxious about sharing this, and I don’t want anyone who reads this to think I am seeking attention or pity, which could be a natural conclusion to make seeing as I am sharing it on such a public space, but it really helps me. So I guess the worst I could say is that by sharing this, I am being a little selfish. I’m okay with that.
My depression is a soul-eating, self-pitying, hope-smashing bitch. When it decides to make an appearance, nothing is okay. The voice in my head tells me I don’t deserve to be happy, or to be loved. It turns every kind word anyone says to me into a lie and an insult. It reduces me to a hollow sack of skin and bones. Not even eardrum-bursting music can drown out that voice because it’s inside my skull, immediately destroying all the positive thoughts and feelings that I feebly attempt to foster.
Over the past month, it’s been particularly nasty. I couldn’t get out of bed for a few days and I stopped giving a shit about my work, my home and even my son. I didn’t care if I lost my job, or my house, or the love of my life. Well no, that’s wrong, I did care, but I felt so fucking hopeless and powerless, and what’s the point of caring about these things as I don’t deserve them anyway… and if I don’t lose them now, I’ll lose them at some point won’t I?
It’s a terrible state to be in; I’m outside of my own body, looking at myself, knowing the things I am saying and doing to the people I love are so, so wrong, and yet I can’t stop myself. I’m pushing everyone away, screaming at them to leave when in actual fact all I want is for them to stay and somehow make everything better. But nothing they say is good enough. It’s as if I am determined to make them feel just as shitty as I feel, so that we can all stay in bed and discuss the best ways to commit suicide. I float between crying uncontrollably and feeling completely numb.
I know that there are things I could do which may help me feel a little better. I could take a shower, or get out of the house, or call someone removed from the situation. But I don’t do these things, and not doing them frustrates me even more, and gives the voice even more nutrition: of course you won’t do these things Laura, you’re lazy and awful and you like feeling this way because then at least you have some sort of pathetic excuse for why you are who you are. Does it sound familiar?
I think that no one else could possibly understand what I am going through, which is of course bullshit. But everything is bullshit when you have been possessed by depression. I feel so desperate, and so alone, even though there are people right in front of me who love me and tell me what a wonderful person I am. What do they know? It’s all an act anyway; no one knows who I really am. If they did, they would run away. Fast.
And I am even intelligent enough to know that I won’t always feel this way. That maybe tomorrow, or the next day or the next day, something will happen to exorcise me of this hateful entity. But then what? I will feel okay for a while, I’ll manage to convince myself that everything is good, that I am not too bad, that I just need to take things one step at a time. I’ll even remember how good it feels to laugh again, to tell my son I love him, to have a meaningful conversation with my boyfriend. But then something will happen; something small and seemingly insignificant to any observers, and the demon is back again. At first it might be a tiny one, gently nibbling away at all the good stuff, and I will try to ignore it. But then I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and everything cracks, no, shatters, into a million irreparable pieces and my bed and its forgiving warmth will call to me again.
I’m terrified. Less than two weeks ago, when I had just managed to lift myself out of the fog, I was getting dressed to meet my boyfriend’s parents and I looked at myself in the mirror and hated what I saw. That moment. That moment could have sent me spiralling back into what I had just come out of, and it almost did, but then I looked away from the mirror, took a breath, changed into something else and felt better again. The evening was actually lovely, despite the fact that I was initially also terribly nervous.
Yesterday I was meant to go to the office to meet with my manager. We agreed I would go into the office for a few hours every Thursday. I woke up that morning and I was paralysed. The thought of driving to the office and seeing my colleagues filled me with panic, so I ended up not going. I spent half of the day in bed and the all too familiar thoughts like ‘you’re a failure’ threatened to bring me down for far longer than just a few hours. It was also my 6 month anniversary, and so I felt fucking guilty for being such a cow. But then my boyfriend did or said something; I’m not even sure what, and I felt better. Better enough to get up and do some work.
I know I need help, and I have been generously offered the means to get the help I need. I’m still in a bit of a daze about it to be honest (the snarky little voice says ‘I can’t believe you have managed to con these people! Let’s see how badly you’ll fuck it up this time!’). When not looking at myself through the filter of depression, I can acknowledge (quietly) that I am a good person. There are things that I am good at. There are people who care about me deeply and want to see me succeed. I don’t know if I will ever truly believe that I deserve to be happy, or to be loved, and that’s a problem, but it’s something I am working on.
It takes a really special person to be able to deal with someone who is depressed. I am lucky enough to have someone like that in my life, and maybe, just maybe that means I am not so bad. I don’t know what I would have done without him, and I don’t know how I will ever make it up to him (he will tell me I don’t have to do anything), but I am immeasurably grateful to him. I said some awful things to him, and yet he stayed. He refused to leave even when I demanded that he go.
Today I am happy. It’s a good day. Tomorrow I may not be, but that’s okay. There’s a quote I love; I love it so much I had it tattooed on my foot:
‘Everything will be alright in the end; if it’s not alright, it’s not the end’.
Do you hear that, Depression? You and your friends Guilt, Self-Pity and Hopelessness can go to hell.