Depression

Depression.

I have seen enough of it through the years. I have been around many friends suffering from it. I have sat and listened. I have given advice, if I have had any. I have tried to be supportive, not abandon anyone. I have seen the marks of self harm, seen lives fall apart from it.

I have never suffered from depression myself. Until three months ago.

I shouldn’t be surprised really. A few years ago my doctor asked me if I was depressed at all. I replied that I didn’t think so. “Why not?” he joked, and we both laughed. But after eleven years of illness I suppose it is about time. And circumstances have certainly conspired to make sure of it too.

I spent much of the second half of 2010 lying in bed recovering from surgery after getting an abscess in a very painful place not once, but twice. I had a virus, probably flu, in both November and December, and so severely that I spent weeks in bed. Then I had a complete ME relapse in January, together with new neuropathic pain, and haven’t recovered yet. I’m getting really incredibly fed up with this bed. And then there is the whole mess with my wife being unable to get a job despite being a qualified science teacher, and taking work cooking and cleaning whenever it has been available has led to complete chaos in our benefits with us being pursued for “overpayments” and going to court next month over the council tax that we don’t think we owe. I have had to apply for ESA, which means that I have to fill in an ESA50 form detailing every single part of my life and my bodily functions, and once I have done that, I have to attend a Work Capability Assessment that will put me through hell, damage my health, and then ignore or twist everything that I said. And while I am laid up in bed, my business has suddenly got some customers after a year of struggling to pay bills, never mind wages, and I can’t do a thing about it. Then today, another blow. We received a Notice Requiring Possession. We are to be made homeless. And when I phoned the letting agency, Timothy Lea & Griffith of Evesham, I asked about a flat in the same block that our friends are moving out of. “I’m sorry, we can’t recommend you to another landlord” was the reply. “Try the housing association.”

As of today I officially can’t cope. I took out my anger by shouting at my wife and swearing at the woman foolish enough to call me to try and help me “claim back unfair loan insurance.” I spent much of the day crying. I just want everything to stop.

So I’m depressed. I have bloody good reason to be. And I finally have an understanding of what all those friends went through. It isn’t just a matter of being a bit unhappy. It isn’t just being fed up. In the last few months I have experienced utter despair. Complete desolation. Thoughts of how everyone I know would be better off without me. Thought processes that take my circumstances and run away into plans to bring about my own death. Working out how to make sure that I actually die, so that no one thinks this is a “cry for help.” Quite honestly, it’s only through the roar of supportive message sent to me through twitter that I didn’t try to end it all today.

And yet, I know what is happening to me. It’s like another me, watching the first me go through this and diagnosing it as it happens. I know the thoughts are wrong, aren’t true, but I still see myself falling into that black hole and can’t do anything to stop it. Rational me can see everything as it happens. Irrational me sometimes just wants to die. I have anti-depressants, but I would hazard a guess that they aren’t doing enough.

I have no conclusion to this. I’m really not asking for sympathy, or any other help. I just wanted to say it all somewhere.

Author: Latentexistence

The world is broken and I can't fix it because I am broken. I can, however, rant about it all and this is where I do that when I can get my thoughts together. Most of the time you'll find my words on Twitter rather than here though. I sometimes write for Where's The Benefit too.

8 thoughts on “Depression”

  1. Mrs Phil also suffered from depression after leaving uni for the first time. I think the problem with depression, as you say, is that you know where the feelings are coming from but you can’t do anything about them.

    It’s difficult to know what to say here for the moment, but I will talk to Mrs Phil and see if she has any ideas. I think the key thing for her was just, every time she had a negative feeling she could say to herself that it was just the illness, it was something physical that was wrong with her, it would pass eventually.

    Anyway, um, I just wanted to post up now just to let you know that someone had read at least!

  2. Hey.

    Firstly, have a hug. Secondly, have another hug.

    Depression sucks, doesn’t it, quite literally in fact, sucks the life out of you, sucks the colour out until everything is shades of grey and sucks the emotions out until everything is the same and leaves you unable to feel anything.

    Your second to last paragraph nailed it exactly. It’s like being detached and watching it all happen to someone else. I get that the most mainly because it’s a sign that I’m on the way down. The other sign I have that I’m going downwards is the urge to scratch my forearms. I know because I’m getting that now having had a day at work that was by no means bad, but somehow in personal conversations managed to rake up lots of emotional junk, most of which was responsible for my last major depression. I’m starting to think I’m not the best person to be talking to you right now. Then again, sod that, chin up, don’t give in, it will get better, and I say that as someone who has been there with depression even if I haven’t had all the other crap you currently have.

    And have another hug. I think we both need it. 🙂

    A-M

  3. This so terrible, although not unexpected, I could feel the emotional pain in some of your tweets.

    None of us are exempt from depression at some stage in our lives. I am pleased that someone today said the right thing to pull you back from the brink. I worry for those who feel they have nobody to talk to.

    I have suffered from several bouts for really bad depression, resulting in lengthy stays in hospitals, there I met people who frightened me, people who were truely wanting to be dead and placed on locked wards. I also met people who helped me, helped me find a way through this darkest of places.

    I can only tell you this, it’s a difficult place to be but with will, determination and the love and support of family, friends and professionals you can come out the other side.

  4. Speaking as some one who is of the darkside, there are no magic words. I used to sit in a cemetery and fantasise about the peace that there is in death because I hated life so much. I tried to get religious but that is just bollocks to me. My advice is simple to say but wont be easy on the ear. There is no point in me describing my downfall in every small detail, I have done it a million times, and basically, nobody cares too much anyway. But I did lose it all. Now, I just get on with it. I have a shit job, no relationship, except a dog. I plod on. I have hobbies, and I love the fact that I am still alive. Strangely enough. Death will come soon enough buddy, but let’s see if we can’t poke the bastard in the eye before it gets us.

    Take the antidepressants, change your diet and exercise a lot. Get a dog and walk it every day, this is what I found to be the most beneficial. Fresh air, fruit, Omega3, dog walking, and reading positive stuff.

    Get pissed up once in a while, but don’t think that alcohol is any answer. Get back out there and there and put some heavy fucking weather proof clothing on. And just say Fuck you I’m back!

    Good Luck!

  5. Like Anne-Marie said, your penultimate paragraph captures the feeling exactly. I have been there more than once and it sucks. In my experience, if the current anti-depressants aren’t working, ask to try another. I tried several before one suited. They take a while to ‘work’, and by work I mean take the edge off of the whole grisly experience enough for you to hang in there while it all grinds on. After all you have been through and are going through it is hardly surprising that depression is the result. There is no easy solution but take any help you can get, try to get it off your chest when you can (talking therapy helped me the most but it doesn’t look like you are in a position to get it in your circumstances and the govt is probably dismantling any free services as we speak) and be gentle with yourself. Little steps. And good luck.

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  7. I thought at Christmas you had slipped into depression… but didn’t want to say anything in case you responded badly to the suggestion (as I would have done if presented with that suggestion!).
    Having been there myself… especially the suicidal tendencies… it is very easy to lose sight of reality when you are depressed. I found my mind became totally clouded, I was unable to hear or accept any positive comments and found that I lived on an enormous roller-coaster of emotion, able to feel enjoyment on odd days, to feel nothing most days but at the same time cry for at least an hour over everything and nothing, and to be in the pit of despair and be suicidal at least once a week. At the time I could not and would not admit it was depression, I was unable to see reason, God seemed remote at all times, my husband suffered the most unable to know how to respond. Looking back I wish I had sought medical help rather than suffering in silence for so long! It is very easy to become detached from your life and imagine this can’t be happening to you and you are just in one really nasty dream. I felt I had a split personality of sorts, the ‘depressed, crying’ me and the ‘I can appear normal’ me, most did not know I was suffering depression because I refused to admit it, I pretended that I was okay. But it is okay to say… you know what I’m not okay, life at the moment is ****, and most importantly I need help.
    Did my depression disappear overnight? No. Even after the birth of my first child I still had that feeling of detachment from my life, despite having carried him for 9 months and gone through labour, I still spent the first two months thinking he was not mine and I should be giving him back. Admittedly by that point I no longer had the endless hours of crying and did not feel suicidal but it took a long time.
    I have no idea really what truly made a difference to my state of mind… but I think the really important thing to realise is just how many others suffer or have suffered depression either themselves or their closest relatives. Sometimes I think just knowing that your response is in some respects ‘normal’, that you are in no means alone in it and that others genuinely are able to sympathise because they have been there is comforting.

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