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.