I have been shy about writing anything about my mental health on here for a while, mostly because I cannot go a week without someone mentioning it to me because of this blog. All nice concerned things, of course, but nether the less I can’t help but be concerned, as I would never want what I write about depression to become to become wholly representative of me and the condition itself. It’s one part of me, admittedly often a very large part that affects every aspect of my world, but it’s not my whole word. Similarly my experiences are not representative of the whole murky world of depression.
All that being said, I am back, shellacked fingernails to keyboard, at a late hour midweek, in my bedroom, writing about my mental state to publish online because I can’t think of a more effective way to process my experiences. Admittedly my fingernails are a different colour and I’m in a completely different bedroom, but changes in my life, while giving me months of sweet relief from my depressive hell, apparently can’t completely cure me of the chemical imbalance that make it all seem too hard.
Since I last wrote, things have actually been excellent. The changes in my life that used to seem too hard, too fast and ultimately completely insurmountable proved to be the turning point. Living by myself has given me ample time to reflect and process, and day to day experiences, like food shopping, cooking, cleaning and gardening, which aren’t often something you do while living as an adult child with your parents, have not only given me distraction but sheer delight. I’ve developed a questionable addiction to rescuing heavily reduced dying plants from the garden section of Kmart and nursing them back to health. I never thought I’d be that person but hey, I’ll take it.
I’ve been happy, succeeding academically, feeling incredibly valuable at all my various places of employment. I’ve felt human, and normal, and haven’t had to map out a way to get through the day.
But of course, the higher you get, the further to fall.
Somehow bad days have been creeping back. And because I’ve had so many good days, the bad ones seem so much more terrifying. One of the most awful things about depression is the uncertainty. There’s no rhyme or reason to its arrival, and it doesn’t come with a use-by date, so you can never be sure if a bad is actually just a day, or if it’s the first in a month or year of bad days.
So, of course, the terror of its return and the inability to predict its exit result now in panic attacks for me now.
Of course, all of these things are manageable with perspective and a good support network. But I’m living alone. Living alone turned out to be the paradox – it resolved my depression, but left me virtually unequipped to deal with it’s sudden return. A rather cruel paradox indeed.
But if course, the cruellest paradox of all is depression itself. I honestly cannot think of a better way to sum my experiences with it than to describe it as such. It will leave you in desperate need of those around but completely incapable of asking for help. If you do manage to ask for help, the guilt you feel for doing so renders any help obtained irrelevant. You begin to lose all sense of self outside of depression, but somehow manage to abhor yourself, even though you feel like you don’t exist any more. The things that used to make you happy don’t any more, but you lack the energy and motivation to seek out new things. Even if you can map a way out, it’s physically something you cannot do.
So, that’s where I’m at. Desperately fighting to keep the bad day as just days. And it’s working so far. Those days are scary, and having to now deal with panic attacks in addition is not ideal. But I’ve seen the light and enjoyed living depression free, and that’s something I really want to keep doing.
(Just before anyone asks I am still regularly seeing my psychologist and my GP to work through this with them. I encourage anyone reading this who can relate to go get a mental healthcare plan and do the same).