Depression:- Getting my head around it. How it makes me feel. Searching for a meaning, a definition that explains me and how it has formed me.
I live with PTSD, Depression and Anxiety.
For the past few months I have been in a deep trough and searching for words to describe the feelings and sensations that I have running through me. It’s been hard to articulate them and turn the swirling winds in my mind into something that the people in my life could maybe understand.
My conditions stem from abuse that I survived at the hands of Catholic Clergy. Priests, Brothers, Nuns and Lay Teachers. From the age of five until sixteen. The Church has acknowledged that the abuse took place and that validation has been important and enabled me to start to heal. The acknowledgement of the courts was important, but as most survivors will tell you it is the acknowledgement of the perpetrator of what they did starts the process.
Through sessions with in the first instance an amazingly perceptive clinical psychologist I was able to acknowledge two things. Coping with the after effects of a traumatic event or situation can lead to depression at any age, and in my case since the first abusive action that I survived I had been sliding into depressive episodes all my life. It helped me understand many of my behaviours and the way I lived my life.
When I am in a depressive state I feel like I am in a zone. It’s almost a state of meditation, of removal from reality. When I used to run in the High School Cross Country races or ride my bike for long distances I would feel something similar. When you are in this “zone” you feel like you shouldn’t be on this earth, you are a waste of time and space, an oxygen thief. With others you feel like you are the only person who can feel this way. No one “gets” you or understands you. Social events “sink you”. I know that when I am in this state they are not for me because the reinforce to me my worthlessness.
You can have great parents, great children, a great family, great friends but you feel like you are simply the worst, most disgusting person who ever lived. You love these people and I know for me I know that my “absence” of soul and of interaction has hurt those in my life. That creates a perpetual cycle of further withdrawal which makes me feel even worse and so it goes.
People struggle to understand that while everyone around you is happy, or on the surface your life may appear to be “perfect” all you want to do is just cry alone. You struggle to acknowledge people in your life, your partner, your children, your colleagues, your friends and your family. This struggle is heart breaking, because for me I was empty, a shell. My physical presence was there, on the couch when my children wanted my attention, my interaction, but I was a zombie, in my own world. I wasn’t angry. I was sad but I couldn’t understand why I was. Why I was so low.
When you are so low and in that “zone” rational thought leaves you. You begin to feel that suicide is a release from it all, from the demons. You think that you have found “the” solution”. Some do and they get that release from their tortured world. When you are in that space you think that you are doing a good thing for all around you. I know that I have felt that in the past. I don’t now and I work hard so that I don’t again. You just don’t think that you are a good person.
I know I’m not “right”. Why cant I make myself “right”?
I know I should try to follow mindfulness and live in the moment as much as possible but many times it’s just too hard to do. I feel like I am watching myself in some twisted movie. There are days when the physiological aspect of depression manifests and I cant even force myself out of my bed. I struggle on those days to even get one thing done. When I was working I had to push myself and it helped and like that perpetual motion machine those achievements of work helped me do other things. Now without that impetus its harder. That being said I use lists and it is satisfying to cross an item off the list and move on to the next thing. Some people over work to combat depression but for me it it’s the opposite. I become emotionally paralysed. I have no energy.
When you are in that “zone” if someone offers you a compliment, for example they say that they feel lucky to have you in their world you (and I know I do this) disagree completely. Most people do that because they are being modest but inside I don’t feel worthy of it at all and I believe that with my whole heart. Depression swallows me up with self loathing.
So these are my thoughts about depression and how it affects me and how I live with it. I hope that by finally getting these thoughts into words I may help other struggling to work it out for themselves.
To those living with someone who has depression, you are their rock and their foundation. Your love and patience is cherished by them.