#209: Depression

I am not depressed. I can say that with confidence now. Back then, I didn’t really know what that meant

I knew people could be depressed or unhappy, but I just thought this was how it worked out. I knew that something was wrong, but I didn’t know what.

I assumed it was me.

It’s not about hiding and it’s not about wanting to kill yourself. You just don’t want to be alive.

I wish I knew what started it

I couldn’t remember the last time I had

laughed without holding back

smiled without some guilty sense that it wasn’t real.

I remember

crying for the first time

real tears and suddenly everything began to change, began to melt.

All this work that I had to do

I cracked

The depression had helped me. The work. The depression helped me with the work. It was a way of living. It wasn’t a living, but it was a way of life. I could always cope with it, and then with the work it just became too much.

No

The depression never actually helped. I always have to be sure that I’m looking at it the right way. Critically. Critically at my own thoughts.

When I got home, after I first told someone. It was my friends they kept asking question after question, making me talk

trying to find out why I was walking around like a zombie

They had told me to write it all down, get it all out. Every last part of it. On paper, something. And I did

Four pages of everything

Everything that had happened

I wrote it all down, crying and writing

tears of relief.

I felt alive. That was when it all changed.

It changed when I spotted that note in my diary. That’s when everything changed.

‘words dazzle and deceive because they are mimed by the face.

But black words on a white page are the soul laid bare.’

And I knew it was going to be long and slow and hard

but that afternoon, everything was different. There was colours and people and emotions.

And it rained, really nice rain and I woke up the next morning and I looked forward to that day. That first day, for the first time.

It’s like your brain’s a diagram

how you think, your memory, where you are now, you can remember where you put your glasses, and what you’re doing, who you are, what happened yesterday.

but as soon as you get to the point just before you make that big first step to getting better it’s as if…

it turns into a different language, there’s a different set of colours, but you can’t remember ever using them.

And nothing’s in the same language, you know what happened but the thoughts and the emotions they’re someone else’s, they don’t belong to you anymore, they’re someone else’s

someone whose dead now

dead to me now.

As soon as I knew what was wrong, then that part of me was dead.

It’s not that you were sad you just didn’t feel anything.

You just feel this incredible sense of never being able to feel joy

It felt like you were just this shell, this fleshy flabby shell, with all these tiny little hooks in your skin tied to string tugging at your insides all the time.

And because of this, and other things you couldn’t sleep

It’s a bit silly now. But you can never sleep

You could be unconscious for a couple of hours everyday

but you’d always have to get up and there’d be all those people and you don’t know what to say or how to act around them

The depression makes you think certain things

and it infects your brain

everywhere

It’s like you’ve got this cold

you don’t want to do anything

you become it

No

it becomes you

and when I realised there was something wrong with me, something medically wrong, I was scared, because who was I really? What would be normal for me? What thoughts were my own? And what thoughts were because of this depression? How could I change myself if this isn’t normal? How can I change myself if this isn’t normal?

Seeing the doctor.

About getting better. About changing yourself. About turning yourself into something new.

I saw this trainee doctor, some poor blonde twenty-something and she asked what was wrong

and I said I think I’m depressed

and I’ll never quite forget her expression

There was half a moment of fear

I’m not sure why

like she didn’t know what to do

That she’d maybe never seen this before

And then she asked me to talk about it

and I told her what I told my friends

After I’d done that for a while, she started talking about how I could fix this…

Sleeping better

How to sleep

You’ll be amazed how much difference a good sleep makes

lists, listing things, ordering things in your life, not being a victim of this torrent of events

Just by writing them down, you’ve taken charge.

She gave me this video, that i had to hide it from my parents

Like some kind of bizarre porn film

It was funny, had John Cleese in it, talking to this doctor

Must have been twenty years old

Because he still had hair in it

and it was really good to hear someone else, describing exactly what I had

and that you can get better

There was these booklets with information, how to sleep, sleeping patterns, doing things that would make you feel better…

‘if you’re feeling sad, down at the end of a day then have sex with your partner’

Which was funny because I didn’t have a partner

and I’d never had sex

Guess it was aimed at someone older.

It wasn’t my life

It was a different person

And you can never go back there

unless you’re depressed

You can remember specifics about it, but you know you don’t want to be there again and that’s what keeps you going on the hardest days. No matter what happens, no matter what has happened. I’ve lived through that and if can live through that, then I can handle anything

which I suppose that’s what made me

this awful, awful thing,

this is what made me

this terrible thing.

The second visit to the doctor’s

it felt pointless, but I had to book it because of the suicidal thoughts

But I was a changed person

I was doing things

it felt like I was happy

I was happy.

I thank them. I’ve never met them since but I remember their faces. Very, very vividly. And I have those vivid memories. I like remembering things now. I’m allowed to dwell in my thoughts, rather than hiding from them, or hiding in them.

It was the only place you could ever go.

I didn’t know anything else

It was all in my head.

I had to tell my friends because they deserve to know

they were in my life,they were part of me, they took it in, told me they already knew

they weren’t blind, they knew I wasn’t happy, they just hung around with me, they were there

they didn’t know what to say, but they were there

and it helped, and as lonely as I was as isolated as I felt, they’d always been there

And then I told my parents

Because the doctor said they had to know soon.

I didn’t want to because they’d blame themselves

and they did, but they deserved to know

even though it was nothing to do with them.

It was nothing to do with my family or friends

My dad said nothing, he didn’t react, he was fiddling with his keychain

The way I do when I’m told something I don’t want to hear.

My mum questioned and talked, tried to help, but ended up being condescending

Just the way I am sometimes

But I can see now that it was ok and they were just trying to support me

but they just didn’t understand.

I always kept the diary for the first few months

I didn’t always use it, but it was there just in case.

And eventually, it’s gets to certain point where you have a good day, and then you stop having to take notes, and another good day comes along, and you start to worry about the things that other people worry about

like women

I discovered women, my taste and smell returned, things could be delicious. I was no longer stuffing my face with lumps of cooked meat and mush.

My mum would always ask if I enjoyed dinner, but I never would

I could never answer her honestly, but now I can savour every morsel, every scrap of meat.

I discovered women, their smell, that smell that is individual yet universal

the smell that make your heart beat faster, the smell that makes you what to be near to them.

I was better

I don’t know how to describe it

I was finding out who I was

I was walking differently

You can’t really explain how hard it is to learn to walk a different way than you have been

learning how to stand up straight and walk without a hunch.

Talking to people

learning how to talk to people, still feeling really awkward sometimes

but starting to be happy, contented

I wasn’t depressed anymore

It was liked I’d been born

Some people find God

I found life again.

You are a new, better person. What you think, how you act, your demeanour, your attitude and how you are with other people. You shall improve in all areaas because you’re already an intelligent, good person. And you will do great things.

But not yet.

First. Be that person that you’ve always wanted to be, make your friends laugh and you will too. Broaden your horizons, listen to anything and everything.

Dance. Forget what other people might think of you, anything negative, they might think is based on simplistic view, based on their own jealousy.

Walk with purpose and with a smile on your face, because you do have something to smile about.

You’re going to bring joy to those around you, because they want you to excel. Fulfil your dreams, better yet, go beyond them because you have the ability to make anything possible.

It’s gone and you never have to worry about it again.

If you want to try something, do it

If you want to say something, say it.

Selfish as it may seem, your own happiness, should never ever be of second importance to any of this

Work hard and play hard, but not at the expense of your soul.

Never at the expense of your own well-being.

ENDS

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