Friday, 2 August 2013

Into The Depths of Depression






I have often wondered what it would be like to have guest writers on my blog. And now, low and behold, it is happening. The following paragraphs are personal responses from six individuals who shall not be named for the purpose of this post. Responses to what, I hear you ask. Well, I asked each of them ‘What does depression feel like?’ and gave them a week to ponder their statement. After a long week of fidgeting and impatience, I have finally gathered all of their responses. This is an intense insight into the minds of those who have been broken, and who have survived to tell their tales. You have all heard my story in previous posts. Now, this is their story…



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The first word that comes into my head is darkness. It’s like a sky full of black clouds that build up over a few days, complete blackness, no light whatsoever, no glimmer of hope - just negativity. It’s a darkness that creeps over you, leaving you feeling sad, anxious, helpless, worthless, miserable, angry and empty. You get an awful, numb pain in your chest, a lump in the back of your throat and all of a sudden the tears start to flow. They seem to flow endlessly until you can’t breathe.

 Eventually the tears stop, but that’s when you feel nothing; nothing at all. It drains all of your emotions. It takes everything from you and leaves you numb, lifeless and hollow. You experience loss of appetite and insomnia. You feel like you're in a massive pool stuck in the middle and sinking. You feel tied down - both physically and mentally .It’s almost like silent screams, longing to escape the darkness but no-one notices, no one hears. You're completely on your own, struggling with all the bullshit life throws at you.

 It’s a never ending emptiness. It’s horrific.



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There are definitely a number of words I could use to describe my feelings during my depression - jealousy, anger, hatred, paranoia, devastation, loneliness, insecurity… The list goes on. I'm lucky to have survived it… many don't. But thanks to my good friends and family, counselling and a bit of an epiphany, I'm still here.

I guess for me it all started the first time I lost someone close to me, and ever since then feelings of depression have just become a part of who I am. The main trait of my depression that I will describe was being a cutter. I guess being a cutter was a beautiful secret for me, but little did I know that it would become an endless cycle. I was always lost and lonely, feeling like I had no-one to turn to. I didn't care about the world outside of my own head, just as long as I could cut myself into a bloody mess and listen to the same song over and over again. I didn't care about who I hurt. I pushed all of my friends away and I became a compulsive liar. I hated the world and everyone in it, but I had no idea why I was so angry. I used to have horrific dreams about brutal murders every night… I barely ever slept. So I started taking valium to help me sleep and things only got worse from there.

By this stage it had been three years since I had started to have feelings of depression and cutting had become part of who I was. Eventually I couldn't sleep without bleeding at least once. Everything about me changed in the space of three years.

It wasn't for a long time after that, that I became happy again. My parents sent me to counselling which I attended for almost a year, and slowly but surely I began to get better. I still have my bad days but now I wear bracelets on my left arm - each one representing someone I love, reminding me that every time I hurt myself I'm hurting them too. Depression is a disease. It took over my life and changed who I was. Even now as I sit here writing this, I see the scars and I can't help but think about how different my life is now, and how much I have lost because of my depression. I'm not asking for anyone to feel sorry for me or empathise with me. This is just me telling my story. A story about depression.



"I'll never keep it bottled up, and left to the hands of the coroner. Be a true heart not a follower, we're not done yet… "



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Depression. For such an insignificant word, it holds so much power over so many people. It consumes their lives. Between the advancements in personal and social technologies, as well as the increased awareness surrounding this sensitive issue, it seems more people than ever are suffering from depression.

I myself have had my own experiences with depression and it is something I'm not proud of. For me there is almost an element of shame attached to what I just admitted. Just talking about it is one of a handful of things that can send me into a pyrotechnic rage. That's because, in my mind, I had no obvious reason to be depressed. From the outside looking in I had everything… i.e. I was talented as fuck! However, this was not clear to me at this particular juncture. I had, what some might call, a group of 'toxic' friends. Even though I liked these guys I did not fit in with them… at all! I ended up losing sight of who I was.

On top of all that, I had a fucked up ending to an extremely intense and strange relationship. These were two significant occurrences in my life. They led me to seclude myself in my room, where I would immerse myself in the alternate realities of my favourite TV shows. Those hours spent glued to the screen allowed me a brief respite from the feelings of loneliness, inadequacy and angst that churned constantly deep in my gut.

Some months later, it became apparent to me that I had become touchier than a septic bum boil, excuse my crudeness. It took only the slightest thing to send me into an explosive tirade; my coping mechanism was to rage at whatever annoyed me! I had serious anger issues. It was only after a particularly bad fight with my father that I realised I had a problem. I had been bottling up my emotions, ignoring the fact I was depressed and I had become consumed by anger in the process.

With this realisation, I decided to do something… anything... to change my life. I became active once again and found ways of channelling my anger (smashing things!!!). I then proceeded to spill my guts, metaphorically, to a few close friends and that really helped put my demons at ease. I began to enjoy the little things in life again, such as ice-cream, long cycles and sunny days (the few that we had that is!). It took a long time and a lot of effort after that before I was truly happy again. Because let’s face it, happiness is difficult to attain - it requires effort and the ability to focus on the positives in life, which is not an easy task. Things are good for me right now… however long that lasts, I don't know. But I'm going to keep focusing on the positives in my life in the hope that I'll beat this son of a bitch they call depression.



The Big Cheese.



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It feels like something is trying to push you into a dark space. You don’t know how or why this is happening; you don’t question it. All you can focus on is the inevitability of it all. This is going to happen. And then you fall. At first, it’s just a lump in your throat or a pain in your chest. Then it’s an ocean of tears and sleepless nights. It feels like you’re screaming, but no-one can hear you, not even yourself. Something has completely taken over your mind; there is no escape. For me, the hardest part was trying to explain it. How can I explain something that I do not understand myself? The endless questions when you eventually have to come out of your room… “Why are you crying?” “What’s wrong with you?” always followed by uncertain and completely unsatisfying answers.

For the people around you it’s frustrating and unsettling. There is no calm after the storm. When you finally run out of tears you feel completely exhausted – emotionally and physically – with red eyes and a numb feeling beyond explanation. You get over it, but there is always fear of a relapse, of that darkness consuming you again. That’s the only way I can describe it really. I’ve learnt to accept that it’s a part of me. It’s dark and complicated but I always get through it. You have to learn to, because if you don’t, self-harm and suicide become options that should never be contemplated. 

It’s the blind hope that keeps you going. Because although it may be blind, it’s hope all the same. I’ve also learnt to distract myself. For example now, when it all got too much, I decided to write about how I felt instead of crying about it. So this is what it feels like, and believe it or not, when it’s all over I feel like the happiest person in the world. So for all those happy times, is it worth it? Absolutely.



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Depression is a word thrown around a lot with very little meaning. If people are bored or having a bad day they claim to be depressed. But being depressed means a lot more than that, and it does not last only a few days, it lasts weeks, months – maybe even years. Depression comes upon you so fast, yet it is so hard to rid yourself of. It’s a constant feeling of emptiness and being broken. You just feel so alone and isolated. There are no time-outs. It stays and won’t go away; it’s like a curse. When you’re depressed you tend to push away the people who love you the most, simply because you just block everything and everyone out. It’s like you’re stuck in a dark world of your own that you have no control over. Sometimes when the depression gets extremely bad, you turn to self-harm because you think it’ll get rid of the pain, maybe even suicide because the pain you feel inside you is so unbearable. Minutes feel like days, days feel like weeks, and weeks feel like years. It feels like it’s never going to go away, but it does! 

Eventually it will go away. Eventually you won’t feel so empty and alone anymore. Things will get better, you just have to be strong and stick it out. It won’t be easy. Some days you’ll just want to give up, but don’t! Nothing lasts forever, not even depression.



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Depression may be clich├ęd by many as an illness with the severest of outcomes but for me, it was my safe haven. I relished in the tears and sleepless nights which accompanied my diagnosis. The darkness became my reality, and reality became the unknown. Every day I would spends hours lost in my own numb world – one in which I seeped of bitterness, anger and regret. Some nights I felt I was drowning in the endless streams that flowed over my coarse cheeks. It became a physical pain to the point where I physically could not breathe. I remember pressing my shaking hands to my chest in a ferocious bid to end the suffering. And when it finally did end, I returned to my state of numbness, simply awaiting the next breakdown. No-one knew what I was going through, I don’t think even the counsellors understood. I tried to explain to close friends but their help came to nothing. I began to create conversations in my mind, in an ironic attempt to restore my sanity.

In my case, sleeping was not my biggest fear. It was the hours leading up to it that were the most distressing. Isolated and emotionally frustrated, I spent this time reliving the pain and torment, hence causing further destruction to my mind. Writing was my only outlet. It was never enough.

In the end I don’t quite know how I recovered. Perhaps time really does heal everything, but I don’t truly believe that. My depression has disintegrated over time but the ashes still lurk beside my bed, choking my lungs from time to time as I sleep at night. I don’t think it will ever fully leave my being, and in all honesty, I hope it never does.




1 comment:

  1. What beautiful descriptions. I was clinically diagnosed with depression and what these people are describing is so true and deep. Awesome idea on asking this question...loved your post.

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