Depression is a bugger, isn’t it? You can be bumbling along, happy as Larry, nary a care in the world when you suddenly stop short. There before you is a huge black hole, sucking all the joy, the fun, the light from your life, leaving you empty and unable to put one foot in front of the other.
I’ve had depression for years. It comes and goes and I’m used to it, yet each time I feel the black dog pawing at me, it takes me by surprise. The depth of the darkness that envelopes me never seems so bad from the distance. Just as nature makes women forget just how horrendous childbirth is, being emotionally level pulls a veil over the horror of depression and it pulls the feet out from under me. Every single time.
I’ve been going through a dark period recently. My health hasn’t been great, I’ve been worried sick about my mum and had to empty her house. Then there’s Cameron, Osborne, Trump, war, genocide, suicide, refugees, food banks, sexism… I sometimes wonder why we’re not all sitting drooling in a corner, crying and beating our heads against the wall. Perhaps we are. I am practised in hiding my despair from the casual observer and I’m sure there are thousands more like me out there. Even the sound of the ocean pushing pebbles up the beach has done little to lift me of late and that makes me terribly sad.
But I am old hat enough to know that it isn’t permanent and that it will pass. These are the things I tell myself when in the middle of a trough:
I am not worthless or stupid or useless, no matter how much I might believe that to be true today.
I have a future where there will be laughter and fun and happiness, even though these things may be missing from my life right now.
There are people who love and care for me and I am not the burden I believe myself to be.
Not wanting to interact with the world today is OK. I might not want to interact tomorrow, but I will want to do it again.
It’s OK to apologise to those around me when I’m low if my mood affects them, but it’s not OK for me to think I need to apologise for being me.
Above all else, this will pass.
If you are reading this from a similar position to me, I hope it helps you to know you’re not going through it alone. If you are blessed with an even temperament, I hope this helps you to understand the way we see the world from our depressive bubble. I’m not looking for sympathy, just acceptance and understanding.