Depression took over my life at the beginning of this year. Many people have a misperception that depression is just a bout of sadness but for me, it has been a completely separate thing to the scale of happiness and unhappiness.
At first I assumed it was misery caused by whatever recent stresses had been going on in my life, then some variant of seasonal affective disorder or a crisis of self-confidence. Then as it continued to worsen, I finally started to face up to that this wasn’t a short spell of feeling bad. It was months and months of continuous sadness, tiredness, malaise, exhaustion and negative thoughts.
People talk about how it is a choice to be unhappy but with depression, I felt like I had no choice but be unhappy.
Working, doing laundry, cooking a healthy meal- the basics of my daily life all became difficult tasks which often led to frustration or tears. Contemplating doing anything which would improve my state of being would invariably lead to countless confidence crises.
To show the state to which depression twists your mind, even thinking about seeking help led to the inevitable thoughts of there is nothing wrong with you and any doctor or counsellor in their right mind will tell you to cop on.
The worst part is the continuous taunts from my mind of what do you have to be depressed about anyway. It’s the funny thing about my depression; it likes to tell me my life is crap and then to invalidate my feelings about my life being crap. It likes to shout ‘you’re being a drama queen’. My depression is a liar.
To be fair, I have many great things in my life which should bring me happiness but they should not be used to invalidate other feelings like sadness, frustration, anger, misery and hatred. In the last few weeks, I have realised that by ignoring those feelings just causes them to get worse. To move on from a bad feeling, it needs to be validated and accepted.
There are many excellent pieces of writing out there which illuminate depression with many well-thought out phrases about how depression is like being down in a deep dark hole and not being able to see a way out. There also is another phrase which says that you have to hit rock bottom before you accept help, and in April, that is what happened.
After not being able to get out of bed for 2 days straight, my boyfriend suggested I talk to my doctor. I credit him with giving me the strength to allow myself to be vulnerable and ask for the help I need.
I am still nowhere near recovered yet but the process has started. The black hole is still there and maybe it will be there for the rest of my life, but I am starting to walk away from it.