‘There’s always someone worse off’, yes there is. ‘Give yourself a kick up the arse’, yes done that. ‘You’ve nothing to be depressed about’ – if only it worked like that.
What i’ve found is that depression is an illness that doesn’t pick its times of effect by following a well considered thought process. If it did, then it wouldn’t exist. What it does do is land as an empty, hollow, worthless feeling sitting in your heart and mind when you least want it. Like you’d ever want it…but you know what I mean.
I’ve spent 3 years always trying to keep my bum out of the jaws of the black dog of depression as it chases after me. When it bites it spreads a cloud of desperation. Utter loss of self worth and desperate feelings that, some mornings, you wake with a dread of facing another day.
Depression scares me. I’m more scared of depression than I am of spiders, and that’s going some. At times over the last couple of weeks i’ve felt, for no reason I can exactly pin down (i.e. there’s no one single cause) that I am worthless to the extent that the world would be better without me. That’s when the dog bites. The running away from it is tiring, a constant effort and motivated as much by fear as it is by a love of my family, kids, job and the times when i’m not being bitten.
I wish it was as simple as ‘i’m depressed, and here’s the reason’. If it was then, well, all that well meaning CBT bollocks I know so well would equip me to replace the automatic thought with a controlled one and, abracadabra there’d be no empty, horrible feeling. I do know it’s a combination of things that weigh me down, slowing my escape from the black dog. Carrying bags and bags and bags – a bag called Isaac’s house adaptations, a bag called Isaac’s – at times bobbins – SEND system support, a bag called work, it goes on. I’m not egotistical enough to think that we don’t ALL carry loads of bags. But I suppose the fact that the black dog of depression has bitten me hard before makes me push and push and push and not admit when it’s all getting too much.
There’s nothing good about depression. It’s beyond crap and life affecting. I’m lucky that the last couple of weeks a couple of friends have reached out and allowed me to unload some of the crap from the bags – even if it just meant unloading it and then picking it up again, the relief from the temporary change of putting it aside was massive.
Weirdly, having been fed resilience theory (and facilitating training it!), I know what emotional intelligence and self talk are. Can I apply them to myself? If I could then I wouldn’t have spent time feeling utterly empty over the last fortnight.
One thing that I do understand about depression is that if you’ve never experienced it’s brilliant sense of timing and crushing debilitation then you’ll believe the media. ‘Blue Monday’ was last Monday ; the day when the whole country was apparently at most risk of feeling blue….does the media say ‘it’s blue Monday and here’s a few things you can do to help other people who may be feeling horrible today if you’re feeling ok’? No, it’s almost a ‘if they’re feeling down today then it’s only because it’s after Christmas and January’. Unhelpful to the extent of making people who feel terrible with depression shut down further.
Anyhow, my bum is back out of the black dog’s jaws at the moment, and i’m running (well, as best I can with a torn knee cartilage which will at least grant me an hours sleep under general anaesthetic in the next month or so). I’m terrified of it biting, but hopefully I can build enough distance between me and the jaws I’ll ride the setbacks easier.