“We cannot change anything until we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses” – Carl Jung
A black slug. That’s what it felt like to me. A fat, bloated black slug wrapped around my chest. Some days it squeezed me until I couldn’t breathe. Other days it allowed me some space to open my eyes and look around. But it was always there. It was consistent in the nature of its existence.
I have friends with deep cuts gouged into their arms by razors. I have friends with scars across their wrists. I used to know someone that ate incessantly just to block out the screaming in their ears. I even knew someone who tried to kill themselves on a fairly regular basis. This is nothing new. If you take a few minutes to look around the world and understand what some people have to experience in their lives you start to understand how this world can be just too much for some people. Sometimes the veil of depression can suffocate you to the point where you can’t actually breathe anymore.
I am no expert. I am suspicious about corporate drug companies that supply legal drugs to control behaviour patterns, to control the internal journey, to control personal spiritual evolution. I am of the opinion that there are options. There are options for children with behavioural problems. There are options that invoke epiphanies and growth without the use of addictive and life threatening legal drugs. There have to be. I have watched friends start a course of Prozac only to see the light in their eyes die to a cold, dead throb. More people die every year from the use and over prescription of legal drugs than from illegal drugs. Remember that I am no expert.
My experience of depression doesn’t deserve space here. It’s a disease. It’s a throttling, heart breaking, untouchable growth that starts in your mind and spreads. Only the individual can understand their own depression and how to characterise it. Only the individual can take their own journey to understand and fully change their depression. But you’ll need help. You’ll need to communicate. We all need to communicate to take the stigma away from depression. I’m not going to talk about my depression here. It’s an ugly piece of my life that I’m glad to have forgotten.
Becoming a Father has made me think to some depth about how it will be should Eve become depressed. You start to think about the questions you will ask, the appropriate communication levels and what help you can offer as a parent. There may be times when she won’t need my help at all but rather the support and guidance of friends who understand her on levels I may not. There may be a time when I or my wife become depressed and she will inevitably be a part of it. I have to be realistic. I have to be honest, open and approachable as a Father and as an individual.
In the depths of a depression there is no perceived answer. There is no solution for you. There is very little point in you being alive. There is something wrapped around your very essence that is making it impossible for you to be the person you want to be. You find yourself crying for no obvious reason and can only answer “I don’t know” when someone asks you what’s wrong. There’s nothing left for you is there?
The only voice you will ever hear when you question yourself is the voice of the poisonous thing wrapping itself around your rib cage. It’s a tape worm for your soul. It’s a black fire in your belly. It’s a pale child whispering in your ear. It’s a looming, scaly, roaring behemoth clawing at your face. It’s a gigantic expanse of grey water lapping at the shores of your unconscious. Whatever you imagine it to be or how you perceive it try to not listen to it. Talk to people, even if you feel there’s no one to turn to. There’s are an abundance of people online, in forums, at your local GP or even in your own home that you just didn’t realise were there and will always be there for you.
Don’t listen to the monsters. Listen to yourself. There’s a big difference.