Depression

“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.

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9 thoughts on “Depression

  1. Depression is one of the most misunderstood illnesses out there and probably one of the most difficult to comprehend to those that have never suffered. Everyone is an individual and as you say it’s about finding what works best for that individual. Depression touches everyone and we really do need to work on banishing the stigma if we are ever going to truly help one another.

    Beautifully written as always and you’ve even taught me a new word – ‘psilocybin’. Thank you!

  2. DustandLove says:

    Excellent comment MP thank you. And a new word? Well that’s certainly an interesting word to learn…

  3. Edward Kendrick says:

    Fabulous post, brilliantly put, dude I hear exactly what you’re saying.

  4. mrsb33 says:

    Beautifully written and devastating in its accuracy. Thank you for your bravery and honesty.

  5. Cas says:

    A beautiful post and one I want to try and respond to in some kind of coherent fashion, though I will undoubtably ramble.

    I have fought – and you are right it is a fight – with the slug of depression on and off since my teens. I fight with it now. In some respects it is an intensely personal battle and one in which no one around can help by actively doing anything. But it also affects everyone around me – I know my friends and family hurt as much as me at times, not being able to do anything. You can’t put a plaster on a mental illness and see it heal. There are no visible signs till, often, it is too late. I cannot agree more that we need to fight the stigma of depression and talk about it openly. The “stiff upper lip” of our parents generation is intensely damaging.

    “I just want you to be happy” is something my mother said a lot when I was younger. For me, bizarely, that I couldn’t live up to her wish to see me happy made me worse, even though I knew logically that was stupid. It took us both a long time to work out the language and mechansisms that worked for US and the help I would accept. A course of CBT was the key to that lock for me. It might not be for others.

    You talk about the spiritual journey and your concern about drugs. I do understand where you are coming from. I am also a great believer in living your personal journey, and trying different options. Currently meditation, not medication, works best for me. I have said time and again that I wouldn’t change a single thing about the life that I have lead because it has made me who I am. That being said, at certain points in my life the help I have needed has been pharmaceutical. I agree it is not a cure all, but anti-depressants – when properly proscribed – have a purpose. They saved my life in that they gave me a breathing space when I needed it the most. Their use fixed a genuine neurochemical fault. The same way the drugs my father uses to stop him having a heart attack fix a genuine problem with his blood chemistry. Not controlling your behaviour. I refuse to feel shame because I needed them, but there *is* a sense of shame. There is a perception that their use is a crutch. That I am not “dealing with things” because I take little white pills (I speak here of generalities and comments I have fielded over the years. I don’t feel shame here!)

    Anti-depressants are not a magic pill which lift you from the pit. They are not a magic wand. Rather they were a torch, which shone just enough light so I could see the ladder and start to pull myself out.

    Now I am older I am better equipped with the tools to cope. I know, now, when to ask for help and what kind of help works for me. Sometimes that is something as simple as a hug and a cup of tea and a space where I feel safe NOT to be “ok” for a little while. Where I can rest. Therapy works, but you have to fully engage with it.

    —–

    And now I will stop my ramble/rant. I love your wish for Eve. I think all you can do is be honest. If it comes up, don’t hide your own struggles. Knowing you have gone before and survived, thrived, might be the key she needs, should she ever have the horrible misfortune to have to tread that particular path. But don’t store up trouble either. She knows she is loved and cherished. That is the most powerful thing a father can ever give his daughter.

    • DustandLove says:

      Wow. Thanks for sharing. It’s a hot topic and the fact you’ve taken the time to read and write such a powerful comment is quite, quite touching.

      I thought I’d comment on the drugs issue as I’ve written about it before. I just believe that there are better drugs and better drugs for you. Read into that as you will.

      “When properly prescribed” says it all really. I would fight hard to argue the case if Eve was to be prescribed Ritalin or a behaviour controlling substance. In the US especially the rate of legal drug use is fairly rife among “difficult children”. There appears to be a cure for everything these days.

      If it helps you then I’m all for it. But if there are other options that can be looked into through research and communication then it’s certainly worth looking into. But as I mentioned I am certainly no expert. We can only make decisions based on personal experiences non?

      This must have been a difficult comment to write. I’m really glad you shared. Honesty and communication are the first steps towards managing your depression.

      Thank you.

  6. Nubian says:

    What an incredibly powerful post. I tried the meds had to beg my Dr. to take me off them. Hated the way I felt. Learning to deal with the demons. Talking. Focusing. Loving. Living. Learning.

    • DustandLove says:

      Thank you for reading and for commenting. I like that you mention “Learning”. Always “Learning.”

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