My dealings with depression
*sigh* oh depression. Where do I even begin? This post has been sitting in my brain for a while now but actually getting the courage to sit here and write was a tough one. I mean I've had all morning set aside to do some writing on it. But now its 20 mins until I have to get ready and I'm only just starting.
Depression and I have a long standing relationship. There have been waves in the past of it and a deep sadness within me. But it has never been quite like this two year bout that came in slowly and has lingered since. To me, depression feels like a darkness that consumes my entire being. It feels like being squeezed tight or like my head is going to explode because so much is going on. And then suddenly it will feel like nothingness. Emptiness. Numbness. It feels like me not being enough. ever. That belief is deep rooted in my heart. Entrenched in my mind that it can't be anything else but true. "I'm not enough and I never will be". There are days were my emotions are so intense they simply overflow in the form of hot boiling tears because I can't contain them. There were days where I felt really disconnected from my own body. As if I was floating above it and had no real control. Moments where everything is so much, too much that I want nothing more but to disappear. There were days where I would climb into the recording room at work and sit on the floor in the dark because my head was pounding so hard and I couldn't make it stop. Let me tell you, if you have a sound proof recording booth anywhere near you it is the best place to go when you're feeling overwhelmed. I lost majority of my friendships simply because of the way I was acting in this time and I understand that it is likely my fault. And I'm trying to make peace with that too. But damn, I'll be honest and say the lonely feelings are strong sometimes. Naps have become my best friend and when my head is so dark sometimes a nap is the only thing that will make it stop. A lot of the year when Luke and I were getting into our relationship I was experiencing the first grasps of depression. Wrapping itself around me like a snake. Suffocating. Luke didn't know what he was getting himself into. And I feel pretty sorry for him, because for the majority of our relationship so far has been me fighting with my own mind. Trying to survive. I know that sounds dramatic. But truly that is what it feels like. It feels like so much all at once.
I experience my first panic attack in July of 2015. I had no idea what the hell was going on. But I went out to my then friends birthday party after work and they wanted to go clubbing. I was wearing my bright red coat and sat in the corner of a sweaty smelling basement because the lights and noise were all too loud. Luke was there with his then partner. Before we were dating. And he grabbed my arm when I was panicking and then slammed a drink in my hand to try make me feel better. He didn't know what was going on. And the taste of red bull lingered in my mouth. I was pretty quiet for the rest of the night and just followed people around even though deep down I wanted nothing more than to go home. The first time I had a panic attack in front of my family was hectic. It was only last year. And I ran out of the house and sat on the road bawling my eyes out. Mum pulled me back in side and sat me on the sofa where my nana wiped my forehead with a damp towel. I was so embarrassed, because I couldn't control the way I was acting and my little cousins were all there so confused about what was going on.
My mum had been asking me to go on medication for practically half the year, she knew something was wrong and even though she wasn't a hugger she would always rush out to my car and hug me tight when I got there. The depression crept in slowly over a year: July 2015 - August 2016. I was fine, but I wasn't. Until it reached its height in 2016. Luke was away, I had to move out of my flat and find a new one, nan was in and out of hospital and it was all too much. When Luke was back in November 2016, thanksgiving day I went on anti-depressants. It had finally gotten to the point where I needed some help that I just couldn't get. So we went to the doctors and talked to my doctor's husband (because she was sick). He gave me a prescription, I cried. Then we went down to Little Bird and got pumpkin pie because thanksgiving.
In May of 2017 I finally bit the bullet and called a counsellor. I had been to a handful of counsellors in the past. My most recent dabble was about a week before I went on medication. I went to her to ask for advice. Her office was a corridor in what looked like an abandoned office building, she scared me away from counsellors, I never went back to her. I called Amy outside work with Luke holding my hand tight, I didn't like calling people but Amy wanted to talk on the phone. We booked an appointment and she said that she was leaving soon for maternity leave but I should be fine by the time she was about to head off. Fast forward to her taking leave and I was no where near ok, she had told me that I had severe depression and severe anxiety. That was so hard to hear, she was a lovely lady and passed me along to my current counsellor Jo. Who works with me almost every weekend, sifting through the chaos that is in my head. Helping me tackle this thing that is depression.
Depression is like the ocean. A lot of people have this idea that its this steadfast darkness. And in many ways it is, but that doesn't mean I don't experience waves of happiness. Because I do. It is like the ocean in the way that sometimes it can be calm and then next it'll be stormy. Often times I feel a sadness deep within me for a reason I can't explain or articulate. It feels like a heavy darkness on my shoulders and when I get home from work a lot of the time I want nothing more to lie down. Sometimes the heaviness holds me there on the sofa until something drags me back out. Sometimes, like last night it feels like my body is made from iron and I don't have enough strength in me to crawl out of bed, let alone make dinner. So I just lay there with these heavy limbs stuck in my own body until the next day when I have to wake up and go to work again. Its not just this sadness. A big part of it is this hopelessness. Like nothing will ever get better, there is no point in continuing. Its sad really and I see the heart break in Luke and my Mum's eyes. Combine it with anxiety, no self esteem and depression is quite a lot to hack. Particularly because I'm still working in the building that holds so much anxiety and trauma (as silly as that sounds). Its like deep down there are things inside me I don't understand, and through counselling I'm uncovering these old beliefs of mine that aren't necessarily true.
I'm doing much better than I was. My memories of the height of my depression pretty much consist of me sleeping in a dark room. My anxiety got so intense in 2017 that I wouldn't leave the house alone if it wasn't for work, I couldn't order food at a restaurant and I couldn't go into stores by myself. Moving to our new house helped so much to lift the darkness and during christmas 2017 I went into a store all by myself, walked out smiling and didn't even realise until Luke said something.
My dealings with depression are lengthy. I still have panic attacks every week and those low feelings that hold me down to the sofa that I don't really know how to explain. But I also feel like I'm coming out of it. Slowly to be sure, but at least one foot is almost out of the depression door. I truly believe that sharing it (with you, my partner, my family and with my counsellor) has been the biggest help. There is something so powerful about vulnerability, working through things with Jo, nourishing my mind and body, just taking things slow is helping. One day at a time.
There is so much weirdness and taboo around mental health still when it is something so present in our world. A lot of people just silently struggle and because of that, we continue this cycle of feeling so alone, confused and lost. If anything, get help. Reach out and talk to someone. I know it is scary but opening up about it truly feels like a little bit of the weight on your shoulders has lifted.
Nina wrote a post about her experience with depression and something she said truly resonated it me. That healing "might start with realising that you might have been feeling this way for too long and that the first step towards a more self-loving life is knowing that you are worthy of it". So take that with you today. That you are worthy of living a life filled with self-love, peace and happiness. And I'll take that away with me too.
Lots of love xxx