This entry returns to a somewhat less warm tone than the previous, in fact it goes considerably darker than either of the previously written blogs, and in all honesty writing this blog is a bit scary. This is because in order to truly convey the subject I have set out to, I need to put myself in a very vunurable position. The focus of this entry is on the fear that is associated with being diagnosed with depression. I briefly picked up on the this feeling of dread and fear in my previous blog, but the comment “it’s scary” doesn’t really do it justice, it deserves so much more than a meagre 2 words to describe. Before I go into this, I want to take a step back from depression. This feeling of fear isn’t something that just lives within people diagnosed depression, I will go into more detail later, but this fear is born within the shadows of the unknown. This is very much true with me, but it means the theme of this blog can be taken out of the context of depression and placed onto people who are diagnosed with any mental health problem, any disability, anyone who is facing loss or anyone who is questioning their sexuality. Any of these life events throw people out of their comfort zone, it forces them to enter a new world, a dark new world full of shadows you need to illuminate, and the fear stems from not knowing how your life is going to be changed by these changes, not knowing who you might become after it and because you had no choice in the fact these changes have occurred. I intend to try and describe this feeling within the context of being diagnosed with depression, but I ask you to take what you read not only as applying to depression, but applying to any life changing event.
Something you should know about me is that I am also dyslexic, dyspraxic and have M.E. so being diagnosed with health problems is somewhat of a hobby of mine (to trivialise it slightly), but when I was diagnosed with these I did what all sensible people do, I went to my mother (she will be so proud of me for saying that) and she explained what each one was like. These three things run in the family, there was never a fear of the unknown, no matter how bad it got I could take comfort in that I knew what was happening and what was likely to happen. This wasn’t the case with my depression, first of all I was diagnosed at university (several hours away from my home) and couldn’t just turn to my mother for advice, but then when I actually got back home and could turn to her for advice, she didn’t have any. She admitted to me that this wasn’t something she knew and asked me I what I thought she needed to do to help, and I couldn’t answer. For one of the first times, I had to work this out on my own. I have previously spoken about the brilliant support network I have, but I’m now in a situation where none of them could help me make the right decision, none of them knew what the best thing to do is, they can only be there to catch me if I made the wrong call.
The idea that I need to take charge and need to make decisions about something I know so little about is terrifying, especially when the cost of making a wrong decision is huge. With M.E. a wrong decision would lead to several days bed rest, but depression is much more severe, without going into much detail, depression has a very large scope to go very, very wrong, I often feel like an internal war is occurring within me. On one side there is the person I want myself to be, someone who is happy, optimistic and hopefully a kind person, someone described as “a healer”, but on the other side is this dark, powerful force labeled as depression. I feel this most days and the person I actually am is whichever opposing force is winning at that time, and my whole character seems to be solely determined by the tide of this internal struggle. Each days a different battle and some nights the good side wins, I go to bed feeling exhausted, but feeling. Then other nights it loses.
The easiest way to explain why each decision can invoke so much fear is this, imagine being presented with several doors and a mans behind you with a gun, he tells you that you need to pick a door, he gives you no indication of whats behind any of them apart from the knowledge that what lies behind the doors vary from bad to awful to possibly fatal. You know doing nothing isn’t possible and that a decision must be made, but you have no were near the information needed to make the decision that avoids the wrong doors.
At the end of the day living with depression feels like living in a different world. Your taken from a world where everything was illuminated and understood, and thrown into one of darkness that you have to light up yourself. Every decision, even small ones such as whether or not to attend a party or to go out to a restraunt seems to hold this same weight. Every choice you are forced into making feels like entering a new room and turning the lights on. You get a better understanding of the situation but the twist is that you can never back track to the room you once came from and must make do with what you have been presented with. At times it feels like gambling, but you have no choice but to be all in and your not betting materials or money, your betting yourself.
I hope this made some strange form of sense, I feel it probably didn’t and may have just been nonsensical ramblings, but whether or not my fear is founded I’m glad I wrote it, and super appreciative to anyone who read this far.