Tag Archives: Health

Depression and the storm

I’ve frequently mentioned in this blog series the feeling of emptiness that comes with depression, or a better phrase is the absence of feeling. However the absence isn’t fully permanent. Think of it like this, imagine a tunnel that runs between the part of you that receives information and the part of your brain that controls your emotional response. Depression collapses the tunnel and blocks the path. This means most of the time your emotions aren’t active, they’re blocked by the tunnel collapse, but every now and again the build up of emotion is enough to knock down the blockage and get through all at once.
When talking to my friends I make reference to a “break down”, “A moment”, “crumbling” or many words to that effect, but rarely elaborate on what it means, when I use one of those words I am referring to the times where this blockade is broken. I know this is probably strange, I spent the first entry in this blog talking about how painful the feeling of emptiness can be, and it is painful, so why would I then complain for the small amounts of time when I get to feel again. The reason is that I don’t return to a state of emotional wellbeing, I am thrown into a storm. It’s not just feeling again, it’s feeling everything all at once. It’s massively overwhelming and this may be hard to understand if you’ve never experienced it, but when they happen, it is one of the most scared I’ve ever been. In addition to this fear, it’s also one of the most destructive sides of depression, when you mix together all of these feelings, they become something very similar to anger.
It’s so hard to describe these moments, I don’t know if I’m good enough with words to capture something that just feels like pure, organic terror. I’ve done research into this, and it is often described as like drowning. It’s just completely overwhelming, its like being surrounded and screamed at and having every thought or feeling or doubt magnified so each one has grown into something huge, large enough to crush you, individually. When this happens to me, theres no other real way to describe how I feel than just completely raw vulnerability.
I spend almost all of the day standing in the eye of the storm, constantly scared that I’m going to fall into it. The main reason I’m so scared of falling into it is not because of how painful the moments inside it can be, but because who else may be struck by it. When forced into such vulnerability, I react with aggression, and I’m not going to blame that solely on depression- it has always been character flaw on my part, but depression seems to have exaggerated it. I live in fear that I’m going to be knocked into the storm while with friends and then lash out against them. A large part of this fear is because of how easy it is to be knocked into the storm. It’s happened every day since I’ve been diagnosed. The force that pushes me does not need to be large. It can be as simple as someone bumping into me and catching me off guard, it can be me seeing my reflection and not liking it, it can be me getting paranoid someone doesn’t like me, frankly it can be anything. This has created a world in which I am scared of hanging out with people as I don’t want them to see this and I definitely don’t want to lash out at them when they don’t deserve it (and they will never deserve it). The combination of all of this is why I haven’t been able to attend any social event I have been invited to since been diagnosed (really big apologies to Izzy whose party is right now, but I couldn’t make it due to my depression being really bad today, Izzy will be getting a nice present when I next see her).
I hope this entry makes sense, it took much longer to write than usual. 3 cups of tea instead of the normal 1. If there is anything anyone wants me to write about, or any questions people have, please comment boor message me. Finally a massive thank you to everyone for reading and being wonderful ūüėÄ

Depression and Fear

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.
Steven ūüôā

What its like living with depression

Hey guys! I intend to star a blog series called “Keep talking about it”, with the intention of talking about the¬†certain aspects of¬†society¬†that really¬†should be spoken about, but for some reason aren’t. The first few are going to be about depression as its a big issue, but for some reason it has fallen into some strange taboo section of society where people don’t wish to talk about it and instead suffer in silence, so the first one is about me being diagnosed with depression and what it is like.

All the information from this blog is in video format as well if you would prefer, comes with¬†visual aids that vary from¬†Leonardo Di Caprio to Pikachu ūüôā¬†¬†(link below, tried to be all clever and imbed it into the blog, but I’m not clever)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hxdOlq-BtGE

A¬†few weeks ago I got diagnosed with possible depression, then it turned into probable depression and Now it’s just plain old middle of the road depression, But the problem was I don’t know how depression effects people. it’s one of those words that is thrown around and used to label people- you know someone is depressed and you know there not well but you don’t know how there not well. So I’m making this to tell how I’m not well, I can’t talk for everyone withe depression as it is a spectrum but I’m hoping telling how it effects me may help some people understand.

When I tell people I have depression, most people¬†expect me to be sad, but that’s not what it is…its emptiness, it feels like someones just walked of with¬†all your¬†feelings and¬†your there like “hey, I was using those”. I know this almost sounds cool, like a robot, like Arnold Schwatsnegger from the terminater movies, but its not. You go through the day and you’r like ice cream- “ok” or it’s Christmas- “ok”, then¬†the bad stuff happens like your dog having to be¬†put down and your emotional response is still just “ok”. There’s no¬†longer a relation between the world and your emotional response.¬†An analogy to describe it is like saying you ran out of oranges and want oranges, but your local orange store is now a pet store. You can go into the store, but no amount of gold fish or kittens is going to fix the problem you don’t have orange, nothing you do in that store has any effect on the fact you no longer have oranges, the same way nothing you do has any effect on the fact¬†all you feel is emptiness, and whats the point of getting up in the morning when your’ll get just as much joy out of lieing in bed that you would by doing anything else

While all this is happening, your constantly confused, you don’t know why this happening to you and you don’t know whats happening, and your minds racing, trying to work it out, trying to understand, and you just can’t. Why can you go through your dog being put down, but when a cold breeze catches you off guard you can’t help but descend into a tearful madness.

Then it gets more confusing, there’ll be people in your life who make it hell for you, people who wont understand, but I’m lucky I have a lot of wonderful friends who have been so helpful (thankyou to them), but the deeper you fall the more you hold on to them and the harder they hold you back. Its wonderful they do it, but you live in fear that from your perspective they are holding you¬†up, but from theirs, your¬† just dragging them down with you. You hate yourself for burdening then but your¬†to scared to let go, they are one of the only things in the world that invoke an emotion in you, and you don’t want to let it go but you want them to.¬†The guilt becomes crushing, and you loathe yourself for being to weak to do what you think is the right thing, and let go. You want it to be like titanic, your stranded in the ocean of mental health problems, there safe on there floating door thing and they promise to never let go, but you hope they do because it will be easier for them.¬†This guilt is the type of thing that plagues you all the time and you can’t shake.

That’s what depressions like, at least that’s what its like for me so far. Its scary, its confusing and you wake up everyday wondering what the purpose of getting out of bed is and in my opinion it is frequently overlooked and underestimated as an ailment. I don’t know how, but I hope sharing my story may help someone either struggling with it, or someone understand what it’s like.