Depression - how difficult a situation... to be diagnosed with an illness that no one can see.
A disease that centres in the mind, and denies it’s own existence... a silent killer in so many different ways.
My experience of depression has taught me that it will strip me of every facet of my personality, piece by piece. It will attack my self esteem, chip away at my confidence, take my sleep, deplete my energy, steal my appetite and leave me isolated. It will help me tear down the walls from inside my own home and I won’t even be aware that I am doing it. How insidious.
I wonder how difficult is must be for others, friends and family to witness a loved one encased inside their own fears and anxiety - but not actually understand the driving forces behind someone’s ‘apparent’ fall from grace.
I say ‘apparent’ because it’s never too late to arrest the slide, though from my experience I can most certainly relate to the feelings of hopeless resignation when I am sliding down the scale.
‘Just go for a run - you’ll feel better’ - ‘eat something’ - ‘go and have a shower’ ... such well intentioned positive meaning behind suggestions like those, but unless you have experienced the tranquility of solitude of spending 36 hrs asleep - because it is a million times more preferable than dealing with the hollow pit of fear that is chewing your intestines to pieces, how can you be expected to understand?
The same applies to medication.
The amount of times I have sat in a sterile Dr's room. Just as sterile in terms of emotional availability as cleanliness.
The upshot is generally being hurried out of there in record time with a prescription for another set of anti-depressants that are just as likely to choke me as they are to save me. The last set of medication I was given nearly ended my life.
So much for treating the symptoms rather than the cause, those last tablets I was prescribed exacerbated my symptoms let alone got anywhere close to the vicinity of allowing me the space to get to the root cause of the problem.
So if family can’t help and your Doctor can’t help you - who can?
Well; people who can actually relate to what you are going through.
There is an ocean between sympathy and empathy.
In my experience, sympathy is well meaning - empathy is truth.
It’s an affinity, it‘s a tie that binds and it’s an emotion that carries such a depth of weight that when you hear it, you also feel it. It’s a cement that tethers you to the reality - and the reality is... you are not alone and I promise you. You aren’t.
I have learnt a lot, I’ve learnt that depression is best treated by preventative measures but that if I do slide, which I might, I need to be reaching for the hands that can pull me back from the brink... because they know how to.
That is why I am so encouraged by what My Black Dog are doing.
Anyone who has suffered with depression will know that picking up the phone to ask for help seems like the equivalent of walking barefoot across a mile of broken glass... to navigate that minefield only to find misconceptions and misunderstandings at the other end of the line is akin to being given a swift kick to the chin for your troubles.
What about an alternative? What about jumping online and breaking the back of your problem by chatting to someone who actually knows what you are talking about?
What about finding someone who can genuinely relate to you? Someone who had practical advice and experience of finding solutions to your problems, or perceived problems I should say... because my experience has also taught me that nothing is as bad as my mind will have me believe, and it has also taught me that no matter how far I slide, change can come via the flick of a switch, the toss of a coin ... or .... a conversation with a kindred spirit.
Know this, you are never alone.
... and if your mind is telling you otherwise, prove it wrong - get in touch with My Black Dog.