“How was your Christmas/did you get anything nice?” – depressed, I got depressed. I crashed and burned big time! The past few months have been pretty much hell, in a word. Looking back, I realize I was struggling well before I had a meltdown but stupidly, or perhaps more naively, I thought I would just get over it, that I was just a bit down rather than it being my depression. It slowly crept up on me in a way that I didn’t notice until I was well and truly caught up in its web. The sneaky demon!
I had insomnia for weeks so I had far too much time on my hands to overthink things. I actually felt like I was losing my mind. There’s nothing like being stuck awake in the early hours for giving in to the voices of depression into your head. The last thing I needed was more time in my own head. The voices that tell you everyone hates you, that you’re just a burden and people would be better off without you. The thoughts that weave their way into your psyche in a spider-like way, spinning their webs and trapping you in a cycle of self-hatred,doubt and angst. It wasn’t until after I had a meltdown and got help that I realized how vulnerable I was. During the course of the conversation with the doctor when I eventually asked for help at the end of November, he naturally asked me if I was suicidal which is not as straightforward a question as it may seem.
I read something on social media which I’m afraid I don’t know who or where the quote is from but I found it to be spot on. It said something like being suicidal means that you live in a body that fights to survive with a mind that just wants to die. Most people think that if you’re suicidal that you just want to die when actually you just want it to stop, the thoughts, the despair, the pain. It’s not attention seeking, but a cry for help. I didn’t want to die, I just wanted it to stop. Unfortunately with mental illnesses/disorders like depression the two can get confused. Death is final, but sometimes when the mind is so troubled, the soul so beaten down, it can feel like the only way out, the only release. Suicidal thoughts are not always the same as wanting to die but no less dangerous to someone who is at rock-bottom.
This next sentence may seem strange, but having a meltdown probably saved me. It took that for me to get help and luckily for me I got a really good doctor. Anyone who lives in the UK knows that the NHS, while far from perfect, is essential to people who need it. Not only did I get in the same morning (a minor miracle) but the doctor really listened, he did everything he could with the time and resources available. I’m now on a new combination of medication which has let me sleep,or more accurately knocked me out, so I don’t feel like I’m losing my mind. He’s also been monitoring my progress and referred me to a counselling service which unfortunately has a 12-14 week waiting list. However, I’ve been bumped up the list which I am pretty certain is down to my doctor as it happened after a follow-up appointment, coincidence? I’m getting my head “shrinked” this week, fingers crossed.
This time has been one of the worst since my teens. My mother admitted to me that it did scare her. It scared me! I went from being over emotional to dead inside. I felt absolutely nothing, just a dull heaviness inside of me. I felt like I’d lost myself. I couldn’t make jokes or sarcastic comments, I wasn’t being an arsehole with certain friends where we have a banter one-upmanship, I couldn’t focus on anything and had lost interest in most things. The most disconcerting thing was the paranoia. I’ve never had it so bad. I was second guessing not only myself but people I and know and love. I could only get around it by trusting the people I know and their character and trying as hard as I could to ignore the voices and anxiety. It was becoming exhausting.
It’s been a few months now and the medication has kicked in. I’m due back at work soon and hopefully getting the counselling treatment soon as well. It’s been hit and miss in the past but I can only give it a try and see what happens. I’m aware that I’m not fully recovered and it will take some weeks if not months yet, but I honestly feel like the worst is over and there are signs of the old me returning. Hopefully this year will only get better and I can put the end of last year behind me. One thing I do know is that going through a bad time like this has really shown me who I can depend on and that despite what the illness was making me believe I do have people that care for me and want me around. Maybe I’m not so bad after all.