Depression: It Never Ends Does It?
I am not sleeping well, I’m not eating the way I used to, I can’t shake the feeling that despite all my best efforts things will just never work out; my depression is acting up again and it is kicking my ass. I know what is happening, I can see it clearly happening in front of me and it has already cost me at least one good friend. You might think that being able to see it happening I could do something about it. Usually I can. Often, because of the therapy I’ve had, I can simply beat the negative thoughts back, or ignore them until they pass, or find a distraction to quiet them.
This time it isn’t happening–this time it’s winning. I’m writing this at 5:30 am not because I am just waking up, but because I haven’t slept. Every time I close my eyes the negative thoughts come back louder than before, admonishing me about all the things I didn’t accomplish, bringing up the failures of the past and worries of the future. It robs me of sleep and dignity, it hurts the people care about and myself. I have been off medication for over three years, managing my depression with the skills I learned in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and regular exercise. It isn’t working anymore.
Living in Canada I have the advantage of socialized medicine. I can see my doctor whenever I’d like and even though my family doctor is amazing, and even though she is perhaps the most caring doctor out there, it doesn’t take away from the shame that I feel–in the disease, in having to ask for help. This is ridiculous and I know it. I tell people all the time there is no shame in their illness, in needing help, in asking for it. Why is it always more difficult to take your own advice?
I’m lucky, however, there are a few people in my life that are getting me out of bed so at least that is happening, as well as regular routine engagements, otherwise I’d never leave my house. It is difficult to see online if you follow me on twitter, I wear masks well. Even face to face it would be hard to notice. I’m used being different things for different people that pretending to be happy is easy. The problem is, by putting on these different masks for different people, I often forget my own needs.
This ramble is as much for myself as anyone else. It’s a way to convince myself to go back to my doctor, get the help I need, and get on with life, get back to moving forward. I guess also writing this acknowledges that this will never end, will it? Depression is going to be with me to the bitter end. It’s fighting, it’s hard, and it’s everyday. What makes it so difficult is that depression knows me, intimately. Every regret, every shame, every failure. It knows exactly what to say to hurt me, to keep me demotivated and feeling worthless.
There are some things that depression can’t stop. Simple acts from people who probably don’t know what is happening. When this tweet came in the other day, it may not have seemed like much to Ness or Amelia, but it came at a particularly low point in my day and inspired the article you are now reading. It gave me the push I needed to admit to myself that it was time to get help. Take some time, evaluate yourself, if you need it get some help and don’t let depression shame you into inaction.
Update: Now that this has been published, I have seen my doctor, gotten a prescription for a mild antidepressant, and reconnected with my estranged friend. It will take some time for the prescriptions to take effect, and time to heal the fractures with my friend, but I will have follow up appointments with my doctor and continue to monitor things. I may even update here from time to time with my progress.