Author: Sarah B

If I’d Known Then What I Know Now…

When I first decided to start blogging about my experiences with depression over the summer last year I didn’t know just how many people had already had the exact same idea. There are literally thousands of people blogging about depression. Perhaps more. A Google search for ‘depression blogs’ turns up 85,600,000 results.

When I first noticed this I was a bit disheartened. I questioned whether there was any point in continuing to document my struggles when so many other people had put the same stories out there already. I was concerned that it would be difficult to find an audience for my writing with such a massive audience of already established ‘competition’.

This lasted for about an hour and half. Until I realised what a wonderful thing it was that there is such a proliferation of information, commentary, and writing about depression. You see, I’ve had depression for nearly twenty years now, and yet for about half that time I had no idea that there was a thing. I’d obviously familiar with the idea of being depressed, in the way that everybody is occasionally, but I had absolutely no idea that depression was the name of an illness as well.

Even when I did become aware of it took me about five years to really make to the connection between that and what I had.

Which seems completely ridiculous now.

It’s not normal for a person to spend days and weeks on end being unable to get out of bed, as I did at university. To lose all enthusiasm for working, or socialising, or even living. To spend months alternating between crying any time you’re alone, including alone on crowded buses, because your soul hurts so much that it feels like you’re dying, and feeling absolutely nothing at all, just pure unpunctuated emptiness. To be texting a suicide help line upwards of a dozen times a day because you just don’t feel like you’re coping with living.

Of course there had to be something wrong with me.

But when I mentioned that I thought I might have depression to my boyfriend he said that he didn’t believe it was really a thing. My housemates told me that I wasn’t depressed I just hated my life. And my GP just told me that the pill just makes some women really emotional and I perhaps should consider not taking it any more.

And I’d been this way for so long that I didn’t really have all that much to compare it to, so I thought maybe it was just me. Maybe I was just lazy, and anti-social, and unmotivated.

Except that in one of the much rarer periods when my brain felt clearer I’d worked hard enough to get a clean sweep of full marks in exams I’d only had two months to study for because of physical health problems. I’d taken off to five different continents on a whim because I’d got ideas in my head that I should go off and have some adventures. And while they may have been only brief I knew there had been periods when I’d been quite the social butterfly.

But I muddled on, all the while secretly nursing the hope that I might get lucky and die young.

The depression did lift for while, the year after I started working, but the cloud soon came back again.

Fast forward five years. The boyfriend and the housemates were long gone. A friend decides to sit me down and explain that I’m hard work, difficult to get to know and hardly ever happy. She thought that I should go and see somebody about it.

So I rang the employee assistance line counselling thing they were always advertising at work. Because it was free, and being over the phone it meant I didn’t have to look at the person I was talking to.

The lady on the other end was very matter of fact about telling me that I had major depressive disorder, amongst other things, and that she thought that this has started when I was about eight years old. She told me to make an appointment with my doctor as soon as possible and get them to sort me out some medication and some therapy.

So that’s what I did. The therapy was completely useless, but the medication has been nothing short of a miracle. I’m not ‘cured’ by any means but my quality of life is now immeasurably better. And the relief of knowing that there’s something wrong with me, rather then me being the thing that was wrong, is indescribable. 

Now if only blogging had been a thing when I was fifteen, and I’d learned about depression sooner, how different things could have been.

It’s a manic world.

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  1. Ali

    you may not rid of depression but you can redirect it to your happiness and peace of mind. Think busy and redirect

    Reply

  2. makeupandmirtazapine

    Reblogged this on Make-Up and Mirtazapine and commented:
    And if you hadn’t heard enough from already this week, here’s a post that I wrote for a new blog called A Manic World.
    It’s a collection of great writers, and now me, talking about their experiences with depression and other such craziness.
    You should go check it out.

    Reply

  3. theglitteringdarkbird

    I think you’re right. Lots of people are blogging about depression (and everything else!), but each person has a unique story to tell. Part of the value is in the writing, for the writer, and the rest – the thing I appreciate most – is when somebody leaves a comment and says, ‘you know what, it’s like that for me too’. Making the connection between all of the information out there and what is happening to you, as a real person, is hard – but I think the internet actually makes it much easier to make that connection than it would be otherwise. On which note – I really enjoy reading your writing 🙂

    Reply

  4. skavop

    I found medication very helpful too, as it gave me time to calm down and get my head together a bit, as well as getting a bit of quality sleep (my depression is mostly about anxiety). I was a bit surprised at other people’s negative reaction to my being on medication, however, and regularly got called a drug addict by people I would normally consider close friends. I’m managing my depression without the drugs now, but they got me through the rough times, and I would have stayed on them if I felt I had needed to. Glad you are feeling OK.

    Reply

  5. jatwood4

    I have had major depressive disorder since I was 14 and diagnosed with diabetes. I saw countless counselors over the years, and I finally decided that I had had enough of “So, how are we feeling today.” The solution that worked for me: I found a local psychologist, someone who had the education and experience to lead me into a method of therapy that worked for me. When she left private practice, I found another psychologist. These two people have been invaluable as I walked that tightrope between coping and not. Consider this, please. I wish you the best of luck, and congratulations on becoming a contributing author on A Manic World.

    Reply

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