So what I really wanted to write about was Green Cloaks, Empire, my five minutes at Oddessy (the games great btw, by length of stay has no reflection on it) and I probably will down the line in one super review of the year however Robin Williams died and you know band wagon. Well that and i need to write this shit down or get myself fitted for a jacket. Feel free not to read this, also not a cry for help, a request for hugs etc, etc. If i wanted that i’d be on tumblr checking my privilege.
I guess when I read about depressed people killing themselves the first thought is to go straight to my own depression. Its a selfish illness so what can you do.
The problem is that between being told you have catastrophic thinking, the forms you have to fill out, being told how to help yourself, the daily medication routine, your not alone or that there’s always a way to get help. You still have to live in your head and unfortunalty with mental illness that’s where the illness is and no matter how much you share you will always be alone with it for many reasons, not least of which is guilt.
I’m a relatively private person (who blogs publicly about depression, go figure) and its hard to say what is going on in your head a lot of the time. Why you may ask? there are lots of people who care, who will understand. That’s the problem. With depression you get guilt, mind numbing soul crushing guilt. After all its your fault, why cant you just the fuck cheer up? Be a better person? So you get really good at trying to avoid dumping on people. You’ve had all this help from the NHS, courses and counselling what more do you need? The problem is you know people care and you don’t want to hurt them, trust me I have been on both sides of this equation and watching someone self destruct is not fun. Plus once you have done the drugs, the support etc where do you go next? Its your fault, that simple and after all of that help where do you go next?
Imagine doing everything you should do to get something right and you still cant get it, that’s what its like to fail at being happy. Who fails at being happy for fucks sake? Cue the spiral. Your now angry and frustrated with your self for not being able to handle the mental illness you have and have the added joy of feeling selfish because you are letting people down because you cant handle it.
So what do you do? You lock it down, you set goal posts to get you through, you find ways to distract yourself, you do anything to keep that demon caged up. I’ve done the over eating thing, the self harming thing, the be so busy you don’t think thing, maniac project, ‘I just have to get to this day’ goal posts, meditation, medication, counselling, talking therapy, CBT, mindfulness (the best so far), the problem is that with depression every set back is a hammer blow.
Seriously, normal sane people forget to buy something at the shops, its ok you just pop back. Break something, well its annoying but not worth getting upset over. Say something stupid, say sorry move on. With depression however you get to be an irrational twat. Yep forgot something at the shops? End ofthe damned world, like that salt mattered and you cant get anything right and you have let people down……see where this is going? Logically you haven’t and that part of your brain say yep you’re being a dick. The emotional part…not so much, with the added bonus that you get to beat yourself up cause you know your being a dick.
Now of course you have all the self loathing due to salt related issues in the world, the problem is you know that its going to hurt everyone around you. Cause irrational thoughts about salt I get to a point where i do nothing. Why? Well if you do nothing nothing can go wrong, so you don’t disappoint people. Yeah it makes logical sense doesn’t it? Like i said mental illness, if it made sense i wouldn’t need the drugs right. But its pretty paralysing, you cant act because your now trying to work out the right thing to do because whatever happens you know its going to go wrong and once that happens its going to spill out onto the people around you. Whatever thing you do will be wrong. Hell the other day i was worried about making coffee because i thought id get it wrong!
My mum suffers from depression, In fact most of my childhood memories involve her and her depression. The damage it caused to the family, watching her self destruct everyday left me pretty well aquanted with the cost on the people around a depressive. It has an effect, an effect that damages the people closest to the miserable sod.
This is the crux of the matter, everyday is a battle against yourself. The symptoms of the depression are fighting you. The self loathing for no good reason, lack of energy or motivation, the paralysing fear of failure, the constant anxiety, how weird you act (which then leads to more isolation, at my worst i cant leave the house due to my ticks, noises and weirdness, cause when you hate yourself having people laugh helps even more) the worry your going to hurt people around you ’cause you’re are a nightmare to be around, that you are in fact now just getting boring all leads to a point where you start to lose.
Robin Williams lost. His mental immune system couldn’t fight the illness anymore and it won. That i think is probably the analogy i want to make the most. Is it’s an illness. An illness that in many cases is life long and you have to manage the symptoms everyday. Your immune system is based on the positives in your life, good memories, activities you do, and the people around you.
Unlike a most illnesses though depression goes for your immune system everytime. It isolates you from the people you care about because you don’t want to hurt them, It infects your positives by showing only the negative, removing activities because you either don’t have the energy (from fighting it) or just don’t have it in you to bother, slowly but surley it creeps into your mental immune system till you have nothing left. Its easy to see how it then turns terminal. You have seen all the specialists and your still here and you cant fix it. Also unlike most illnesses once you think you are free and clear you aren’t. Cause not only once you are ‘fixed’ you believe it, but when the next bout turns up it hits twice as hard because you thought you were ok now, that the drugs and everything else had worked. once you are onto your forth bout, the energy you need to climb back up is huge and that effort is not easy with an illness that wants you to crawl into a corner and do nothing.
And lets be very clear none of this makes sense outside of the illness. Seriously, its bat shit crazy on so many levels. That’s the problem, mental illness. Its not logical, it subverts common sense and you see what it wants you to see about yourself, others and the world around you. No well minded person would believe this shit,
So is there a way forwards? Not sure to be honest. More doctors appointments, more drugs, more therapies and continuing to fight it. The thing is with depression you see things in a pretty negative light. It is an illness that causes isolation and feds itself like some horrific self replicating super bug to the point where fighting. Once your in that frame of mind, its hard to see outside of it, the cost on the people around you or in fact on yourself as bits of you get broken away.
Personally my depression was caused by working in an environment of day to day violence and work place bullying. People who knew me before can probably very obviously point out the changes in me, the bits broken off. Where before i was pretty outgoing (or at least could fake it 😉 ) now i’m very introverted. Not in a ‘hey i’m not good at parties way’ but in a I live in my own head a lot way, i’m often much colder than I was and as to making friends, its not an easy thing. Partly because I’m tired all the time so talking to people is so bloody hard, but also because guilt at what sort of person I am combined with a lack of faith in people takes a lot for me to open up. Like i said its a bloody isolating, stupid illness. There was a time when I though that it would be fixed, now the deeper understanding is that much like a lot of life long illnesses its something that I need to deal with everyday.
One thing is for certain our society needs treat it like any other illness to avoid more terminal cases.