‘The only thing more exhausting than being depressed is pretending you’re not’
I started the below post twelve months ago. Due to the recent losses in the music world I decided to revisit it. The reason I didn’t post this before is because I was told it could be ‘used against me in the divorce’. Even the fact that I’ve just typed that sentence pisses me off, the fact that I actually accepted that as a given infuriates me. Mental health should not be ‘used against’ anyone unless they are in serious danger of doing harm to themselves or others. It is that above sentence that means we no longer have the talents of Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington.
Depression and I have a long lasting relationship. A relationship that has lasted longer than my marriage, my size 12 figure and my boobs being in the right place without scaffolding.
Not everyone believes that depression truly exists. Some see it as an excuse to be maudling and some think people just need to ‘get a grip’. I’m going to share what my depression and anxiety is like on a daily basis so that hopefully you can understand why ‘getting a grip’ is not always an option.
1. When I wake up my first thought is how can I get through today so that I can be back here again
You spend so much time wishing the day away so that you can get back in your bed to shut out the world that you miss out on life. You forget to live.
2. The voice in your head is a bully
Mine is anyway. It bullies me daily, suggesting worst case scenarios for most situations, scenarios that are so impossible but the voice convinces me that if I’ve thought about it then they definitely will do that. Being alone with her is not pleasant.
3. Time waits for no one
If I have to be somewhere for a certain time and I have panicked about it for days I HAVE to be at that place by that time or I lose the plot a little and fail to concentrate. The only way to rationalise a situation is to plan it meticulously.
4.You avoid social situations
The very thought of being in a room full of people where you may not know many of them is enough to trigger anxiety. I’ve made so many poor excuses in the past to avoid these situations and if I do go, rest assured I have lost sleep over that decision.
5. You have contemplated not being here more than once
Yep, that thought has been there many times. That voice is very good at making you feel like the world would better without you in it. I’ve planned it. I’ve written the notes. I’m still here, I’m still not convinced my life is adding to the world, but I will not burden my children with the fact their mother could not do it.
6. You assume people will look at you differently
Admitting you suffer from depression or anxiety is huge. You assume people will react like you’ve just pissed on their Christmas tree and often that is enough to stop you truly opening up. Add to that the fact that some people are quick to assume you’re just a miserable arse and roll their eyes at any mention of depression, and your chances of sharing your condition with anyone are pretty small.
7. You convince yourself you don’t need help
I should be able to do this on my own. I should be able to snap out of it. What have I got to be depressed about? I have healthy children, food in my belly, a roof over my head. I’m a lucky cow and I have the audacity to be depressed?!
(here is where the original post ended)
I should have posted this twelve months ago. I should have shoved two fingers up at anyone who would try and use this against me to belittle my character. I suffer from depression, and in spite of that I am a high functioning member of society. I have a degree, thirteen years teaching experience and I keep four children happy and healthy every day. I’ve weathered the storm of a divorce, I’ve stayed alive.
As someone who feels very much in control of her black dog these days I am aware that you can help yourself in many ways. For those who are not there yet, you can help them everyday by making sure you do not stigmatise mental health issues, you do not belittle someone or use it to feather your nest. You do not assume they are just miserable or a let down. You try to understand. You really listen to what they are saying. Are they asking for help without really asking? Watch for signs, learn their tells, surround them with love.
The world is a darker place without the sound of Cornell’s beautiful voice, Chester’s powerful vocals and Robin’s ability to make film goers smile.
The world will be a darker place without you.
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