This has been a tough write.
When I decided I wanted to try and describe my depression in a blog post, the problem should have been easily solvable. After all, I’m a writer: that should allow me a measure of ability to describe the feelings I experience, right? I’ve spent a VERY long time attempting to get a handle around the right words. Finally, I think I’m there.
Close your eyes.
Imagine, when you do, shrinking as the world around you grows, and suddenly you are tiny against the place you sit. There is a terrible and inescapable sense of helplessness: everything is so utterly far away you can’t reach, too high to scale or so deep you’d hurt yourself should you fall down. Nobody can hear you. In fact, the only sound is the blood, pounding in your own ears as the fear rises to consume you. You are nothing.
It’s been a while since I’ve had an episode like that but I can remember the last one, horrible bitterness in my mouth, lying on the sofa at 4am while the family slept upstairs, knowing full well that there were people who loved me and were relying on my strength. Understanding your significance to others makes a lot of difference, allowing self-worth an opportunity to be nurtured and grow. However, unless you’ve ever been consumed by your own blackness, I can’t ever make you really understand just how terrible it is. The words might describe the darkness, but they can’t convey the terror and loneliness that actually hurts. Worse than childbirth, or the loss of a loved one, at least for me.
Enough to make you totally and utterly numb.
That’s the real horror, for someone who’s always lived their life in highs and lows. Feeling nothing is just so amazingly, horrendously awful. Not being able to write, unable to express anything and simply just to exist in a grey, dull World. To watch others having an amazing time and simply to sit without any reaction at all. Oddly, there will be those people who’d argue that’s one of the reason why drugs are so important, that the noise and fuss of the world is often too much to bear. I don’t need to have ‘normal’ emotional states, I’ve always lived at the extremes to begin with. I don’t want quiet, I feed on noise and feeling.
I’ve never taken anything for my issues and actually, I’m glad that remains the case.
What writing granted me, back in the dark days after my daughter was born, was a voice I’d forgotten existed. It had been me as mum with my son and pretty much nothing else for several years, all the focus on being a better parent and not worrying about the person I’d been before he and she were born. The balance was all wrong, and being able to exist as a character in a video game who could be what they wished without responsibility was exactly what I needed. Mostly, I could open my eyes and not be as afraid of what happened when the dark feelings came.
Even how it is difficult to describe what went on during that time with confidence. Memories are hard to pin down, only the flashpoints remain, pain and anger when I’d get cross at myself, when I’d overreact, and then try and hide. Then there’d just be the numbness and inability to move out of the same spot, to even leave the house on certain days. That still plagues me from time to time, I’ll be honest, but now it happens very rarely, but there are panic attacks in places I am uncomfortable in. I had one on holiday, as it happens, but with my husband’s help got through it. It still happens.
I just have to learn to cope. Some days are better than others.