I haven’t put pen to paper/fingers to the keyboard to post a blog in a loooooong time; I genuinely haven’t had the time or motivation to share.
Today however my thoughts and feelings and general outlook has altered immensely. My life, my Husband’s life and my children’s lives have been turned inside out and upside down.
Me – I am back on my “happy pills” and have been for the last few months. Yes the need for the antidepressants came back to bite me in a HUGE way. For a long time, maybe longer than I care to admit I had been suffering with depression. Hiding behind the mask, putting on a front and not being honest with myself.
I hit rock bottom earlier this year; I have never been quite so bad. It was as if I had been in a trance. I found myself sitting on a bench looking out to sea, contemplating very morbid, upsetting and sad things. Things that to this day still make me shudder. Depression can make you feel extraordinarily alone, disposable, invisible, weak and broken all at the same time. You can’t simply snap out of it. You can’t just smile and feel the joy. And usually you do not recognise the symptoms until you are at your worst. You are haunted daily by the dread you feel the nanosecond you open your eyes, the enthusiasm you once had becomes so false and so meaningless, but it also becomes a way of life. You live in a constant denial that “you’re fine“, that you’re “just tired“, “nothing is wrong, honestly“…..
Like anything you have to come down, sometimes a long way down before you come back up. I realised I was ill again, but I didn’t know how to deal with it. I didn’t want to say anything to anyone, my Husband, My mum, anyone, for fear of being thought of as an attention-seeker, someone who is overreacting. I carried on, playing the game, keeping my mask securely up, working in auto-pilot. It was exhausting. Get up, get kids to school, avoid those who made me feel invisible, do housework, pick kids up, do dinner, go to bed.
The penny must have dropped with my Husband, he must have realised, because I remember him saying to the me “Please go to the Doctors“. I cannot however, remember much more than that. Everything seems muffled and jumbled up when I look back.
I know I sat in my car on the phone to my Mum in tears, worried that the Doctor would not believe me and wouldn’t help. (He did by the way)
I know I sat in the Doctors room feeling like a little child with no voice. Speaking a language that was complete gibberish. I know I felt immeasurable relief when the Doctor listened, gave me tissues and talked to me, not at me but to me. We talked about what causes depression, coping techniques, how the medication works. He gave me the tool to help me be me again.
Long story cut short; a few months down the line, I am ME once more. The ME I used to like, the ME who enjoys socialising, the ME who likes people and who doesn’t shy away. I am no longer the person who backs away from others, scared to look people in the eye, scared to be in a crowd.
I can very happily say that the dark cloud, the rainstorm, the shadow which clouded my mind and the dread I carried with me have now been replaced with sunshine, love, smiles, laughing and all thanks to some wonderful man-made drugs.
Depression is not a laughing matter. I may refer to my medication as “happy pills”, but they are still medication prescribed to me to help me deal with and live a mental illness. It is a medication which allows/helps me to be live as myself again. A medication which has stopped my children loosing their mum and has stopped my Husband’s marital status being changed to Widower.
Mental illness is a disease. A disease which is very lonely, debilitating, and carries such a stigma, because it is widely misunderstood. I guarantee that there are many many people who live with it, suffer because of it, who receive treatment for it and who hide it, and you wouldn’t even know it.
I am not here writing this for sympathy or to lecture. I use this blog as a tool, as a coping mechanism. If I can help others while I am doing it, that is epic.
If you know someone who is suffering with/living with depression; I implore you just listen if they want to talk, just offer a shoulder to lean on, sometimes just having company and not being on their own will be all they need.
Please don’t lecture. Don’t brush off their feelings. Don’t put words in their mouth.
Offer support and listen.
And to all those amazing people out there who like me deal with/live with/suffer from depression or a mental illness; remember you are absolutely not alone. You are amazing and I send you a hug from behind my computer screen.