Depression, it can appear suddenly for no apparent conscious reason and other times it can engulf us following a catalystic event in our life.
The type of depression which has come and gone from life like the passing seasons, year in and year out, is the one where by it requires no reason, no catalystic event, no invitation – it just arrives, and then stays for while until its time to move on.
I used to become very angry with myself when I felt the grips of depression grasping for me. I would cry, and then be angry with myself for feeling this way for no reason. Yet, there was a reason. In my view, depression is not something which ought to be described as a mental illness. It is one of many complex human emotional states. From my experience, medication has not helped to ‘cure’ this alledged ‘illness’. Because it is not an ‘illness’ as such. Some human beings are innately more sensitive, more highly alert to the worries and anxieties of this life. Depression per se is not a ‘bad’ emotional state – and a lot can come out of these periods if one allows the time for the black cloud to pass.
I used to try and resist the dark feelings. I would fight against myself with anger, self-hate, critical self judgement – which culminated in hurting myself more, both emotionally and physically. Following the birth of my son almost five years ago, I was engulfed by post-natal depression. I had been in a depressed period for about a year prior to my pregnancy – it was only during my pregnancy that the black cloud lifted. I was so content just being during that time. I had no actually worries, no added stress, I just had to be an incubator and relax. I had some severe diva mood swings and tantrums – but I wasn’t ‘down’ – I was my typical fiery self. But following my sons birth I went deep down into the darkness. Life didn’t seem worth it. I began suffering from bulimia about 5 months after the birth of my son. This continued for two/three years. Looking back I feel sad that I attacked my body, a body that had helped grow a very healthy little boy. But I hated it – or maybe I just hated life and took it out on myself.
I self harmed, cutting my arms with razor blades. It somehow released some unknown pressure, watching the blood trickle from cuts. But then I would be filled with even more pain, coupled with guilt and shame. So I would drink to blot out them feelings, and the cycle would continue. I would also shop, in a way that wasn’t helpful or healthy – accumulating ‘stuff’ which I didn’t need and rarely used before bagging it up and giving it to charity.
The bulimia and self harm stopped about 2 years ago. Body image is still sometimes tricky, but i accept my body for what it is, and I no longer wage a war against it. But I still go through periods of depression. Periods where I do not want to interact with the outside world – where it scares the shit out of me, and life itself feels so utterly hopeless and pointless I don’t know why I bother. I don’t get angry at myself anymore when I feel this way. I simply let myself feel exactly what I am feeling, without question – and eventually it always passes. I just don’t get caught up in the dark cloud, I just allow it to hang out until its ready to pass.
It’s okay to feel depressed sometimes, and it certainly isn’t something to be ashamed of. Our society seems to think that going through depressed periods is a ‘bad’ thing – its a ‘mental illness’- sure fire way to make a person feel better…not!! Drop the label. It is a human emotion, just as relevant and important to the human psyche as happiness. It’s part and parcel of what it means to be human.
Life can be hard and it can be fucking rough at times. Not all of us can take it on the chin as well as others. Please do not tell me to ‘keep my chin up’ when I am in a phase of depression – or I may punch you in yours ;) Everything will pass – it will not remain forever. If anyone who has taken the time to read this post and is feeling completely overwhelmed by feelings of depression and darkness – I am not going to tell you it will be ok – but it will pass. Simply allow yourself to be, without judgement or anger – if you wanna sleep all day , do that. Eventually the reason for the depression will have been satisfied and it will pass over.
Lessons can be learned from everything.