There is a period during the worst episode of depression when I recall very little. They are The Lost Years. It seems to have been a time of reflection and rumination. The main recollection is of spending large amounts of time sitting alone at the kitchen table, thinking…. and thinking… and digging deeper into despair.
Everyone has expectations within relationships, whether it is with partners, friendships or families. We expect to interact in certain ways by phone, social meetings and home visits. If we suddenly stop wanting to be a part of that, it becomes increasingly problematic to answer a phone or hold a general conversation.
Life was on a mission to lose contact with everyone. Friends and family tried calling and emailing, but they never got any answer. Their persistence got so bad that I eventually threw the PC in the bin and disconnected both phones.
Today, it’s difficult to imagine how I could be so cold and nasty. Perhaps a great deal of it was down to being unable to live up to everyone’s expectations. In many ways, that continues to be a problem.
I remember waking one morning feeling completely overwhelmed. It had been a couple of years since the last meeting with Dr Potty, so I decide to make contact.
Dr Potty’s Secretary is talking at me. I’m confused because she seems to have got me completely mixed up with someone else. I give her my name and date of birth again, but she still insists that Dr Potty will not see me, not without a referral from my family Doctor.
“But, I have an open door policy with Dr Potty” I say, exasperated.
“No” she says, “You used to have one, but we haven’t heard from you for over six-years”
That completely blew me away. How could anyone lose touch with reality for so many years? Friends were definitely something of the past and family had given up trying. Even today, there is a huge sense of disbelief.
A common belief with those affected by addiction is that an addict needs to hit rock bottom before they can find the strength and willpower to recover. Without a shadow of doubt, I had reached the bottom.
Once again, I struggled to get along with Dr Potty. He had no interest in reviewing my diagnosis or medication. He was apparently too busy to meet weekly. There were no offers of community support. We were getting nowhere.
I’m sure there were many people who came to believe I was just a troublesome “client” from the Mental Health Team. To this day, I still feel their professional reservations. From my perspective, vehemently complaining with specific demands was all part of a survival plan.