I haven’t been able to write much lately. Depression has had me by the throat again, but I do miss the connection from blogging.
Yesterday I started another 9-week course at the Recovery College, “Taking Back Control and planning your Own Recovery”. I had to drag myself there, kicking and screaming, because depression makes me very paranoid and all I want to do is hibernate. Sometimes it just feels so difficult to face up to my-own-self.
The idea of recovery feels like a bit of a sticking point. How can I recover from Recurrent Depressive Disorder? That word, “recurrent” feels like a ball and chain. I seem to have been surfing various waves of mental illness for years. I often wonder the point of taking so much medication. Will I ever completely overcome depression?
Sometimes it feels as if the reality of recovery is more about having bouts of temporary relief from chronic depression, but that doesn’t feel acceptable to me. I seem to live with various levels, but there is seldom anything near the notion of happiness or contentment, not for many years. I don’t want to settle for that, so the time to act is well overdue
To be asked, “what’s your beliefs, interests and passions in life?” is an extremely difficult question for me to face up to. There is an incredible amount of shame attached to who/what I became, following my initial mental breakdown 15 years ago.
Lately, I’ve had to swallow a deep rooted and very painful humiliation for allowing life to reach such a low point. To arrive at a stage where I feel a complete waste of space is an extremely tragic position for me to be in. How could I allow myself to sink so far? It is so difficult to admit this to myself, let alone a group of other people. Sometimes I want the ground to swallow me up rather than admit to feeling so empty and useless.
I feel as if I have thrown away too many valuable years. Remembering the things I used to love is almost like looking at someone else’s lifestyle. I often ask myself, ‘Was I ever really that capable? Did I really do those amazing things? Was I really that care free and happy? It feels more like an alien life on another planet.
As each year passed, the isolation grew. Many people tried hard to reach me, but I wouldn’t allow anyone in, not even family. My brain went into meltdown, one by one the switches turned off and the plugs pulled out forever. Not only did I lose interest in the things that gave pleasure, but I slowly lost faith in the beliefs that helped to sustain me.
During the last 2-3 years, I have been trying so hard to climb out of that hole, but it hasn’t been easy. I’m not the same person. It feels as if I need to start life all over again and that prospect terrifies me. When you’re 50, fresh starts don’t feel so easy as they were when I was 20’s and 30’s. I would need to retrain or attend a college and create an entirely new me with a new profession. By then I’d be 54/55 and maybe not as employable as someone younger.
All I can do is to try to accept where I’m at today and work from there. I have a few courses over the summer and my 2 year therapy programme is due to start at the end of this month/start June. It feels like I’m planting a few seeds, maybe even looking to see what new switches can be turned on. It might even mean a complete rewiring of the circuit board, but I think, with the right support and guidance, that’s doable.
St Mary’s Battersea, London