Firstly, I would like to point out that I am not a doctor or a psychiatrist just a woman who has suffered from depression and come out the other end still standing, stronger than ever. I realise that we are all different, with different triggers, and that things that worked for me may not work for you and vice-versa. I definitely wasn’t this enlighten the first time around, it took me 10 years to get to where I am today, and I didn’t do it alone. No one can! If I could go back, I would probably do things differently, which is why I feel it is important to share my experiences with you, as depression is a very lonely business.
Depression is not a failure on the contrary, as I discovered, it is in fact a sign of strength coupled with the unwillingness to give up. It is only now, with hindsight, that I have accepted the fact that I did not fail in life, but rather the circumstances of my life failed me. I have come to accept that I am no longer the person I was twenty years ago and will never be again…
In my twenties, I was in a violent relationship with an alcoholic and sexually harassed at work by a pig of a man I nick named Basil the Toilet Brush. I went on to raise a son on my own, while working full-time and studying in the evening. Nothing ever seemed to get me down!
In my thirties, I lost my Father – a wonderful man – who travelled the world with the eager openness of a child. I lost my home, my job and everything in my life came crumbling down. The simplest things would get me down. Life became a chore and getting out of bed a mammoth task!
February 2003 I wrote in my diary:
Sitting here feeling detached from the world, as if surrounded by cotton wool. I have no motivation, no energy and no appetite for life or food. Imagine for a second being surrounded by cotton wool or even better, being inside one of those spongy tennis balls you played with as a child. Now, take it one-step further and imagine that time, as you know it, has been distorted and slowed down… Now you are bouncing along with no real motivation or energy, feeling detached from the world and everything in it. That is how I’ve been feeling!
Reading over my entry 10 years later feels surreal, rather like reading a stranger’s diary.
In my forties, I have learned to be patient with myself, to listen to my needs, and to take time for myself regardless of what other people want. This probably sounds selfish but giving too much of oneself away is not always a good thing.
Always remember to forget the things that made you sad,
but never forget to remember the things that made you glad.