Depression is a killer. Depression tortures countless victims by the second on a daily basis. It sucks the joy out of everything good, and it feeds on misery and self-loathing. It is a silent killer. A disease that likes to stay undetected.
During your lifetime you will either suffer from depression or encounter somebody who is depressed, but believe me when I tell you this I hope you are never the one who falls victim to it. I would not wish depression upon my worst enemy.
I have previously written a few posts about my own experiences with depression, and although I would rather keep my struggle private I simply cannot justify doing so. It takes everything within me to get personal, but I have a duty to share my journey. I want to shed a bit of light (on this awful monster) to the family and friends that also suffer seeing a loved one plagued with depression.
My husband is my biggest cheerleader, and he has stood by my side during the dark times and has certainly celebrated with me on the mountain tops too. I have opened up to him in ways I could never share with anybody else, and for that I am truly thankful. I know there has been countless time though when he has not had a clue what was going on, times he desperately wanted to help but couldn’t, times when he probably felt rejected, times when he thought I possibly didn’t care, and times when I took my frustration out on him. Yet he is still here. I feel I owe it to him, and to all of the partners and family members like him out there, to explain the reality of depression.
Don’t get me wrong, I am scared as hell writing this post, my life made public, but I cannot keep my story secret. I want it to help other people. I need it to help other people. Even just one person. Life matters. Life is worth living, even on days when you wish to breathe your last. There is hope, there is always, always hope. I hope this post helps you, whoever you are.
I am not even sure how to set out this post; bullet points? A letter? A list?
I am going to choose a letter, a letter to my own husband, a letter you can share with your own partners, sisters, mothers, children, colleagues. An insight into the chaotic and irrational thought processes that accompany depression.
I love you dearly, more than anything in this whole world, I think you already know this. I know you love me too, I just forget sometimes. Depression clouds my mind, it fills me with horrid thoughts about how unlovable I am, and how worthless I am. Sometimes I believe you, sometimes I believe depression.
I know you prefer the good days when I am happy and not anxious or snappy, and I wish I could have these days everyday, but I can’t. I feel the cloud approaching, and it petrifies me. Sometimes I tell you, and sometimes I don’t. Please if you notice the cloud before I tell you just hug me tight and tell me we will fight the cloud together. Please don’t ask me if I am OK, my automatic answer will be yes when in reality it is a big NO. Depression makes you feel ashamed you see.
I know sometimes I overreact to the smallest thing and get angry, but please be patient with me. Forgetting the bread will not be the real reason, feeling like I am losing control over my mind will be the reason. Depression is very clever you see – it builds up a wall of anger piece by piece, and you never notice it until it’s so big it begins to topple over. I am sorry you get the brunt of my anger on cloudy days. Please forgive me. Please. Just tell me you love me and leave me to calm down.
I know it is hard to help somebody through depression if you have never experienced it yourself. I understand. I totally get it. Just love me through it, listen to me, ask about the cloudy days. I can’t just bring it up in conversation. Depression clouds your mind. I need you to break the silence.
There will be lots of times when I feel like you would be better off without me, that my children deserve a better momma. Sometimes I will tell you. Most of the time I will not. Sometimes I can go for months without those thoughts crossing my mind, and other times I think about them every second of every day for weeks. That is the scary truth. It’s the first thought that runs through my head a lot. Depression is vile, a vile nasty monster. Please always keep an eye on me, but also know that no matter how many times you tell me I am worth it I probably won’t believe it on cloudy days – but please never stop telling me. Ever.
I love our children more than anything, but sometimes I feel like a failure. I feel like a rubbish momma. My mind nags me and tells me other mommas do things better, and love better than me. I feel like I always fall short. Please tell me I love them enough. I find it so hard being a momma on cloudy days, but I try so hard to not let them notice the clouds. I hope you know I try.
I haven’t self harmed since February 2010, but the urge often consumes me. When the black cloud is here it consumes my mind. I fight it so hard, I fight for myself, my children, and for you. I know it’s hard to understand why I crave it, I can’t explain it myself if I am totally honest. It’s like an old addiction that comes to hurt me when it smells the dark cloud. One day I hope it won’t ever cross my mind again.
I know I am a nightmare not letting you cuddle me when I am upset, or feeling bombarded by the darkness, but cuddle me anyway, I need it. I pretend to be strong, but you know I am not. Cuddle me again.
I know I don’t talk about these black clouds often, but I want to. I hate the silence it forces me to keep. There is a certain freedom when it comes to talking openly about the monster. Help me find that freedom.
I know sometimes I tell you I don’t want to leave the house. I know you can’t understand but thank you for being understanding. The black cloud blinds my view. It makes simple tasks scary. It invites its friend Mr Anxiety over, and makes my everyday life a worrying place. It makes my heart pound and throat dry. It makes me feel crazy. It’s like the front door has this invisible forcefield around it. Please know I try. I really do try.
Depression makes me feel tired, exhausted tired. Sometimes the fatigue is so bad I just want to cry. Every bone hurts. This sounds crazy I know, but that’s the reality of it. On tired days please know it’s the monster, not just me feeling tired.
Often I cry, mainly in private. I don’t like letting people see me in a vulnerable state. If I look like I’ve cried just hug me and tell me things will be OK. Don’t ask me the reason, depression is the reason.
Sometimes the clouds take away everything good. Sometimes I don’t want to wash my hair. Bizarre I know, but I know my fellow sufferers will understand the lack of motivation that often consumes us. Tell me to wash my hair!
Sometimes I lay awake at night and worry about things that won’t even happen, squeeze my hand tight if you’re awake too.
Sometimes it takes every bit of motivation to even get up in the morning, but I never let you in on this. A new day often scares me. I wonder will I cope? Will the sky be blue or black? Is the weather nice? The weather really effects my feelings and I do not know why! Every single morning is hard, but seeing you makes it easier.
I want to publicly thank you for loving me and supporting me. You are the best.
Yours forever x
There! I wrote it. I hope this helps someone out there, it’s helped me. There is freedom in the truth.