Content warning: frank discussion of symptoms of depression, including involuntary thoughts and suicidal ideation.
My depression is worse than I’m used to it being and that’s eaten a few planned blog posts. Some of them are sitting half finished in drafts, others are still inside my head struggling to be born into words.
I know that if I don’t post here somewhat regularly, I’ll end up not posting at all – and i don’t want that. I love blogging and I love the way it helps me feel connected to so many other people. I want to keep doing this.
Here’s a blog post looking my depression right in the face and describing it. I’ll tell you what it’s like and what it does and then I’ll press “Publish Post” and I will not just have a finished blog post, I’ll have stuck two metaphorical fingers up at the illness that wants me to stop blogging.
Depression for me is when my involuntary thoughts become more than just a murmur in the back of my head and become so loud that I can and do confuse them for my own thoughts. I have involuntary thoughts of suicide, of death, of harming myself and of destroying things – pretty much all the time. Most people get those from time to time and it doesn’t mean they actually want to do any of those things. When my depression gets bad, those thoughts seem to occupy so much of my mind that there doesn’t seem to be room left for normal thoughts about “What’s for dinner?” nevermind room for rebuttals like “Actually, I quite like myself and my life thanks” or “No, punching myself in the face will not help”.
And my depression is greedy – it feeds off things happening in my life like benefits claims and being far away from my siblings and makes them about how rubbish I am as a person. It feeds off my anxieties and insecurities. It plays tag with my eating disorder, PTSD and my chronic illness by giving me thoughts of things that trigger me, by exhausting me further, by telling me I am weak for being in so much pain. My depression hates me and it wants me to hate me too. It is the ultimate bully but unlike real bullies this one knows me almost as well as I do and goes home when I go home.
My depression knows all my secrets and wants me to be ashamed of them. My depression knows I can’t fight it on my own but tells me my friends are better off without me. My depression knows I miss my siblings but tells me nothing in my life could interest them because all i do all day is be ill and try to survive and how boring and pathetic is that? I pick up the phone and put it down again. I open and close the facebook chat box again and again.
If it were just the thoughts, maybe I could cope. For a long while, I did. But the thoughts bring up emotions and memories, cruel words that were spoken years ago to a very different, very scared little boy. Those emotions take their toll and they spill out of my eyes as tears and course through my limbs as pain. When I’m talking to people, those emotions blend with what they’re saying to me and my depression suggests things for me to say. It’s fond of “Fuck off!” and “Leave me alone!” and “You don’t love me” and I take a deep breath and say what I want to say instead. Then my depression tells me I’m awful for even thinking of saying such hurtful things to my friends. How ungrateful. How selfish. Or tells me I’m manipulative for not saying “what I really think”. I think my depression is the one who’s being manipulative here.
I struggle. Because the problems my depression is feeding off are real: I am ill, I am distant from my siblings, I am applying for disability benefits, I am signed off my course… But the solutions it offers me – run away, hide, die, shout and scream, give up, cry until I sleep, eat, stop eating, beat myself up – those won’t help me.
I’m getting the help and support I need. I sought advice about all the problems and I’m going to fix them, one by one. I will live through this version of hell my head has made for me, just like I lived through the ones I’ve had before. Gender dysphoria couldn’t beat me, PTSD hasn’t beat me, panic attacks didn’t beat me. Depression isn’t going to either.
More than that, I’m going to be amazing. Because I don’t hate myself, not always, not really. Because I’m a wonderful person and nothing could ever make me deserve to be mentally ill but here I am and I will make the best of it.
Watch out world, because depressed or not I am here and I’m not fucking going anywhere. I’m staying and one way or another I’m going to make the world a better place. Just you watch.
And i know my old friend depression will come along for the ride but that’s never going to stop me.