Friday, April 6, 2012

Welcome to My Depression

I've mentioned my depression before, quite recently in fact. But I feel like the subject deserves a better post than that.

I have struggled with a chronic, reoccurring, undiagnosed depression for around 12 years now. Since I was about 12, I've dealt with a self-loathing, belittling, and hateful voice in my head that has not stopped trying to undermine me.

This voice is my own, of course. Half the time I am able to ignore it, tell myself I am being ridiculous, and it's obvious that I'm awesome. However, there are times that voice wins the argument.

This past two yeas, as I mentioned in my previous post, have had a few acute stressors that have put a great deal of pressure on my existing coping strategies:
  • I left an abusive home situation
  • I was dumped by the man I truly believed I would marry
  • My thesis has been looming all year with the threat of failure woven throughout it
  • Most recently, my ex moved out and told me that for us to remain friends in the future, we need to not hang out or see/talk to each other for a while.
Depression... it's a scary thing. You don't want to talk to people about it because that makes you a drag, or too high-maintenance, especially if you can't fix it in a timely manner. The longer it goes on, the more you feel like you're just frustrating people. The more you feel the need to hide your sadness from people, because you don't want to burden them with it anymore.

But not talking about it, not reaching out and seeking support from those who care about you, that is what the depression inside you has tricked you into doing. you believe you are a burden, but you are not.

This past year, I isolated myself almost completely. The only person who got to see what was really going on was my ex, because we lived together. And what was going on?

Utter sadness. I could pinpoint reasons - loneliness, heartbreak - but people normally overcome that in time. What happened with me is that my preexisting insecurities, my self-hatred, used these feelings as ammunition against myself, as legitimizing factors for that hatred.

I was lonely? Obviously I deserved to be alone. I was dumped and heartbroken? That's because I am an awful person who doesn't deserve to be loved. Why should I expect anyone else to love me when even I can't?

This is what went through my head everyday upon waking up. How awful a person I was, what all my faults were, how I've made terrible mistakes. I was unreasonably paranoid that people would do things on purpose to exclude or hurt me because I was awful, and I did deserve it, but didn't want it. I would get irrationally angry easily, and was overly defensive. I knew very well how awful I was, I didn't want to hear it from someone else. I developed something like insomnia - I simply couldn't fall asleep until I was at a point where my body just couldn't stay awake anymore. But then I would sleep far longer than reasonable.

Some days I could shut the thoughts up and go to school and work and pretend everything was normal. Some days I couldn't, and I would stay in bed for two or three days, too exhausted from my own emotional beating on myself. I often thought things that I don't wish to repeat, but simply made me more and more ashamed of myself.

I finally got up the courage to talk to my doctor. She confirmed that yes, I definitely have symptoms of chronic depression. My history of self-harm as a teenager and a family history involving suicide attempts simply reinforced the fact that it's basically obvious that it's not in my head, it's in my brain.

Unfortunately, because my drug coverage is through my university health plan, and I am graduating in May (hopefully), my coverage will not last long enough if I begin medication now. I simply can't afford the meds myself, and I can't afford insurance.

I've decided instead, to try B vitamins, and intend to start running, and want to begin meditation and yoga again. I just have to actually do these things, rather than just think about doing them.  I don't expect these measures to cure my depression, but I hope that they can help stabilize it to a point that I can cope without medication, at least until I can afford to consider medication options.

I did not write this to get attention. I wrote this as a form of self-affirmation.

My depression is not something I should feel ashamed of and hide. It's a legitimate health issue, and I am far better off admitting openly that I am struggling and need help and support than hiding in my bed and wishing I could feel better.

I wrote this because I know I am not the only person who has dealt with something like this (if you haven't read Hyperbole & a Half's post about depression, you should). I want to let others in this boat know that we don't have to do it alone - if we all grab a paddle, we can steer ourselves to shore together.

I wrote this to prove to myself that I'm not alone, and that I do deserve to get better, to be happy.

<3
Wooden Bird

2 comments:

  1. Hi Wooden Bird (:

    Found your blog through the pagan group on 20SB. Squizzed through, 'til I got to this post. You speak volumes to me. I've been dealing with depression for about a decade. Only in the past two years has it eaten me up this much though. I also self-inflicted and isolated myself, went through a rough break up, and struggled with studies. To this day I'm still isolated, mostly alone. I am disconnected to everyone I knew before (save, my parents and boyfriend) but I do my best to get out into the world even if it's just a walk among strangers.

    I was reaching out to people before, but have not been for the past 2 years. It's something I'm slowly waking up to; trying to accept my sadness and find ways to deal with it. You are definitely not alone.

    I know it's hard. I am constantly fighting with myself to get out of bed and not over think the things and just go about the motions, but for the most part it gets the better of me. It is getting better though, slowly but surely I spose. Recognition and acceptance is the first step. It'll only get better for us here on out.

    Hope you don't mind me adding you to my blog roll. I've just gotten back into blogging so it's a little empty at my space but it will fill up. Hope you stop by: http://blaqpaint.blogspot.com

    I hope you've been working at those goals. The health trip sounds like a perfect way to go about it. Much love to you.
    Debbie

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    Replies
    1. Hi Debbie! Sorry this is such a delayed reply...
      I'm glad you were able to relate to this post. It's why I wrote it - not as a "look at me" but as a way of reaching out to others.

      I have been doing much better. I'm getting out of the house a lot more - I'm not exercising, though I keep saying I will, but I'm working a bit and trying to be around good, non-toxic people more.

      I hope thigns are looking up for you, as well. This life is all we've got, we may as well fight to make it worthwhile.

      <3

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