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Archive for the ‘Depression’ Category

One of the things that has changed my life the most is that I have learned to let go. But it is a lesson I started learning a long time ago. And possibly the most difficult thing we can learn.

When I was much younger, I was so full of rage and hate. Mostly directed at myself. Most of my childhood and youth was spent feeling terribly lonely and worthless. I really had nothing positive to cling to. So, I guess I clung to the hate and the pain. Every slight event took on huge proportions. Needlessly.

On the flipside, every kindness, every smile was taken to be a sign that someone loved me deeply. you can cue James Blunt’s “You’re Beautiful” here. While I really don’t like the song, I know exactly what he means.

I cannot exactly say why it changed. Hell, I can’t remember when it started to change. But there is one event that marked it quite clearly. I was still living with my mum, in my early to mid twenties. It was a beautiful summer’s day and I walked down to the bank to take out some money to pay her for board. It must have been about $120. Foolishly, the money was just folded up and put in my pocket.

I must’ve had my hand in the pocket and taken it out because all of a sudden the money started blowing down the street. Chasing after it, I was really amazed that other people were helping, but we weren’t quick enough to get it all. I must’ve lost just over half of it. I got home and calmly said to Mum “Oh, sorry, I’ve got to go back down and get some more money. I just lost most of it in the street”. She was flabbergasted. It was so unlike me. The me she knew at the time would have been raging. I think something just clicked in me, realising that there really was nothing I could do about it.

For many years, I still reacted badly to events in my life. Still had the rage. Maybe it was growing up (finally) or maybe it was some of the things I had to face. But things started to take on a different perspective. Starting on anti-depressants was probably a fairly big part of it too.

The next major thing was when I was told I had some brain tumours. The old me might have been apoplectic, but the new emergent me understood that, again, there was nothing I could do, and that I didn’t even know what if anything was wrong. I could only wait, and look at it analytically.

But these last few years of having my online life have been another big step. The chances I have had to reach out to others, to share my experiences, to share theirs. Real contact.

In fact, just the last year has been fairly major. I have written previously of a young friend I had been helping. Not long after I started trying to give her hope, she tweeted that she was going to end it all. I was beside myself. What can I do?  She is just so damned far away! Did I do enough to help? What did I do wrong??  Well, it turned out that she was (thankfully) unsuccessful in her attempt. But more recently we discussed this issue and whether I would be disappointed if she took her life. I advised that I would never be disappointed. That I would miss her terribly, but I have to believe that I can only do what I can, and she has to make her decisions in life. And when another tweet came suggesting serious self harm, I was sad, but knew that (to put it bluntly) it is not my problem.

A course I was recently sent on by work put words to it. Detached empathy. To understand people. To feel (a shadow of)  their pain, to reach out. But over all of that, to respect them enough to know they can make their own decisions. That you are not responsible for them.

And it was this last that helped the final piece of the puzzle slot into place.  To finally understand that I can only do what I believe is right. To know with absolute certainty that I am a good person, making the best decisions I can, helping people as far as I can. And whatever anyone else decides…well, that is their call.

When my Mum died a while back, I actually felt no sorrow. I knew she was where she wanted to be. And with her death, some of the truths of what I have always known hit home.  We hold onto things because we cannot handle the idea that we are not in control. That our actions have to mean something, or that we have certain expectations that must be fulfilled.

Grief, after all, is a selfish feeling. I don’t mean that in a bad way. Just that it is all about us, not them. We don’t feel grief that someone has died or left, we feel grief that we have lost them.

I’d like to leave you with this video. There are other versions of this song. Like John Barrowman’s dedication to past pets. But, being a Buffy fan, and because I adored Tara, this is the one for me. I warn you – you will cry. [edited to make the video embed properly)

Today, the me I am now, just feels SO good.

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In my previous post I talked about a young French woman who I am helping through some tough times. Here is her story, in her words.

To everyone who is reading this little article. Forgive me for my English, I am French. You have already heard about me, I am Cece (Cecile). Let me tell you the whole story that is bringing me down since now two years.

I became friend with a girl, like really friend, who has learnt that her father was very sick and I’ve been there for her along the way to his death. I was kind of in love with her and I didn’t see how she was treated me. I was doing everything for her, just like a best friend would do, but it seems like I was her but I wasn’t hers.  She was yelling at me for no reasons and I thought it was because of her father’s illness. Maybe I was wrong or right, I don’t know. It’s confused in my mind at this moment, all these awful memories… We had kind of a final exam and she told me that she had a boyfriend who was a drug addict and that is why she has not succeeded her exams and because that she has lost her father in April. I agree it is hard to lose your dad but… lying about your boyfriend and attacking your best friend? She told me he was at the funeral but I was looking at her straight in the eyes and I’m sure he wasn’t there. I’ve never seen any pictures of him, he was supposed to be at her home but I’ve never seen him. She told me she has been pregnant twice, that she was his fiancée, but I’ve the feeling that… Nothing was true and I had enough of all of this.

That day of October 2012, I talked to her. Well, I talked to “her boyfriend” by messages on her phone number but I’m sure I was actually talking to her because I’m convinced he doesn’t exist. I said that she was awful with me and I’ve never had thanks for what I’ve done for her. She offended me of every bird’s name… She’s putting everyone on my back. No one is talking to me now at school… I’m falling every single day into the darkness.

Since four months I am falling and I’m still waiting someone to hold me through this. She’s bullying me, hurting me very hard and I told a teacher but no one believes me. I am feeling really bad, I am thinking of taking my life, I’ve been cutting myself a lot but I don’t feel pain from that. The only friends I have are on internet and I’m hurting them with my stupid behavior. I can’t help it. My nightmares are awful and I don’t want to talk to my parents about that, they have too much trouble. I’m afraid of seeing a therapist, because I think that I want to go through this on my own, kind of a fight with the monsters which are inside me.

A nice guy just asked me if I was okay, I told him yes. I lied, as usual. See why I am falling? I need someone to look at me in the eyes and take me into his/her arms and tell me I’m lying.

I just don’t know where am I now. I try to move on but I’m asking myself so many questions. What have I done? Was it my fault? Am I really guilty? Am I a good person? Should I have stayed? I’m in pain because I’m lost. I don’t know what I am doing here. Sometimes I wish I wasn’t born and then, I found out why I’m living, to help people who are going through tough days such as mine. I’m here because there are people who love me even if I don’t see them, even if I don’t feel their love because I’m hurt. I’m still on earth because I would cause the same pain to others. And I don’t want this to happen. I’m hurting people but they’re happy that I’m still here.

I don’t feel strong but there’s a quote from I don’t know who that is making me think the opposite:

“The people who are strong are the ones who wake up with a smile and fall asleep in tears.”

To whoever is in my situation, don’t give up. As Matthew Morrison (Will Schuester from Glee) said:

“Life gets better”

Don’t ever give up because you will please the ones who are bullying you. Keep living is proving them that they’re not strong enough to bring you down to death. Keep smiling through the days and don’t forget that one day you will be greater than ever, greater than them because in life, I’ve noticed it, the ones who are at the top of the world or famous, have been bullied but they kept fighting for a better life.

Nowadays, there is a famous actor, you might know him for his roles as Tony Stark or Sherlock Holmes. Robert Downey Jr kept fighting against his addictions to drugs. He wanted to taste the metal of the gun but he went through it. You know what he is saying after being ten years all clean?

“Listen, smile, agree and then do whatever the fuck you are gonna do anyway”

It doesn’t matter how you look what you feel, you have to keep in your mind that you are loved, some people care for you. I do. We all do. Yes, I am hurt, I want to leave this world but it doesn’t mean I don’t have those things in my mind. I am strong even if I don’t feel like I am. It’s something you don’t feel, but something people see in you and tell you.

I think I’m done here. If you need to talk, feel free to contact me on Twitter: @dreamsbydays

Musics:

Don’t Give Up The Fight – Revive
Gotta Be Somebody – Nickelback
If Today Was Your Last Day – Nickelback
Lost! – Coldplay
Fix You – Coldplay

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x1ii8_coldplay-fix-you_music

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Most of you know that I am somewhat prolific on Twitter. For some time now, I have followed an American girl who runs an account called @AgainstSuicide. I have found the work of this young teen just so inspiring. in less than 18 months she acquired more than 100,000 followers. An amazing testament to her, and an appalling indictment on the state of society and its treatment of young people.

One tweet in particular popped up and drew my attention. It was from a 17 year old French girl. And my heart just broke for her because I could read in every single word she wrote the terrible feelings I had when I was at school.

I always struggle with this. A 46 year old engaging with teenagers over the internet. It smacks of grooming and just all-round creepiness and horror. But I try to be careful. I am always very up front about my age and intentions, which are simply to provide support when all else seems to have failed them. A friendly ear, a shoulder to cry on. Unconditional, unjudging, just someone to unload on.

This youngster, who I will call Cece (Hi Cece) had a huge falling out with her best friend and was being the subject of some real nastiness in terms of stories being spread about her, vicious put-downs, and she felt she just could not carry on.

One of the things I try to do with all my friends, everyone I encounter who is suffering, is to constantly repeat how, regardless of what else may happen in their lives, I care. Genuinely and completely. Even if I am a complete stranger, I still care. And reiterate how they are valued, they are valuable, and however weak they may think they are, there is an incredible strength just below the surface.

For people in Cece’s position, I often talk about my school experiences, being ostracised, bullied, hated, and trying to find my way through. I might be “old”, but I really, really have been there. I wasn’t sure how to approach this, but my first breakthrough came when I described exactly what it is like to lose a friend in that way.

It feels like your whole soul has been ripped out and there’s just this deep, dark hole left, full of pain. It becomes all-encompassing

This kid doesn’t want to trouble her parents either, because they have enough troubles of their own. That they won’t want to be troubled by her (supposedly unimportant) worries. I need to explain to her that, when their child is in pain, parents want to know, need to know. That her worries ARE important.

She often talks about how she’s fat, ugly, a tomboy. How no boy could ever like her. I started pointing her in the direction of many of my followers who are active in the fat acceptance movements.

I’ve tried to tell her my current philosophy. That bad things happen around us. They happen to us. And maybe we even do some bad things. But WE are awesome. When anyone asks how I am, I always respond “I am fucking awesome” and go on to say, if there are things that are not so great in my life at that time, maybe say “Work is kinda crap, but me, I am awesome”. And I think this is important. Distinguishing between our selves and events that affect us.

It really does break my heart because I know the pain. I spent so much of my youth (and a reasonable chunk of my adulthood) believing I was ugly, useless and unloveable. There were people who tried to “cheer me up” and tell me I wasn’t any of these things, but I never really believed them, not really. For a while I fooled myself that I believed them, but I didn’t. For the reward I get in sharing and using my experiences with others, I honestly would have gone through it a thousand times over. If I knew this would be the return, it would be worth it.

You are my cyberdad. I really think it

Possibly because they were really only said on occasions. What I needed was someone to stand by me, regardless of what else happened. Regardless of how I was feeling. Someone who was just always there. This, THIS is what drives me. The unwavering knowledge that others need this too.

As I have said previously, being there for people isn’t very difficult. It is rather like being on-call. For the most part, you don’t have to do anything. You don’t have to think about it. But for the people you are supporting, they KNOW you are there. They feel your presence with them, always. And if and when you are needed, you give as much time as you are able. You do make it clear that you also have other commitments, your own life, but whatever time you do have to spare is theirs.

It is kinda funny, Cece said a few time that I should just forget about her, and I have my life and don’t need to worry about a silly little 17 year old girl on the other side of the world. OK, I was embelleshing a little there. But the thing is, yeah, I don’t need to. I WANT to. That makes all the difference. I choose to be there to support people. I think I always will. Some “supporters” might say “Oh well, you’re ok, call me if you need me”. The more astute of us know to see through this.

I really hope Cece finds her way through this. She really is an incredible, beautiful young woman (I’ve never seen her, but do not need to in order to know she is beautiful). She, like us all, has enormous reserves of strength. Whether we realise it or not, whether we feel it or not, we have that strength. We just need someone to show us.

All of this is a continuation of my journey to change the world. One person at a time. Many of you are my dear friends because of this. Because of reaching out in a time of need. And I cherish each and every one of you. People might think that this is a very giving attitude, but it’s not. Because what I get back in return pays for it a million times over.

And for every person I have helped through tough times, I won’t deny it. It has been a bit of a strain for me. But I’ve got he energy for it. And because of doing so, I know there are others out there to lend me their strength.

Wel, I think that is about it for now.  Massive thanks to my nzsecretsanta for the notebook to record blog post subjects in. I really appreciate it. And I hope to be writing much more once again.

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In a previous post I talked about “the strange girl” event in my life. Well, I guess this is where I tell you about it.

It was March 1985 and I was 18 years old. My oldest brother was getting married. I was really excited about it because, while I kinda had a crush on the woman who was to be my sister-in-law, I was just so happy to have a “sister”. She was 6 months younger than me and we just got on really well together.

Nothing could have kept me away from the ceremony. Although it very nearly did. The roads were wet, I was driving too fast and the car hydroplaned.

The ceremony was at Percy’s Scenic Reserve and it was just utterly gorgeous. The first wedding I’d been to. The reception, well, that was another matter.

I wanted to go, but the thought of going filled me with dread. I knew there would be all these happy people, love would fill the air, but The Dark Beast was stirring, and my loneliness, my fear of people, my certainty that I couldn’t, could never really connect with anyone filled me with a strange mix of terror, self-loathing, and just a desire to disappear.

But I went. The meal was lovely. The speeches were great. Made all the funnier when, as someone referred to the bride, my elderly great aunt took a sip of wine and loudly proclaimed “Ooh it’s a bit tarty isn’t it?”

But as everyone was having a great time, I sank deeper and deeper into my despair. I may have gone outside to escape and to just cry. I don’t know whether she saw me doing this or not, but at one point a young woman, who I thought was older than me, came up to me and started talking. Just talking. To me. With me. And was interested.

She kept telling me how special I was, how I was loved and worthy of love. And just holding me. I was overcome by sensations I had never felt before. A sensation of being loved. But beyond that, there was the strangest physical sensation.

This is where you might want to look away. I don’t know if any of you have ever had something drawn out from your body. Something long and sticky and horrible. But I had that strong physical sensation. As she was talking to me, and holding me, something was being drawn out. Something dark and nasty and horrible. All the pain, all the self-loathing, all the hatred and darkness was being drawn out of me and, I sensed, being taken into her.

My family gave me a bit of ribbing about hooking up with this girl and the hugging and kissing (I don’t think she ever kissed me). But at the end of the evening she gave me her name and phone number on a napkin and told me that if I EVER needed her to just call. There are some people out there that might think this is nothing special, a fairly common occurrence, but to me at the time, it was something mystical. This. Does. Not. Happen. To. Me.

It was some time later I found out who she was. She was the daughter of my brother’s friend. And she was 14.

I kept the number with me always, everywhere I went. My mind and heart were a blur of activity. I went through all the obsession thing of being hopelessly in love, of being certain she felt the same way, of being too scared to call.

When I was in another bad place a few months later, I did call but was asked “look, do you really need me right now?” and was crestfallen. My saviour wasn’t the one I thought she was.

Six months after the wedding, though, I met her again. My brother and sister-in-law were involved in a serious car accident. Rushing up to see them in hospital, in the Emergency Department, a young woman I didn’t recognise came up to talk with me. It was HER. She remembered me, she remembered the wedding night and what she told me.

She said that her mother had beaten her up. I later found out that she had actually self-harmed and had serious mental health issues, and had been seriously abused earlier in her life. That kinda made things click into place, why she connected with me.

But I never saw her after that.

Some people have wondered why I do the things I do, the way I reach out to people. This strange young girl is one of the big reasons why. Someone I’d never met reaching out to me, and at that point in time probably saving my life. I am sure she knew the impact of her actions.

To this day it remains one of the strangest experiences of my life. I may marvel at how I have become blessed to have so many incredible, loving, wonderful people in my life, especially having the true love of my life as my darling wife. But this event is something I can only describe as angelic. I really, truly felt saved.

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I just want to apologise to family and friends for upsetting them or worrying them with my blog post.  Please know that neither I nor those around me have ever been in any danger, however much my mind might try to convince me they are.

Most of you know I have struggled with depression of most of my life, and I have regular bad spells. This was just a particularly bad one.

We all have our own demons we have to deal with. Events and trauma from our past that haunt us and sometimes drive our feelings.  According to my counsellor, I suffer PTSD with the trauma being the bullying I suffered through my school years.I never thought much of it, because that was just life at the time. But when I have recounted it to my various counsellors over the years, they seem to react with genuine shock at the psychological brutality of it. And it may be time for me to acknowledge just how bad it really was. That it was not normal childhood development.

I had always thought I had dealt with it, but in reality I had just covered it up with trying to be “good”, with trying to please people, and indeed with my whole social justice activism thing.

I know lots of people are bullied, but we all deal with it in different ways. I have long known that there is a lot of pain in my past. Sometimes it is there with me, sometimes it is leashed and caged.  But it has never been properly faced.

And I think that all the love, all the strength I have found over the years really has masked the pain rather than re-written the old scripts that keep playing in the back of my mind.  And that is a crying shame.  The love and support has just been beyond belief. Certainly when I was growing up, if anyone had suggested that I would be in the middle of such amazing goodness, I would have laughed at them.

I am really enjoying my counselling sessions. They are scary as hell because I do know that I am about to face a long-buried demon. One that I had convinced myself I had faced down previously, but really had not.  I have always known there was some blockage in my past. Something that I had never allowed myself past. Something that both prevents me becoming the person I really want to be, and also acts as a dam for all the bad feelings. A magnifier for all the messages that I am just not good enough. And let’s face it, we all get these message every day in one way or another.

I mentioned an event about 4 years ago.  At about that time I was Team Manager of a group that was effectively the pivot point for all IT change within my organisation.  A restructure brought a manager who I had previously had some run-ins with because of my outspoken opposition of what was a really bad system, procured through some really dodgy dealings.

This manager, according to those around me, moved one team member aside in a secondment while she “dealt with” the problem, disestablishing my team.  According to my team, she was very nasty to me directly and personally. At the time, I just brushed it off partially because I knew that the organisation needed me more than I needed it, and certainly more than it needed her.  But looking back, I guess this was my trigger point. One of the most significant instances of bullying I had been subjected to since my school days.  Seems to make sense, because I know I have been going downhill since then.

You see, my work was my turning point. It was something I just kinda fell into, but it was something I was really good at. And I just kept getting better. As my role changed, I developed a fame and respect that was … is … just out of this world.  I ended up doing things nobody else was able to do.  And that was the problem. This got to me. Especially as my role changed and I ended up doing things I didn’t understand quite so well.  The final straw was taking a secondment to an area where I wasn’t so well known, doing work I had never done before, in systems I had never even seen before. So all of a sudden I was a newbie.

But I am rapidly learning all these new skills. After two weeks there are some daily reconciliation tasks that I can now do as well as the people who were training me.  I am picking up other tasks before they train me on them.

So while I am still a bit shaky – the doubled Prozac meds does have the side-effect of creating anxiety symptoms – my mind is almost completely quiet and at rest.  Hell, I am even feeling happy frequently – always at home, always when with my beloved Krissy.

Especially for my anti-bullying tweeps @AgainstSuicide, the lovely, sweet-16 owner of the account Carrie and the amazing young Eduardo, I want you to know that this is the effect of bullying. Thirty years on, it still affects me. It still drives me to the edge. And I always have to be watchful for those PTSD symptoms. But through it all, life is good.  Life is really, really good.  And all those feelings I get, all those compulsions, all the fears – well, they’re just feelings.  As I said in the original post, just fucked up brain chemicals.

And still the thought of putting my demons to rest once and for all scares the hell out of me because they have been so much a part of who I am. But at 45 years old, I guess I owe it to myself to relieve myself of that load.

One thing I said to my counsellor is that I am scared of facing the demon because, if people knew what horrors lie within me, if they knew what horrible things are hidden within my soul, they would not like me, or worse be afraid of me. But I have to keep reminding myself, the love I feel from you all, that shit just doesn’t matter. So thank you.

Once again, I want to thank you all.  Family, friends, and all those wonderful people I have never met. Your love and concern and compassion has really meant a lot to me. I love you all so much.

As JK (the real Sir JK) says, whatever awards you win, coming out that other side, whoo – nothing compares to that.

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I never know if it shows.  In my mind it does.  Those times when the dark beast within stirs and clasps its cold hand around your heart and soul, and sucks the life out of you.

I am sure we have all been there at some stage or another, when depression starts to win , the whole world turns black. Some of us are incredibly lucky to have loving, understanding people around us to help us through these times. Others, sadly, not so and they lose the battle to survive.

For me, even after all these years, after all the strength I have gained, after all the love I am so incredibly blessed to be surrounded by, it still isn’t enough.  I never really know what brings them on.  Admittedly I am only on very mild anti-depressants (20mg fluoxetine) but for the most part they do the job.

I am just now coming out of one of the dark patches. Where I just feel full of hate and anger. Where there seems to be such emptiness in my life, where all of the good things seem just superficial. It can be scary. More and more the thoughts of doing great harm (not just to myself) seem overwhelming.

Often, when we would hear stories of some great tragedy where a person has embarked on a killing spree, you’d hear the interviews with neighbours: “He was a quiet man” , “Always seemed so nice”, “Such a shock”. Well, from a young age I could see such things being said about me. There was never anything specific, just a lot of blood and destruction. I don’t know where I learned it, but it didn’t take me long to understand that these were just thought, feelings, the product of a bizarre combination of brain chemicals. That all I had to do was let the thoughts go, and they would pass in time. To remember that they have no power over me .

Sure, it still worries me that there may come a time when the Beast no longer just stirs in its sleep but roars into life, flashing its teeth and claws and heads out on the hunt. But I trust that it won’t ever happen.

I remember the day when I first came face to face with the Beast. It was 6th Form (year 12 to you young ‘uns). English class. We were studying …. what was it now?  MacBeth or Othello? We were discussing the dark beast that lurks within us all, the one that listens to the whisperings of others. Something happened. I could almost feel myself step outside of my body, take a few steps forward, and turn to look back into my soul. And it was dark, tempestuous. There was something almost unimaginable in there and it terrified me. But it was the moment that I faced down my inner demon. I told my teacher about this afterwards and he was pleased. Pleased that I was the only one to truly have learned the lesson that was being taught.

While my wife is an absolute saviour to me, I also thank my amazing on-line friends so very much. Without the bond we have formed, it terrifies me to think where I would be now (no pressure, of course).

Anyway, you know the John Kirwan ad where he talks about how “coming out the other side” is a feeling far better than any win he has ever achieved on or off the field?  I know that feeling so well.  Still not completely out the other side, but I know the sunlight is now shining on my face, and this round is over.

I will just be glad when I can start writing properly again.  I have so missed it. Thank you all so much for your patience.

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Surviving mental illness

Mental illness isn’t something someone goes through alone. Like everything, it creates a ripple through the Universe.  Someone who has a mental illness will, regardless of how well it is managed or treated, go through some dark times when the Beast raises its head and starts to shift in its slumber.  And when this happens, it creates an impact on everyone.

For those lucky enough to have people love them and care for them, they will have some support.  And those support people use up a lot of emotional and spiritual energy.  This means they need love and support as well.

I’ve been affected by depression most of my life.  When I was going through my dark patches, I just didn’t want to interact with anyone.  When these events occurred after I met my wife, I was so incredibly lucky to have a wonderful woman who gave me my space to deal with what it was I was going through (or more accurately what I thought I was going through). I have no idea how she had the strength to deal with me.

We’d seen the mental health ads on television for some time. But for me, being a man, it wasn’t until the John Kirwan series came on that the power of it all exploded in my mind. John has been an amazing ambassador for mental health in this country. His book – “All Blacks Don’t Cry” is inspirational.  I absolutely loved the ad when he scoffed at the “toughen up” advice we are so often given.  The attitude of “toughen up” is at least in part the cause of many of our mental woes.  It creates an expectation of people that they simply can’t live up to.

One of my other pivotal moments was reading a book called “Overcoming Depression“.  In particular when it talked about the “barrier of hope” and the “barrier of will”.  And how it is when you are in between these two that the real danger is faced.  How, often, the descent is fast.  You slip below the barrier of hope (you have no hope that life will ever be good again) and then slip below the “barrier of will” where you would take your own life, but just have no willpower to do so.

This book talked about how, on the way back up again, when you pass back through the barrier of will, but are still below the barrier of hope, you are at great risk of suicide. Because the journey back up again is always slow.  This, together with thinking about the different “colours” of depression was really helpful to me.  The colours being (in order of descent): blue, grey, black then white.  I have spent a great deal of time in the grey, and fortunately have only spent brief periods in the black.  I am extremely grateful I have never sunk into the white.  The white is a place you don’t often return from.

Living with depression requires eternal vigilance. Despite being relatively happy, and being on long-term medication, the dark thoughts still arise.

  • Wanting the whole world to just go away (often with the image of Trashcan Man from The Stand)
  • Crossing a bridge and feeling an urge to leap off
  • Urges to drive off the top of parking buildings or cliffs
  • Disappearing into my own universe in a very SFF kind of way

All these things could be overwhelming, or disturbing. But I am amazingly grateful for the realisation that they are just thoughts. That they do not control me, and are just weird shit that happens. And the trick to deal with them is to simply observe them as they float by.

One of the funniest moments of my depression came when I was coming back up from my lowest point, when I had tried coming off my medication. I was at the point of no longer going into work, and realised I needed to do something. On the day I decided to go back into counselling and back on medication, I was at work getting a coffee when a colleague came up to get some water and said “Gee, David, I don’t know how you always manage to stay so cheerful”.

It was one of the funniest things I’d ever heard and just burst out laughing. The sheer power of the whole thing struck me.  Here I was feeling as though I was at my blackest, but to the outside world I was really happy.

I am really lucky. My depression, my suffering has been nothing compared to huge numbers of people. At the time, of course, it consumed my entire world. And music is what got me through.

Anyway – that’s enough rambling for now.  Not sure if this post is what I originally intended it to be, but it’ll do. It is dedicated to my wonderful wife – who has made me so incredibly happy.

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