As anybody who has suffered with depression can tell you, it ain’t easy. Since my last post about my own situation, certain things have happened that were perhaps intended to ease matters have not really had the desired effect.
First of all, the message of my post was not taken well in some quarters. Neither was the nature of the sharing across social media. But as depression is a ‘selfish affliction’, I couldn’t see it for myself. There then followed an emotional Facebook status by my wife intended to stop all the questions about my condition and state of mind. Whilst it allowed her to see the depth of feeling towards us, it left me wide open and exposed as certain things were mentioned that really made me look like, well, an absolute shithead. In particular, my admission that I wasn’t sure if I loved her anymore was open to various interpretations, all of which would have missed the point entirely – if I don’t know who I am anymore, how can I know that my feelings towards people are actual or supposed?
Unfortunately, I am putting my wife and son through a roller coaster of emotion and pain. I can see this, I can, but you see, there is a dark voice whispering in my good ear that if I keep it up they will cut their losses and leave me to spiral into self-destruction. The same dark voice that lays in wait to spoil any advance or improvement in my mood. Watching people getting on with their daily lives with ease and joy can be hard when the voices are saying “oh, no, not for you.” The shame of being unable to function as I used to is overbearing. And you would think that the messages of support would be galvanising, wouldn’t you? Alas, no. Each one adds an extra weight around my neck. An extra person that I’m letting down as I get sucked into the darkness.
A while ago, during a brief interlude, I managed to make some sort of plan to get happy. That plan involved moving to Cornwall – a place both my wife and I like very much, and getting a job that I could enjoy. Now I’m trying hard to hold on to that dream, but as with everything, these things take time. During the darkest of times, I have toyed with getting in the car and just driving down to Land’s End and waiting for inspiration. So, if I do go missing, you know where to find me. But, yet again, the voice interrupts – “what about money? What will do you when you get there?” Instilling doubt and self-loathing on a grand scale.
Simple social interaction is tiring. Unfortunately, with a return to work looming large – money makes the world go round, after all – I have to confront this head on. I’ve been off work now since 10th January, and so that’s given plenty of time for people to form their own impressions of my condition. I remember the day after my wife’s Facebook post, I collected my son from school, and even if they probably weren’t, I could feel all her ‘school mum’ friends looking at me and judging me. This is exactly what I’m dreading again, working in a small office.
I am waiting for counselling – god bless the NHS – and have had an initial assessment over the telephone. Yet the best conversation I’ve had was with someone who has actually been to the places I’m currently inhabiting. Listening to someone else pretty much describing your own feelings is a breath of fresh air – a torch in the darkness as you desperately seek the fuse box and the trip switch that will banish the darkness. I’m a long way from that point as I write, and each day is a new challenge. And as people keep telling me, it’s up to me to face the challenge. Nobody can do it for me.
So, I will take this last opportunity to say to my wife: “Thank you for still being here even though I’m doing my hardest to push you away, and for keeping some sort of normality no matter how hard it is for you. I may not look or sound like I appreciate it, but it’s because I don’t feel worthy of your love and care.”