I’ve been battling depression for years. Mostly I got it under control. My last complete failure to control it was more than 20 years ago.

What is depression?

Damn inconvenient is what it is! Depression doesn’t just happen at night or last a couple of hours when we’re alone. It can happen at what could have been the best of times surrounded by the nicest of people. It can last for moments of severe woe to days of just not wanting to exist.

How does it affect me?

I go to bed at night genuinely hoping not to wake up the next day. I feel like everyone around me has a life, has a purpose except me. That to most I am needed, not wanted, that if I actually didn’t wake up tomorrow it isn’t the person I am which would be missed, it’s the stuff I can do for others.

That’s how it affects me, that’s not saying it’s the reality, it’s how depression warps our perception of the world.

What other stuff makes it worse?

Every rejection stabs in the heart. Seeing others being invited places I am not wanted, it’s crazy, seeing others happy totally not having any regard for me, uncertainty, not being able to make sense of everyday aspects of my life, demands, constant demands to this or that because I can drive, think, do stuff, get the answers. Having that sort of thing outweigh so many times over the invites for a coffee to just talk about nothing, they are so rare.

What more about the feelings?

It makes me feel like a resource. As long as I am useful I exist, once I stop being useful, I don’t. I want to sleep all the time, I want it ‘all’ to go away. If I am asleep I can’t get hurt, I won’t notice how so many have forgotten I am around.

What can be done about it?

I probably need to get some expert help this time around, my usual methods are not working. Quite often a few miles walking will do it, some decent sleep also. Nothing is touching this, the condition is just getting worse. It helps if I am living with someone who either understands me enough to support me or understand depression, I don’t have anyone living here who does either, it’s probably not something kids should need to deal with anyway, not that I have any ‘kids’ any more of course. Reiki helps, a good long aromatherapy massage, I can’t afford any of those.

What causes it?

In my case, years of dealing with unfortunate situations. A lot of anxiety, worry.

Many years of helping others who take the help and walk away, some of them leaving me in a bad way.

Caring too much for others and not having that caring returned or appreciated. Changing someone’s life significantly for the better and then seeing them attribute that change to their own hard work or luck keeping me out of the equation, so, being under appreciated. Not that I help others for the reward at all, that’s not why but, it’s quite usual when we give a gift that someone is and shows that they are appreciative.

Having to deal with a series of unlikely events, sick children, people I care about needing support I can’t give them.

Sure, my sexuality, feeling that because I have children I can’t be properly gay and yet, neither can I be acceptably straight and, most people don’t do well with difference. Frustratingly, my difference is just too different. Others will accept and value their gay friend with his gay problems, his boyfriends and so on but, I don’t fit any stereotype, I am too confusing to understand. I have issues with it, how can I expect others to get it?

Falling deeply in love with someone and it’s not reciprocated. Being in relationships and being neglected, cheated on,

Almost certainly, some sort of chemical imbalance in my head.

Why am I sharing this?

Because people just don’t talk about these things. We can deal with illness caused by a virus, an infection, broken bone and such like but, mental illness, it’s not spoken about. It’s a bedfellow to death, we all know it happens but, we don’t speak about it. Unlike death, mental illness is not a certainty for all though, everyone at some point will suffer to some degree even if they don’t realise it. A great many do suffer in silence. It’s seen as unattractive, anti social, frightening, a fraud, a ruse to get sympathy. Here in Britain we’re raised to have a stiff upper lip, not to give into such things, to hide our emotions, pull ourselves together. I think it might be time for that to stop. Depression is quite likely the most common thing treated by health care professionals. It can range from feeling just a little down to wanting to end our lives. So many suffer in silence all of the time. They’ll be seen as not making the effort in life, being no fun, someone who doesn’t fit in. Were it the flu there would be some support, it’s obvious, everyone knows and is happy to talk about a virus, hell, to some it’s a competition to prove their virus is so much worse than someone else’s but, no one wants mental illness.

Mental Illness Sucks

Yes it does … there is a song I’ve always felt connected to, it’s been covered a few times but look up ‘Mad World’ … one of the lines is something like ‘my best dreams are the ones in which I am dying’ and, that’s so true for me, I suspect many others too. It’s creating a situation which forces others to be honest, to put their actions where their mouth is. Creates a situation where others realise they don’t have the rest of their lives to show they give a shit, they have as long as this imminent death takes. I’ve imagined that over and over and, in my dreams it’s always the same, a tiny few who cry, not many more who send messages of sympathy, barely anyone turning up and then a huge crowd at the funeral. That’s just about the summary of this feeling, it’s that not enough people care so much as to make an effort whilst we’re alive unless there is something in it for them. Showing up a funeral earns brownie points, shows others how much they care.

No one should have to suffer mental illness, how more sick is it that because of our opinions on it, we have to suffer it alone, the very last thing a sufferer needs, the exact fulfilment of how many get to that point in the first place!

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