Two blogs written in short succession at the start of the month, to decent reception. The blog opened in the first place at least in part because I’d started to enjoy writing again. Then nothing for the following week. This isn’t a case of me being a lazy bark (though I can quite rightfully be accused of that at times), but because last week I had another attack of what me might politely call ‘my troubles’. Feeling sufficiently over the worst of it now to be able to start writing again, I’ll try to talk you through some of what I go through, what I do to fix it (as best I can) and hopefully it’ll at least explain some things or give you a small insight into it all.
Principally, the major issue I face with my condition these days is one of self-esteem and self-confidence. I do get low moods, I have had suicidal thoughts (thankfully a long time ago, and nowhere near that mark any time recently, long may that continue), I have had periods of self-destructive behaviour which were at least partly caused by having depression, but they’re not – or are no longer – the major symptoms. Essentially, I go through periods where I don’t feel I offer any value to the world or the people around me, I don’t have the confidence to use any of my abilities or try new things, I’m constantly in fear of what people think about me, I compare myself unfavourably to others and any mistakes I make get blown wildly out of proportion in my own mind. Now, I realise this all sounds completely irrational. I have an amazing support network of friends and family (for which I will always be eternally grateful) but when times are bad, it doesn’t seem to matter how much they reassure me that I’m not as bad as I think I am, that message won’t go in. My mind has decided that I’m a useless waste of space, that is that, and the more I think about it the worse it gets. I also don’t want to burden anyone else with my problems (which seem pretty piffling in the grand scheme of things) or come across as being really whiny or needy, so I tend to shut myself away a bit when it’s kicking off, manifested here in no writing for a week. It really can be a self-defeating cycle.
To combat this, I’m on medication which does at least stop the bad times from being catastrophic times. I’ve accepted I’ll probably have to be on some form of medication for the rest of my life – that’s just how it is. This is a medical condition after all, and while for many years I avoided doctors; firstly out of a fear of even talking about or knowing how to approach this stuff, and secondly as I didn’t want to be seen as ‘mental’ or whatever – I accept now that this is just the way it has to be. Thankfully we seem to live in more enlightened times where there isn’t the same stigma around mental health issues as there has been in the past. I do as much reading on the subject as I can when I’m not in the midst of an ‘attack’ so I can be as prepared as possible, perhaps find some different techniques to try for next time. I take inspiration from others who have come through their own mental health struggles and see what parts of their story I can apply to my own. I do try to tell myself fairly often that I don’t always get everything wrong and there are aspects of my personality and being that aren’t all that bad, there is a small sub section of people out there who like me (inexplicably) and there must be a reason behind that, it’s not out of pity. Well, not entirely pity anyway. Frequently though, it’s a case of just waiting it out and eventually I’ll feel a bit better. I won’t always feel in a trough of self-despair, it’s just shitty when I do.
Moving beyond this – and I do think I’m over the worst of this particular episode now – I’m not sure what the future is for me in this regard. I don’t think I’ll ever be someone who ‘used to be depressed’. Clearly I’d rather never feel like this, but I don’t think that’s realistic; maybe this is as good as it ever gets for me, after all it’s frequently been far worse in the past. I believe a key to any recovery from here is being open about the issues I face, bottling them up really will get me nowhere fast so as maudlin as it might look if I’m banging on about depression on here or on social media, it’s simply part of the process for me. I’m a lot more positive about my life than I was as little as three years ago, many people tell me they can see a marked improvement in me from those days, so I will look to maintain that upward trend, as difficult as it might be sometimes. Clearly I’ll try to stay active and involve myself socially as best I can, as walling myself away isn’t the answer to anything as tempting as it might seem at times. Beyond that…I don’t know. I’m not an expert. I’m still learning about this stuff all the time, as difficult a process as it might be, I can only try to come out stronger the other side and try to work out what I should do or should avoid to try to minimise the risk of it happening where possible.
I’ll forever be grateful to the ongoing support I have, to the point where I can’t really even put it into words. I wouldn’t think anyone would be bothered to be invested in me to any kind of serious degree but it’s apparent that they are, so I’ll always be doing my best to keep this stuff under control. Thanks once again to those concerned and to everyone taking the time to read this. Hopefully normal service can resume now.