In Need of Understanding…

In Need of Understanding…

When depression feeds dark thoughts of dying

Fills my days with exhaustion and crying

And I’m struggling so bad

Give me space to feel sad

Understand that I really am trying…

I’m not someone for whom the art of living comes easily, and have struggled with recurring depression on and off since childhood. I’ve seen one psychiatrist (after surviving an overdose in my early twenties) and have visited countless psychotherapists over the years since, but however much I struggle to search out solutions to try to increase my psychological understanding (including earning a degree in Psychology and Sociology as a mature student), I still don’t feel any happier at source about life.

When it comes to medication I’ve tried multiple variations of anti-depressants since my teens and was even on valium for the longest time (when my children were small and I was stuck in an emotionally abusive relationship with their father, who I have since divorced), but I find that although chemical sedatives in general do tend to curtail the worst of my negative emotions, they also flatten out any slight spark of positive emotions, too, leaving me a bit like an inert zombie. So medication for me really is a last resort.

Instead these days I find it better just to sit tight through the depressive episodes when they come, whenever I can, knowing that however bad I feel it does always get better in time even if I do nothing – no medication, no therapy, just let it work itself out. But I do find it exhausting, trying to continue to behave as far as possible like a ‘normal’ adult in public for the duration. And I find I’m always really tired and emotionally drained at home while I’m feeling at my lowest.

So when I start to feel the familiar feelings gnawing in my gut I’ll try to fight it for so long, forcing myself to do those things in life I know I enjoy in the hope of avoiding falling in too deep. But sadly there usually comes a point where I have to just accept it’s upon me once more, and I go into a kind of emotional autopilot. I function as far as possible, and then I fall temporarily into limbo until I have to function again, and this pattern simply continues day in, day out until I start to feel properly human again.

The thing is, so many people try to tell me if I feel depressed I should be going to the doctor to get some medication, or be referred for therapy to ‘sort myself out’, but the trouble with that is that it feels like they’re telling me I need to be fixed, that I’m not good enough as I am. Because at my core this is who I am, who I have always been – I simply don’t know anything different, know no other way to be in the world. After all this time I know my own body, and more importantly I know my own mind – I know what works for me, and what I need most is understanding, and for people to trust me.

If things get bad enough for me that I need to seek medical help again, trust me I will. But the only person who knows when that point is reached is me. Luckily for me my husband is very understanding, as is my GP – both have put their trust in me, allowing me the space to feel whatever I feel, preparing to be my safety net should I fall unexpectedly but otherwise letting me try my best to get through it all in my own organic way… ❤

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7 thoughts on “In Need of Understanding…

  1. I can relate with the whole “that it feels like they’re telling me I need to be fixed, that I’m not good enough as I am.” When I try to resist the feeling of self-reproach, they get defensive and try even harder to try and fix me. It does seem like they feel threatened by someone who is depressed (or manic or suffering a panic atteck), like some guys can be around a gay person.

    It’s awesome you’ve found someone who is understanding. My experience has been the significant other (or family member or friend or co-worker) is understanding until my “state of mind” is or seems to be directed at them. It’s okay to not feel like interacting because I’m too exhausted emotionally, but I should be able to dig down deep and find the wherewithall to be fully present and mostly engaged with them. Most recently I got the “if you really loved me, you would….” I’m sorry love doesn’t conquer all 24/7.

    Thanks for this thoughful and nicely expressed account of your experience. Those who have someone important in their lives who suffers from depression, anxiety or other mood afflictions should read this.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a great post Ruth, you have explained depression so well. Our loved ones try to help and find solutions to help us, which I can understand but sometimes doesn’t help. Depressed people need understanding which can work more than tablets.

    I found the counselling I had, although very painful, made a massive difference. Things still come back up to the surface now and again but I have come to accept that and wait for it to pass.

    The fact that you can explain and understand your own feelings shows an acceptance and deep understanding of yourself

    😀😁😆😄😃😀

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I appreciate your insights into depression. Most people really do not understand that it is more than feeling “sad” and that it isn’t something you can just snap out of. I suppose I was one of those people until my son was diagnosed with it and I have been on a journey to provide understanding and support for what he goes through. Things I thought were his “fault” had more to do with depression and anxiety and were not easy for him to deal with. I am more enlightened today and empathize with your situation. Thank you for having the courage to express your feelings about it on this blog.

    Liked by 1 person

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