‘Normal’ people have normal reactions to what life throws at them. The pain of losing your best friend whether through death or other circumstances, perhaps the anger felt at having your house broken into, the bottom of the pit feeling when a relationship breaks up and you didn’t see it coming. We have all felt these feelings of loneliness, distrust, anger, being disheartened; you don’t understand what you did to deserve having what life is throwing at you and quite often they seem to come in 3’s. Don’t ask me why they just do. Feelings of sadness are normal and can last quite some time. But you know deep down, rationally, that things will get better, you will once again survive and you have family and friends to help you get through. Perfect scenario.
For a person with deep emotional problems, anxiety and depression they don’t need catastrophic events to set them off. Sometimes it can be the way someone spoke to you, or the way ( you think) someone ignored you at the shopping centre or the fact that they haven’t made contact with you for some time. God forbid they have a life…..lol For a fragile person these small things can build up and seem insurmountable. If the person was already feeling overwhelmed with life the simple act of losing their car keys can set the day up to be a rough one. Then as each small inconvenience or problem pops up as they do through your day the fragile person see these small events as catastrophic. To ‘normal’ people the fragile person seems a little ‘over the top’, overreacting, you know, when you feel like telling someone to take a chill pill. To a normal person, the fragile persons reactions seem way out of context to the situation and in truth they are, but not if you are that fragile person. To you your whole world is imploding and you feel like you are drowning.
For many of you, you will not understand these feelings and how lucky you are. I hope you never have to deal with the Black Dog of depression either personally or through a friend or family member. But for the person suffering, they are constantly on the edge. They want to be happy and live a full life just like everyone else. They look at people and wonder what is actually going on in their lives. Are they putting on a brave face just like you? Do they just pretend to be happy, the old fake it till you make it just like you? How does one be happy? What the heck is happy anyway?
I’ve started writing todays blog to distract myself and to help me put life into perspective. It’s open, it’s raw and it’s real please don’t judge me on this. I’m too honest for my own good, but writing always helps. I can’t actually talk to anyone about how I feel…….they’d think I was crazy……lol
Having struggled since last October with a depression that just won’t seem to lift I found myself at the very bottom of the barrel today. I have managed to have a shower, but haven’t managed to eat anything today, it’s now 4pm and I’ve only just had my first cuppa of the day, I feel like I’m in shutdown. Again I’ve had next to no sleep, which normally I can cope with, but not today. A good nights sleep would be more than 2 hours straight, I haven’t managed that since before October. I can’t really blame the medical profession as I’ve been so bad that I find it too difficult to go out. So a trip to the doctors is a living nightmare, I did however get myself there to ask for help and I’ve been on a waiting list for counselling for the past 6 weeks, I’m guessing they’re pretty busy with others just like me, but in the mind of a depressive person who catastrophises things I see this as I’m less important than others. ( in my right mind I know this is not true, there could be many reasons for no contact, yes they may be extremely busy, they may have lost my forms, I could ring and find out but I haven’t as I really don’t want to leave the safety of my home to go visit anyone). There are days like today that you feel like you are the least important person in the world. You don’t even like yourself so how could anyone possible love or care for you. Today people, you are my counselling session! Well actually this blank page is my counselling session. I’m hoping to bring some raw awareness into the mind of someone in crisis, I actually don’t want and am definitely not looking for sympathy or comments and I don’t want to alarm anyone, I am safe, I have made sure of that by writing this.
Getting back to normal people. When a normal person loses a pet, they do all they can to find them. Put up notices, walk the neighbourhood, check the lost and found and they have the normal feelings of anxiety wondering what’s happened to their beloved pet, they may grieve and they may be sad for a time. But in the end their response is normal. My response as I’m sure others with depression will recognise is one of a catastrophic nature. Having already lost one pet to a snake bite just over 12 months ago, my immediate feeling was why me? Why can’t I have a cat? When she hadn’t turned up for dinner or breakfast my immediate thought was she’s dead. She would have been home for a feed if she could, so she’s definitely dead. From there was the slide to the bottom of the pit. Actually I didn’t have far to fall, as I said it’s been pretty rough since before Christmas and seeing as no one loves me anyway, no one would miss me if I was gone. (Another catastrophic unreal thought) Yes I’ve got a husband, but most husbands remarry pretty quickly ( Over generalise get) and for my poor husband it would be a relief not having to deal with this shit daily. ( that’s the thought, but the reality is quite different) There’s the kids, but they have their own lives and partners, I have nothing left to impart on them ( the thought, once again, not the reality, parents are supposed to stick around long enough to annoy the kids and spoil the grandkids). There are grandkids, but they actually don’t know me other than being a face on a screen as they live overseas. ( the thought, but not the reality, they know me, they love me and all because we have such wonderful technology) Life would move on and my being would soon disappear.
Can you see how stupid that all sounds? It’s what I was feeling, thinking and believing, but because I’ve had some pretty major counselling over the years I can see the other side, I can see I would be missed, I can see my thinking pattern for what it is. But for a fragile person, when you are feeling so, so low, it doesn’t take too much more to act, a split second decision to step out in front of that oncoming bus or train, to ram the car into the nearest big gum tree, to take that bottle of pills you have been saving. You don’t have the energy or inclination to shower, brush your hair, eat. A quiet dark place is where you feel safe, you don’t have to talk to anyone, you can just be. There is such a fine line between life and death. For a person with severe depression you stand on that edge and when life is throwing its curve balls, you try to duck and weave like everyone else but you just don’t have the coping skills like everyone else and someday maybe one those balls is going to hit you square on and knock you down and you react and make that one final mistake that devastates all you have left behind.
I’ve ducked a ball today, but only because I take regular medication, have previously had counselling that taught me some skills to really analyse my thinking and to recognise them for what they are. I will get up again, I will fight on again, I will keep ducking and weaving because I love my family, they keep me grounded, they give me hope and although most days I don’t understand why they love me, deep down inside I know they do. They know the real me, the one with all the scary bits and they still love me. They’re pretty amazing people and there my people. How blessed am I!
If you are struggling today and need some help and don’t know where to turn here are a couple of starting points. There is help out there, we just have to reach out.
What started this today was our 6 month old kitten went missing, she’s still not back and it’s been over 24 hours so I am absolutely heartbroken. She showed me such great affection and she was such a little character. But honestly as sad as the situation is, it is what it is and it’s not something I should be contemplating suicide over. But this combined with 3 or 4 other situations I’m ‘dealing’ with had tipped me over and for that split second and that’s all it takes, I was one of those people standing on the edge.
Our little Phoebe – 6 months old, March, 2016.
EDITED at 9.15pm
Some 28 hours after Phoebe went missing she waltzed though the door like nothing had happened. She wasn’t hungry, so somebody had fed her. But she was terribly happy to see us and extremely smoochie. We’re both so happy she turned up again.
So you can see how your thinking and your perception can screw up a whole day all for nothing really. What a difference a few hours makes. Thanks for listening. Sue