Battling the Great ‘D’!

The Great ‘D’ – depression.

I’ve battled with this nasty bottom dweller since I was a teen, not just the usual teenage angst but something fundamentally more serious and frightening. Well, it’s true to say that I have been struggling again these last few months.

The problem with depression isn’t merely the ‘being down’, the negative thoughts, the brain paralysing fears and paranoia’s and the black pit of despair, it is also the straight jacket, the feeling of having your hands and feet tied whilst being asked to continue with ‘normal’ daily life. A total impossibility. Depression is a paralyser of creativity, ideas, ‘normal’ cognitive function, it skews and sours everything.

There’s that awful word again – ‘normal’, as when you’re in the grip of depression you feel anything but normal, you imagine your head enlarged, a sign scrawled across your forehead, a big pointy neon sign following you around. Did I mention paranoia? You feel out of control, scrutinised, attacked, beaten, bruised, defeated all at once. It’s the sensation of speeding in an open top car at 110mph with no seat belt while the driver wears a blindfold, yet at the same time feeling as if you’re stuck neck deep in treacle – unable to move, to progress, to do anything. It’s debilitating.

It’s such an insidious condition. I’ve known it’s been creeping up on me for the last few months, that sinking feeling as life’s little or big crisis’s become increasingly more difficult to deal with. None of us can stop life being damn hard, from bad things happening. But when you have depression, you are completely incapable of dealing with them. You become instantly overwhelmed by the smallest thing, and completely smothered by anything larger.

It’s for this reason that I’ve neglected my own lovely blog for so long. I’ve found it virtually impossible to get the energy to blog anything this year and have been utterly incapable of following any of my friend’s wonderful blogs. Every time I saw one of their blog posts pop up on my emails, it just stayed there, accumulating with all the others along with hundreds of emails, probably thousands now. 😦

So, a huge apology to any and all of my friends if I’ve been a bit weird of late. I’m usually a great one for doing a ‘swan impression’, appearing in control, the effortless gliding swan, while in truth the legs are peddling manically beneath. That’s me to a T – so busy trying to convince others and myself that everything is okay, that I’m my usual social, bubbly, happy self, when the reality is anything but that. It’s exhausting and a dreadful ‘Catch-22’ cycle, one I find almost impossible to break. Perhaps it’s a confidence issue, but I’m just so used to putting up a front, the happy exterior that I don’t seem to be able to let that slip and allow people to see me down. Reality bites.

I think the only time in my life that I’ve really ever broken down and cried in public was at my friend’s funeral. So, to anyone who suffers from depression, whether you put on a brave face like me or are able to be open and honest about it, you have my heartfelt sympathies. It sucks. And to anyone who knows someone who is struggling, please be patient with them and if they appear okay, look a little closer. No-one builds a wall better than someone battling depression, we’re experts at hiding from the world, our friends, ourselves.

At the moment, I admit I am drowning slightly. Life worries are weighing heavily and those worst dark impulses are louder than ever. So, trying to be positive and drag myself out of this cycle, I have promised myself to try and list 5 things every day that are positive or make me happy, no matter how small or seemingly unimportant.

So here goes:

  1. A notable and prestigious writer has approached me to do a fantasy map commission for her amazing books. I am both thrilled and honoured.
  2. I have a lovely meeting of my gorgeous fellow Grimbold authors and friends at my place this Sunday for a big BBQ. I cannot tell you how much I am looking forward to this and what a light in a dark tunnel it’s been.
  3. I am perpetually thankful for the family that I do have. I love them all dearly.
  4. My four gorgeous doggies bring me laughter and light every day.
  5. Despite my job being terribly low paid, I do absolutely love it and love the people I work with.

There, 5 things to be thankful for. If you are struggling with any kind of depression, mental illness or anything else, then please take the time to breathe, look around you and find 5 things that make your life better/easier/happier. It’s so so easy to be swamped in a negative mire and forget to look up and really see what you have.

I will also try to blog again and when I can (without beating myself up anymore), read and support my lovely friend’s blogs…it may just take me a little time.

Take care and remember to be kind to yourself as well – you can’t help others if you’ve fallen yourself. ❤ xxxx

SAM_8746

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24 thoughts on “Battling the Great ‘D’!

  1. stevenpoore says:

    I had to do this too – the old black dog is still hanging around, and I start the day more tired than I end it, but I made a conscious decision to look forward instead of back. And sometimes, when it’s too much to do something, it’s too much and that’s that. Never give up, never surrender!

    • Thanks Steven. It’s stupid but it’s just something I never tend to talk about, too busy ‘being happy and smiley’ and it’s just exhausting. I know present day real probs haven’t helped, but sometimes I just feel like I’ve had enough. Cheers mate, horrible condition. I love your GalaxyQuest saying though, very apt!

  2. M T McGuire says:

    I think it was Spike Milligan who said that the bad thing about depression was that he tended to get bouts of it, but the good thing was he got bouts of it so however awful he felt he knew ‘this’s too shall pass’. Do what you can, let the rest go, rest up and take it easy. Hope it soon passes.

    Cheers

    MTM

  3. Diane says:

    You have nothing to apologise for. You wouldn’t apologise if you couldn’t go for a run with a broken leg would you. I do know that there is nothing really that I can do to help except to say if my wish for you to find your way out of this could work you’d be feeling wonderful right now. xx

    • Thank you Diane. You’re spot on though, I always get crippled by guilt over what I’m not doing but should be doing, especially when I can’t. Ridiculous! To be honest, it just helps sharing it, especially after a lifetime of being silent on the subject. xx

  4. hierath says:

    We love you, Sophie. All the hugs!

    • Thanks Jo, I honestly don’t think I would have spoken about this at all if it wasn’t for friends like you. I’ve just been stupid and suffered in silence my whole life, not wanting to talk about it or bring any attention to myself. I’m so used to being the invisible one and quietly just burying it under a smile. Cheers honey, it does feel better finally sharing it, even if it’s just to know that other people are feeling the same. ❤ xxx

      • hierath says:

        I’ve always tried to be open about it in the hope that it will help other people realise they’re not on their own in feeling like this. Love you xxx

      • You’re a braver person than me sweetie, I’ve always been such a coward about sharing stuff like this. But you’re spot on, if it helps others know it’s quite a common thing and helps to share, then it’s good all round – a good positive from something crappy. Thank you!!! xxx

  5. BrizzleLass says:

    Sending huge hugs. I can totally relate, I’m fighting a slide myself at the moment. I hope you find your way out of the treacle soon. xxx

    • Thank you honey, it’s bloody difficult isn’t it? So sorry you’re going through this too, it sucks. 😦 It’s strange though, I don’t why I’ve felt my whole life like I’ve had to stay silent about it, as suffering in silence really gets you nowhere. I know I’m not as bad as I was when in was in my early twenties and life was perpetual dark, but I must confess to being in the pit and finding it hard to crawl out. Hope we both find our way out asap. xxxx

  6. Kira Morgana says:

    I know that dark well of old… I’ve been fighting the slide back into it for the last two years. Finally I admitted it to the doctor and went back on the tablets – they’ve brought me the sense of calm and steadiness that I need to be able to halt the slide.

    ((hugs)) & love from Wales.

    • It’s horrible isn’t it? Yes, I’ve been on Citalopram on and off and Amitriptyline to try and help me sleep. I think the problem is that awful nagging voice, the worst side of you, whispering bad shit in your ear when you’re low so you end up thinking and feeling worse. Thanks honey, really hope you can stop yourself from sliding too. Sending ((hugs)) too. xx

  7. marigold555 says:

    Yay for sharing! Been there.. Perhaps darkness increases when we use it to hide what we feel so ashamed of? How you feel is not an accurate reflection of who you are no matter what the mean old voices say. Outing the voices is a very courageous and powerful step! May you love yourself tenderly through this temporary resurgence of self doubt!

  8. I’m so sorry you’re struggling with this. I know what it’s like when the smallest task seems overwhelming. Even getting out of bed and taking a shower feels monumental. I hope you are feeling better soon. Until then, please know that the people who love you and care about you are here any time you need to talk! Email me or message me on FB any time. I might not be able to help, but I can listen. Hugs to you, dear Sophie.

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