It has been a long time since I have taken the time to sit and write about my journey with my ‘fluffy’, this is the name I have given to the constant ache in my chest and shadow that follows me around.
I wrote about it back in 2010 when I was having a hard time coping, and spoke to my GP and decided to go down the road of medication but haven’t revisited the subject, on paper anyway, since.
I guess, my goal here is to share my experiences and hopefully, it will connect with the exact person who needs to read it. The one that is going through the same fight and can’t see a light. I can guide you like a lighthouse while you navigate the storm.
I am here.
I understand what you feel; the drowning, feeling lost, confused, exhausted, the relentless ache and racing mind.
If I rewind a little to when I started on meds, I vaguely remember feeling very much like a zombie, just going through the motions of life, numb. I didn’t really care about me, anything or anyone else for quiet some time. There was constant nausea and a sense of ‘loss of self’ while my brain figured out that the meds were there to help.
I didn’t even exercise!
After about 6 months I started to feel more like a human, was able to process my thoughts a little better and do some real soul-searching as to what I needed to be my best version.
You know what? I have changed my mind and gone away from the plan so many times now, that I can’t even remember what the original one was.
Life has dealt me even more major blows since I last put pen to paper.
In truth some of the very darkest moments.
in fact. I will spare you the details as this is not a sympathy vote but know this; I didn’t once doubt that I was going to be ok.
People often ask me “how I am still going” and seem so happy and full of life when I have been through so much. Truthfully, I don’t know the answer, and I don’t feel like I am holding it together at all well most of the time.
I guess, what people see and how you feel under it can be very different, and this is the cruelness and danger with mental health, in particular depression. You look fine, highly functioning, holding a job, social life, close relationships and all the things that look normal to the viewer.
Underneath no one can see the turmoil and the storm brewing inside.
The nights ripped apart by nightmares, the insecurity that you will fuck up at any moment and the world will come crashing down around you.
In calmer, stronger times, you stop catastrophising.
The World won’t end, you are totally ok, and it is ok to make mistakes.
This is the source of the frustration and confusion.
You know you’re being illogical but it just wont stop.
You can consult all the therapists, self-help books and podcasts – but knowing what you are feeling is the only thing that can make any of that helpful.
Search, question and recognise each moment, write it down. Do this for about a month until you can recognise it without having to stop. Be in the moment and remember the words you have read to help you, that song that rings true to your heart, what ever it is that grounds you.
Remember that. DO IT
One way I have learnt to cope with and manage my depression is to sing.
As loud as I can to music I love as often as I can.
in the car, in the shower, whilst training, cooking, getting dressed, shopping.
With singing comes dancing and that movement makes me feel safe and grounded.
The listening, the feeling the rhythm and moving my body in sync, becoming one with the music.
Focusing there means I can’t focus on the feeling of dread lurking in the doorway
You don’t need to go into great detail about how you feel but just venting a little lets a bit of pressure out and makes it manageable. One of the symptoms of depression is loneliness, or the misconception of it anyway. I know that I have a massive circle of people who love me, care for me and want to be in my life and help me live my best life. I never ever want them to experience my darkness or pity me I know that they genuinely want to know if I am not ok.
It has taken me a long time to be brave enough to admit that sometimes I am not ok and I can say it out loud without judgement. It really truly helps. There aren’t often words or platitudes that can make you feel better, but just having a soul to sit along side you can give you strength.
Just being is enough.
My strength returns in waves and then I can talk a little more. Saying it out loud removes the stigma completely and then the tightness in my chest releases enough that I can breathe and carry on.
I’ve learned that we should trust in our loved ones and talk to them
I know now I was wrong to feel the need to protect them from my darkness.
They can bring light and help us step out of it if we can only be brave enough to ask.
Sometimes the bad times can hit without warning or trigger,
so please understand that sharing IS caring –
and it could save your life.