OK a response I often get when writing about depression in particular is ‘you have so many people that love you’ and that may be so true, but that does not end the feelings of isolation. Of being alone, and for me the frustrations of seeing the world from my life to all life as it is, and yet knowing how it should be.
The number of people that like me for my moral, my writing and my outlook is so important to me, yet when things are bad, when the grey walls and thick British smog has rolled in, and has blinded me to anything outside of Mt realm of despair, I could be the most loved and popular man on the planet and it would not help. When we think of the very real examples of this are folk like Robin Williams, Kurt Cobain, Michael Hutchins, Marilyn Monroe, Sylvia Plath, or even sadly so recently Keith Flint, we realise popularity and being loved by many is not the answer.
Depression cannot be controlled, you cannot wake up and say ‘today I am going to be happy Simon’ or ‘I will just switch on the happy side’ and definitely not ‘I will just hold my chin up’, in fact when folks say chin up or just cheer up it is not only unhelpful but belittles a very real and deadly illness.
The reality is despite having crohns disease, svt of the heart, asthma and diabetes it is most likely if any illness kills me it will either be the depression or anxiety I suffer. I am here still because I hold onto being a father and the duties that entails. The main one being there to catch my children and make them realise they will always be loved, but as they grow older it becomes a lesser argument. My best friend often comes to save me but even then they are limited in time and cannot change my current reality.
Barely a day goes by where I do not either physically or mentally hold a bundle of insulin pens in my hand and ready them to be the vehicle of my release. So far the closest I have got is overdoing one injection by a few units which was very easily remedied. No one knew about this til now because it was never for effect, it however maybe just a dry run.
When I get down it’s never drink related, if already down, when I rarely do drink, it doesn’t help, but when things get truly dark I am usually sober, coherent and alone. I would love it to be that simple a catalyst, but alas there is no such obvious trigger.
There is no simple solution either. I have tried meds, tried counselling but nothing will work. I am fully aware of the causes for me. The chronic phisical illness’ the inability to work, the debt, the loss of self, the loss of direction and yes the being left alone to allow dark thoughts to fester. Overthinking is a terrible affliction especially when you cannot change things due to lack of ability or motivation.
Even if I suddenly could work, a thing I crave more than anything now, I hate not having a meaning, there are other factors in play.
This weekend I truly overdid things, meeting up with friends old and new. Feeling like I belonged again. There was a very harsh physical price which I am paying back today in the form of pain, exhaustion and immobility but it’s a price worth paying. I am today as I write this happy and relaxed. I hope for a while, but change is not at my discretion or within my control. I may be like this for days or minutes. It maybe that a random smile or post keeps me going or sadly a look or comment that Spirals me down.
Depression ribs you of so much, it puts challenges in place that sometimes sadly folk do not overcome. Those people that suffer true depression, not just being a bit upset or sad, a depression that engulfs their life, and yet they still get up each day, they are the true warriors, the bravest because when you have this illness you battle the most vile and dangerous of beasts, and yet no sword or bucket hurts it, you can be struck from any direction, it hides in the shadows, can slip into the bodies if your friends and show you things that are not there. It can attack at any time whether you felt safe or not, if you are awake or asleep, and it plays upon your fears, it eats away at your soul, it is often torture of the worst kind. It has far more weapons in its arsenal than you and the saddest thing is it truly wants to kill you, make you kill you.
That’s an enemy of note.
So this although based on my experience hits so many folk, you, your friends or your family. When you realise someone is depressed do not think you can cure them, you likely won’t. But you can support them, you can recognise the danger they are in. You can be their for them. Not everyone can be saved from the beast this illness becomes, but some can, some will live longer knowing you will be there if they need you, will take comfort from you listening to them.
Do not say come on smile, or it’s not that bad, chances are it’s far worse. You do not know there journey to get where they are, you may see the physical side, some of the causes but the biggest enemy is their own mind, the world this illness creates within our heads and hearts.
Be a real friend and listen without judgement, be a safe outlet for them, and always respect not ridicule.
I am not an expert on the illness, I have no answers on how to rid it, if I did I would not suffer it. I am just a person that fights it oh too often. I can only relate it to me, but maybe some wil recognise this war, maybe some will see we may fight upon separate fronts, but we are not alone, our battles are shared by too many.
Thank you for reading, please share if you feel able, and support my words by liking my blog at http://www.thejonesy.com