Sunday, July 10, 2011

What Lies Beneath

Tonight I have to write about depression (sorry Finian, autism is sooo last season dahling).

Mostly my depression is kept under wraps with medication and sound advice from my wonderful GP.
Occasionally, though, despite my best efforts, it sneaks up on me and takes grip and I'd like to try to explain what it's like.
Because I'm fun like that.

I can't get to grips with the fact that on the surface I seem fine, while a big black hole is circling deep beneath the surface.

I can talk, move, work through my daily jobs and care for my family.
I can converse, respond and act appropriately...except I'm not really there at all..

It's as if my true self has become invisible, and I feel impotent rage that no-one has noticed I've vanished.
This rage is utterly unfair, as how can anyone know how I feel if I don't have the words to tell them?
At the same time I crave to become invisible and wish for nothing more than to exist on a bare island with no links to the mainland.

I'm not sharing this to elicit dramatic interventions or rescues.
I can live with depression, mostly quite comfortably, but sometimes it just weighs a little heavy.
I'm just trying to give you a snapshot of what depression is...I suppose to give you a small window (if you want to peep into it!) into my world.

I suppose, like autism, depression is easy to dismiss because on the surface I appear so (*cough*) normal.
We have all heard the phrases "lighten up", "you think too much", "you could snap out of it if you really tried".
I would give almost anything if it was that simple.
I missed my medication one day last week (one feckin day!) and boy am I suffering the consequences.

There's no need for anyone to worry on my behalf, as I will get through this trough, as always.

I don't purposely hide my low-times... I'm just trying to figure out why I bury them from sight in a spinal reflex.
Is it shame at appearing weak?
Is it dread that I will be abandoned?
Is it fear that I am not worth being listened to?

Anyway, I have learned that the only way to deal with episodes like these are lots of chocolate and 30 tea and maybe a glass of pinot noir (excellent for depression, whatever the "experts" say).
I have learned to become accepting of times like these and not to waste time and energy fighting it.
It will pass.
I have learned that I have good (and very special) friends I don't have to pretend know who you are...the ones who don't bat an eye when I cancel going out with you (again) because I'm a bit too mad.

I'm just trying to explain what depression is like as if/when I see you I surely won't have the words.

Right, where's that chocolate?


  1. Thanks for giving us such a descriptive insight into how depression feels for you Jean. I'm sure that those close to you can sense you're beneath the surface even though you appear 'normal' on the outside. I can sense it with my mother... at this stage I know it's hitting before she does! It is such a silent, debilitating condition and sufferers tend to keep it under wraps. Well done on speaking out ;-)

    Do you ever find that when you're well you think 'why am I taking so many pills...i don't need them anymore'? My mam was forever saying that. All it takes is one day to remind you how vital they are...and maybe that's a good thing!

    keep hanging in there jean :-)

    ((xx)) Jazzy

  2. It's the most appalling feeling, your insides don't match your outsides. It's been a blessedly long time since I felt like that but your description really brought it all back. This too will pass and you will soon be back on an even keel. xxx

  3. Your description of what depression is like is so spot on. I also struggle with it, and I thank you for articulating the struggle. Hugs.

  4. @ Jazzy, that's gas...when I feel well (which luckily is most of the time) I consider chucking them all in the bin. And yes, it doesn't take much to throw a bucket of cold water over that idea
    @ Alison, I'm feeling better even already. Love ya honey (hope you're not drunk writing this)
    @ A&A, thanks so much

  5. Ah snap out of it and quit your whinging!!! (sorry, couldn't resist xxx). You know I loves ya xxxxx

  6. Jean, I loved it. I also have depression, and it's gotten worse with life (that sounds wrong, hmm?), you know what I mean, I think. I look at my wreck of a house now and remember when it was completely spotless (even with two small chilren) and I always made sure I had a schedule to follow. Now we "eat European style", around 9 or 10pm every night and two nights ago I let the kids stay up until 2:30am, just because it seemed like too much work to put them to bed. Ugh, maybe a med increase is in order? lol.

    p.s. I think something's wrong with blogger. You're the second person I tried to follow today, but your follow button didn't show up. Mine's been doing that off and on as well. I'll be back!

  7. I've always felt that the saying that "misery loves company" doesn't really apply to depression. To me it's as if you've fallen into a deep, grave-like hole, and there's no one to get you out but yourself. Except that you're so very tired. It's a very alone kind of thing, even if you are surrounded by people.

    Chocolate is good. I think that you should have some extra. Calorie free! :-)

  8. @ Yvonne, the tiredness is unreal, and to summon up enough mental energy to do the daily stuff (or even the, ahem, 2.30am stuff) is often a bridge too far. Hope you call back soon!
    @ NJAMB, That's exactly what it's like! And I've eaten my own body weight in chocolate this weekend...mmmmm

  9. I don't pretend to understand depression, but your posts about it certainly help. Here's hoping the need for large amounts of chocolate eases soon...though it would be a shame to give it up completely xx

  10. It sounds like you have set up wonderful ways to get passed those tough moments. Sometimes just getting up and moving can help too.

  11. I adore 30 Rock. It pulls me out of the the blues. I'm reading Bossypants now which I highly recommend.

    That said, don't you just LOVE people who think that thinking is the root of all evil? Bad feelings and thoughts can be cured by not thinking!! Hmph.

  12. @ JD4's Mom, keeping physically active is a really important pert of recovery
    @ KLZ, bad thinking!
    Thanks for your comments

  13. It's hard to be in a dark place like that. Definitely self-advocate w/ your doctor or therapist if you need something more. It's hard but sometimes that is the best way through it.

  14. Thanks for writing this. I've been thinking lately how I need to go to the doctor for meds. I've struggled on and off with depression as well, but it seems that when my son is having a hard time, and requiring a lot of intervention, my mood starts sinking rapidly.

    I know the feeling. You are not alone!

  15. Hey Jean, pass the chocolate would ya??? Double Dutch Chocolate ice-cream is my fav...

    Thank you for a very well said post about how it feels.

  16. What a perfect, haunting description. Very well written.

  17. @ Lisa, the whole key to depression is to get help, you're absolutely right
    @ Flannery, I really would encourage you to see your GP. It changed my life when I got help
    @ Lizbeth, no! It's MY chocolate!
    @ Megan, thanks

  18. You write so eloquently.

    What I find most surprising about depression is how difficult it is to remember what it is like not to be depressed once one is in the midst of it. Coming out is such startlement: how did I not realize it had gotten that bad? I just kept going, and I got through it, but gosh, how did I not remember how different it was to feel good?