Thursday, 27 June 2013

The Seat Beside Me

Depression is always sitting in the seat just beside me.  I’m told it won’t always but here I am, nearly 2 years after my first depressive episode and the darkness is always chasing me, gaining on me, trying to push me off my seat.   I ran out of breath running from it and a few weeks ago it started to win.

Some days I can’t run quickly enough to get away from it.  It tends to be the days I don’t get out of the starting gate straight away.  Those are the days when I find that I've not showered or accomplished anything beyond getting out of my bed and yet it is time to do the school run to pick up my daughter at the end of the day.

Of course, some days are better than those days when I couldn't manage to even get out of bed.  But these days aren't nearly on par with those days when I used to go mach 10 with my hair on fire.  Neither extreme is particularly healthy.

It was 30 years of those mach 10 days that knocked me down into my hole.  That’s not entirely accurate.  It was 10 years of doing mach 10 and being metaphorically smacked down daily for doing mach 10 that caused me to trip.  And fall.

I’d gotten myself back upright and standing.  But beyond standing, I rarely manage more than a couple steps forward before the doubt and fear sets in and I sit back down before I fall down again.

I’ve got myself surrounded by people, supremely qualified mental health professionals, a loving family, and an army of generous and kind friends, who help keep me out of the darkness.  They listen.  They hug.  They encourage.  They medicate.

But much of my day depends on me.  And therein lies the trouble.  I am fearful of the depression.  I can’t remember a day when I didn't think about it.  It is always sitting in the seat just beside me.  I can feel it's cold hand and searing heart.  Everywhere I go even when I stay put. 

I miss the old me.  The miss the sharpness of my mind, the ability to gather tremendous data and make sense of it all so I could define a clear course of action.  Now I listen to instructions and get lost in the words.  I make mistakes.  I stammer.   My brain stutters.  I live in a constant fog.

I can’t plan meals.  I can’t help my children with their homework.  I can’t explain to my husband why I get things wrong all the time.  I can’t describe to anyone why I can’t get a job.  My friends want to help but I don't know how to ask for what.

A few weeks ago, as an act of desperation, I took myself off of all my medication.  I knew we couldn't afford the annual prescription fee and I thought that my cocktail of daily pills was responsible for making my head feel confused.  I wanted to help my family out of the financial hole we are in.  I thought if I could get back to the old me I could help.

It shouldn't come as a surprise to those who suffer from this debilitating illness that this didn’t work.

Instead I am in the pit of darkness from which there feels there is no escape.  I have precisely 4 days of private medical care left before the policy expires and we can’t afford to buy more.  I will then be in the hands of the NHS and we know how that it likely to end.

My husband is now left angry and disappointed and betrayed.  My children are left frightened and anxious.  My friends are befuddled and helpless.  And I sit in the darkness wishing it would all end whilst depression has decided to sit in my lap.  Again.

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