2 “Famous” people took their lives this week. This has got me thinking, not about suicide as much as about depression. According to http://www.cmha.ca in any given year 1 in every 5 Canadians will be personally affected my a mental health problem. They also say that 8% of adults will experience major depression in their lives. Depression is as common as a cold and as openly talked about as hemorrhoids (bet that is an analogy you won’t hear again). The severity of the depression you feel is moot when you are dealing with it. Depression is the darkness that follows you, the negative voice that is whispering in your ear, it’s the sight of the reflection staring back at you in a mirror of doubt that is playing tricks on you. It is sad that we don’t talk about mental illness a lot in our day-to-day, imagine how things would be different or lives saved if we did.
I have suffered with depression since I was 14, that is a lot of years of combat with myself. As I stated when starting this blog, only the truth from me, So in the spirit of that truth, the battles I waged where not all clean victories, I have scars and medical records to prove not that I was beaten; but that I was challenged and whether I felt like fighting I came out some sort of victor. During my darkest periods I was heavily medicated, anti depressants, anti anxiety, anti psychotics, large doses of each every day. I went from angry, and depressed to numb and dazed. I would take “drug” holidays usually for longer then I should and for all the wrong reasons. Shame…. no one but those closest to me knew and it wasn’t them that made me feel the shame is that the depression. Vicious circle. Now I need to be clear, I do not think there is anything wrong with taking anti depressants, quite the opposite, if you are ill in whatever form that comes in mediation that makes you feel better is more than ok with me. However all the mood stabilizers and stuff I was on never made me feel better or more balanced it made me feel nothing and when nothing became too much a holiday I would take. My depression however severe was always manageable, even when I felt it wasn’t it never truly got the best of me. My mom asked me when I was probably 15, 16 what it felt like, she wanted so desperately to understand to fix (thanks Mom xx) I would tell her I hear white noise. A static that the more sad, or angry I became the louder it got. I felt like darkness was my only ally, my bed hiding from the world was my only peace. That breathing caused this catastrophic pain and took all the energy I had. The nothing was wrong, that everything was wrong all at once. I would tell her that there was nothing she could do. I was hiding dark things from her, from everyone, that if I just pretended even for minutes a day that I was “good” “fine” “happy” I would be left with these demons , this static, and all would feel normal. It wasn’t until my late 20’s after seeing psychologists, councillors, and studying psychology learning my destructive behaviours recognizing my patterns that I decided to once again holiday from the medication. This is the longest I have gone and there are days where I think maybe I should go back but, everyday I wake up and make the decision to choose not to let the noise get to me (I still hear it) to get out of bed- stop hiding and be unapologetically me.
It sounds so easy, I mean why isn’t everyone doing it. Because it is no easy. and in all fairness sometimes it is not healthy. However this was works for me. Having said that I am not cured, I have suffered some real lows through the years, I have suffered loss, heartbreak, in fact my entire world came crashing down and almost everything I thought was real turned out to be secrets and self truths, yet through it all I woke every morning and chose to leave the bed, I may not have made it further than the couch but I saw sunlight, heard music and that was a win.
I know few days in I am already rambling talking (writing) about heavy things real things. That is the goal, that is my mission, that is my passion. I like talking about the things that most don’t (not necessarily divulging such details about myself- but I am not ashamed of them so maybe sharing them is the right thing). I have nothing to lose by doing so, and neither do any of you. My point, there is always someone out there that is willing to talk, listen or just be there.