Friday, 10 May 2013

It's all in the mind.

When my Doctor first discussed with me depression I was really surprised.  My expectations of someone with depression was not me.  It was someone who was sad and lonely.  I am neither. 

I was given three options when I found myself in an uncontrollable state of not being able to speak sitting in the doctors surgery.  Time off work – which I took.  Anti-depressants which I didn’t and counselling which I thought about.

I was so surprised by the suggestion of all of the above that it didn’t really register for a long time what he was telling me;  I needed help.

I was for the first time in my life (or at least that’s how it felt) not in control.

I took two weeks off work and during that time I cried a lot.  I found myself in a position where I was telling people I wasn’t OK.  And that it was OK to do that.

I was lucky, my Doctor had made a return appointment for me at the end of the two weeks to discuss how I was feeling.  He gave me the three options again and having had time to think about some things, (not everything, the thought of antidepressants didn’t really evolve), I confirmed that I would return to work and take the route of the counselling. 

This was at a period of my life where a lot of things had happened in a short amount of time, and I underestimated how much time I needed to give myself to deal with them.  I also underestimated how often I will say, “yeah, I’m fine, how are you?” and not admit that quite frankly I feel like ***.   I knew I needed to address all the things that I was feeling, but I didn’t know what that would look like. 

For me it was someone telling me I was wrong.  Challenging that my behaviour was irrational or disproportionate.  I expected my counsellor to change the way I thought rather than let me be right.

I found the counselling challenging.  I found it difficult at first to open up as I was cynical.  I didn’t know how to manage the emotions inside me, but I did get used to crying in front of people!

Possibly one of the most cathartic things at the time was telling people that I was seeing a counsellor.  A lot of people said, “so have I” and were great, a lot of people didn’t know how to react and the conversation moved on.

I resigned from my job and move on. 

I spent the three months seeing the counsellor waiting for a lightning bolt of an answer which didn’t come.  But now, 5 years later, I am more comfortable with my rollercoaster of a life.  I know that I will feel good, I will feel bad, I will think about disappearing and I will want to disappear, but I also know that the feeling won’t last. 

I know that I might wake up tomorrow morning and feel a whole lot better.  I know that I can smile and generally get through it.  I know that I can tell some people and I know that I can’t tell others.  I know that I often need a hug and I know that more people than we realise will feel the same way.

I also know that depression is more complex than I ever thought and is not the end of the world, but I also know that sometimes it really does feel that way.

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