Depression: A Confession
When I had my breakdown, a large part of it stemmed from feeling very lonely. I felt that I would be alone forever, that nobody could possibly love me. My previous track record with men supported the view that I had something terribly wrong with me, and once people discovered it they would leave, never to return. I felt so desperately lonely, and could see no way out of that; I believed that I would just be alone forever. I have never been one of those popular people with loads of friends; I’ve always been a bit of a loner. When I was really ill, I believed this was because the people who knew me disliked me, and others could sense this, and didn’t want to get to know me.
That’s no secret; I’ve written about that feeling a lot in the last few years – and I went on national TV to talk about it.
The thing is, even months or years before my breakdown, even months or years afterwards, even now – that feeling is still there. I am faced with the prospect that “recovery” for me doesn’t mean I no longer feel that way; perhaps recovering just means I’m better able to avoid paying it too much attention. Perhaps it means I can just put on a better front, make a better argument in the face of those thoughts.
Logically, I know that these thoughts are probably just a symptom of the illness. But in the same way that knowing my suicidal ideation was most likely a side effect of my medication didn’t make me any less inclined to throw myself off a bridge, knowing these feelings are probably incorrect does not make them much easier to deal with. I still feel that there must be something fundamentally wrong with me, and on bad days I find that feeling hard to ignore.
This is something that has always been with me. The ex, an expert abuser, found those feelings and used them against me on a daily basis – something which probably still contributes to how I feel now, more than two years since we ceased contact with him.
Let me be absolutely clear here: I am not suicidal. I am not about to throw myself off a bridge or otherwise harm myself. Having S means I have something to live for, and also something to make me drag myself through most of my depression. Having her means I just force myself to ignore my depressive feelings. I do my best not to think about it, I try to stay busy, and reason with myself that with a toddler in my life 24/7, and sleeping in my bed, there is no space for romance any way – so it doesn’t matter than I’m unlikely to find someone. And I’m not really alone, any way; I have S. So it’s fine. No need to worry.
But I am plagued by these thoughts, and they never really go away. They pop up any time someone cancels plans or lets me down. Any time I like a man who doesn’t like me. And often in the evenings, when S is in bed and I realise I am all alone. It’s been worse since the move, probably because of the stress. But also moving house is when you really notice that you’re on your own. Nobody to help lift that heavy wardrobe, nobody to offer an opinion on where the TV should go, nobody to help unpack endless boxes.
About a week before we moved house, I had four migraines in the space of three days. I could have put this down to stress, but since I was also taking a contraceptive pill with a risk of DVT and stroke, I thought it prudent to stop taking it. I didn’t have time to see a doctor about it, so I just stopped taking them and unleashed a tide of hormones right before one of the most stressful times of my life. I am aware that with my hormones all over the place, I am unlikely to be feeling fantastic right now. But on the other hand, I felt like this before I stopped taking the pill. I felt like this before I started taking it. I felt like this before I even knew what the contraceptive pill was, if I’m being totally honest.
I’m starting to think that perhaps there is no “cure” for this illness in the normal sense of the word. Perhaps these thoughts will be here forever, lurking at the back of my mind and ready to jump forward at the first sign of trouble. Worse, perhaps these thoughts are not a symptom of an illness, so much as a suspicion of the truth. Who really knows?
I can totally empathise with you. I have suffered on and off with depression most of my adult life (fab 40 now!) & it's not nice. I also think there is no cure, only best attempts to manage it. But that is what your thoughts are - depression. It isn't truth it is insecurity. Low confidence as well which is totally understandable if you were in an abusive relationship. You don't need a man to validate your likeability, as far as your loneliness goes try to gradually make new friends. Perhaps introduce yourself to your new neighbours? Join a local mother & baby group. Meet up with some local bloggers (we're a nice lot!). Take it one step at a time if you are nervous. Let people know you are nervous - chances are some of them are as well. My own depression is triggered by many things, low self esteem myself, the bastard my father was, always worrying my partner will leave me for someone else because I'm "not good enough" (my words - I don't mean not good enough for him, but just in general). A chronic physical condition I have that has led me to losing a job I had spent 3 years getting a degree for as a mature student, a really tough time we had last year with my beautiful (now 17 yr old) daughter ( see post here if interested http://www.andreasmake-upartistry.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/mental-illness-and-self-harm-my.html) which made me feel like I had failed as a mother and caused me to distance myself from my 6 yr old for a long time worrying that I would fail him to etc etc. probably like you I have good days & bad & the bad are horrendous whereby I can easily spend days on end staying in bed, only getting up to use the toilet. But I am trying as I am sure you are to. If you want to "talk" more at all my email address is email@example.com take care xxxx
I think you are a very brave lady. Not only do you share your experiences with others to help them, but you get up every day and put a smile on your face, even when you really don't feel like it, for the sake of your little one. It sounds to me like you are doing an awesome job of being a mama! I'm sure it must be very hard to push the bad thoughts away, but I hope that you manage to beat them and find the happiness that you very much deserve xx
I'm not sure it ever full goes away, it's always lurking in the background somewhere, waiting. I'm trying to manage mine by taking St. John's Wort everyday and being aware of how I'm feeling. So far so good but I don't know what the answer s long term. Loneliness is a big hurdle, I know. I think you're doing the right thing talking about it though, it's difficult to admit to depression. I wish you all the best x Jean recently posted...British crime dramas worth watching
I have so much in common with you its scary! I am in and out of depression and the dating game can really increase it. It's amazing the games these guys play even in the initial stages of dating! Thanks for linking to #singleparentlinky I look forward to reading more from you! Claire Jacobs recently posted...My New Single Parent Linky!
It's so hard to trust somebody after you have been treated badly by others. Let's hope over time we can trust. Candace recently posted...Wordless Wednesday (29 October 2014)
I don't think it ever goes away to be honest. I was depressed and then my life switched for the better but I still get down. You are an amazing lady and a brilliant mother and you should be extremely proud of yourself. You are so brave to write down your experience to help others and I'm sure it helps you too. If you ever need to talk, you know where I am. We need to arrange a meet up x Sharon Powell recently posted...Trendy Tot Thursday
I think it's great that you share your experiences and thoughts. Many people have depression and don't openly talk about it. They don't share it as they fear they are the only ones and I think more should be open and brave about it. It can really help others admit they have it talk openly about it and seek help if they need to live a better life with it. My sister has suffered for years for it and while I agree I don't think there a cure she has come along way in learning more about it and how to live a life with it. You are so brave and great to share this. Thanks for linking up to Share With Me #sharewithme jenny recently posted...Sunday photo 43/52
The mummy madness
I have these feeling sometimes usually when i feel out of my depth, I live on this my strength is made great in weakness. Evrry low point is followed by a blessing its just riding that time out. I Its hard being a mum let being on your own and I bet you are doing a fab job, I hope this post can help someone out there and also help you. Thanks for joining in to The Sunday Round up x The mummy madness recently posted...The Sunday Round up - 02/11/2014
Hello. Thank you for writing such a brave post. I have suffered from depression since I was in my early 20's and I can completely relate to this. Ultimately, I feel that I am quite unlikeable and doubt that people truely like me. I do think it is a symptom of the negative thinking that accompanies depression. Also, you need to remember that you are going through a lot at the moment. Moving house is a huge achievement. You should be proud of your achievement and be kind to yourself. From everything I have read in your blog, you are a lovely lovely person, who is beautiful inside and out. You will not be alone forever and you will not feel like this forever. Hugs Mrs H xxxx Mrs H recently posted...The Mummy witching hour: When chaos descends
I feel like this all the time too - except that I don't want a relationship anyway (I'm sick of being told where to put the furniture and pushed around). But the reality for me is that people don't like me, and I honestly don't know why. I'm not a horrible person, I'm always nice to people and try so hard not to put a foot wrong. I've tried being different, being what others say I should be, but that just led to a breakdown and I can't do it any more. Sometimes things are going well, I seem to be ok with everyone, and I forget that I'm different, but then something always happens to remind me that I'm not really wanted, not really part of this world. I don't think depression ever does really get cured - it's always there, even if it's just a quiet hum in the background.
Depression never really goes away, it'll always be there lurking in the back of your mind ready to spring. I have been through this myself but haven't had an 'episode' for two years but I'm always aware that the git exists. *hug* AJ Writer’s block and broken lenses
As a fellow sufferer of depression I think it is a tendency of the illness to dwell on the bad elements of our lives, I have fallen into depressions after having the most innocuous of comments directed my way, things most people would just shrug off, but we kind of go over them for days on end and it drags us down. I think that mindset can be a signal to us that we may need to seek help (when my brain is functioning "correctly" I can let things go, even the most personal of stuff, when it is "misfiring" I suffer with anything (I use the terms in quotation marks only as a term that is easy to understand). Things can get better though, I have not suffered a deep depression for a few years now (touch wood it continues, I know it is always at the back of my mind that it may return again at any moment). You are strong enough to have known there was an issue (and continues to be) and strong enough to not be ashamed of your illness and those are vital steps on the road to wellness. I think when you learn your triggers (either through therapy or with your own thoughts) you can also find the ways to cope and learn ways to prevent things getting worse (well I have found this personally but I guess we are all different). Ashley Beolens recently posted...The Great Tinsel Debate
I've read a few entries on your blog, and although I won't pretend it's a happy story, it is one that is not uncommon. I know a number of people with clinical depression (usually related to some form of anxiety disorder), and I had my own bout with depression as a result of a significant life trauma. From everything I know, the thoughts will never truly go away, but hopefully you have been able to identify which thinking patterns are healthy and which are part of the illness. Make sure you love yourself everyday. All the best. Drew recently posted...Putting in Effort