Mental health matters. An attempt to explain my plight.
I’ve scraped the bottom of my own ocean and sunk as low as I can go. I’ve literally physically battled down there on the sandy, muddy floor with no gills, with the she-monster of my psyche or my soul; the unkind sister I’ve carried with me for as long as I can remember. She has become as real as she can, threating to emerge and reveal herself to strangers and those I’ve kept her hidden from till now. Otherwise, she hides like a shy, demure little girl in my mind; crouching quietly behind the moments in which I manage to quiet her and then rearing her foul, cruel and sniping voice; affectionate and caring at first and then harsh and wicked. When I’ve tried to ignore her; or even in my vain attempts, to be mindful of her, her voice grows louder and more myriadical until she manifests as an invisible bully screaming at me in layers; recriminating me for all of my shortcomings; flashing my life before me in snapshots to demonstrate my failures in vivid colour.
When I awake in the night, she whispers to me that I feel awful; that I will never change and that death awaits us all anyway and there’s absolutely no point in anything, ever.
So for a year I have lived with her quite consciously. Periods of feeling ok but broken, tired and low interspersed with repetitive, increasingly intense episodes of lowness which cause me to lurch from day to day unsure of how it will unfold from within the landscape of my brain which at times seems to physically buzz and burn.
This is my interpretation of depression. That, and with an analogy of birth. I have endured a struggle with this beast and on some days I’ve felt ok. and ok has been remarkable. I’ve felt the air on my cheeks and been able to be in company with my children without the weight of impending doom and misery and guilt and utter fear. I feel that I’ve got through another attack and this feels like a small birth; literally, I see the head of happiness and life emerging from the birth canal of this experience. All of the pain then makes sense and I can do things that other people seem to do; make simple decisions; find a joke funny; anticipate tomorrow with ease and even hope; to smell a waft of inspiration; to formulate a plan of how to earn money or find a job I could be good at…. Then without warning, the head of birth and life, dark and wet and emergent on the cusp of newness and hope, is sucked viciously back into a jealous womb. Darkness prevails and I’m thrown into despair and self loathing.
Up and down I go unable to take a step forward because I keep being pulled back into the dark place with no respite.
I feel that I age during this time; I stop eating; I believe I am being eaten alive by giant parasites in my gut and my brain; I will starve them out I think, and I visualise drinking poison to destroy them. And I am fearful; the horrors that encapsulate my mind spill out and shroud the projections of my children in darkness and hopelessness. Where they sit and speak, full of hopes and high voiced ambitions, I just see decay and death; pain and suffering. Mixed with this is an awareness of the distorted Interpretation I experience; and a profound guilt at not being able to shift the overwhelming darkness even when surrounded by hopeful children that belong to me.
So I consider taking medicine again to even out my moods and help me recover but every part of my being rails against it insisting that I can do this alone; that I am on the verge of something big; a life not spent drowning in a suffocating bubble of melancholia.