Sunday, November 18, 2012

Depression - Shades of life...

Part of the Cestrian Dreams Project
Article author: Alwyn Ash

I am stronger than depression! But depression has a way of creeping in, an extreme that decays self-belief...

It seems like a lost battle, a war of unequal odds. Following on from my previous two articles focusing on depression, I felt it was time for an update in my struggles living alongside this destructive ilness.

Funny how, just when you think something is becoming less severe, it resurfaces only to hit back twice as hard. There are times when I blame myself, think that I deserve the brutality and insanity - perhaps I don't deserve happiness? There are even days when I believe the world is against me, paranoia on a level that frightens me. I look at those who love me, and question them, doubt their feelings. Why would anyone wish to love me? There are days when nothing in this world is enough and all I think about is death. Perhaps there is peace in that dark place...

(And, no - this is NOT a suicide note!)

If you already feel that this article is too much then I suggest you leave now. But, just consider, for someone like me, there is no way to "leave", my battle with depression is daily, a struggle against uncertainty, pain, and ongoing madness. That is how it feels. Imagine, there is no escape, unless I succumb to the kind of anti-depressants that numb everything, all emotions and senses. But, honestly, is that any way to exist?

These past many months I have been focusing on small but important tasks, things that help me to reach the next day, the following month, something that offers hope. But lately my insecurities have returned, harder and sharper. Uncertainty has crept in, biting and tearing. I truly thought these days were over, that I had somehow managed to overcome the worst. And then the self-harming, another pain that I had faced head on, never truly left me. I feel shaken, confused. All I want - have ever wanted - is hope.

But perhaps that is another luxury that I do not deserve, have never deserved? It does make you consider...

I am also learning that there are two sides to love: the warm, embracing kind that feeds you with happiness, a contentment that cannot be found elsewhere; and the pain of heartbreak when events and feelings turn, the uncertainty and yearning for answers and understanding. Whether it be in a loving relationship, or with family and friends, love can be complicated. Unsettling. The passing of my grandmother this October shook my world. It affected me in a way I just did not consider. This, only my second experience of losing someone close...

We all want to feel safe, too, happy and secure in the knowledge that our lives mean something. But depression enhances those emotions that drive us, or hold us back. Something that is trivial to one person becomes extreme for others. The ongoing struggle intensifies. So, instead of focusing on a problem or setback with a clear head and reason, issues mutate into a creature that is so grotesque and dark. You just want to flee, escape from the horror of it all. Logic plays no part in depression, I am afraid.

And yes, I AM AFRAID! Medication makes the bite just that little bit less severe, but there is no cure. And even through counselling, there is still that sense of being alone. You spend, what, an hour, in the company of a professional, who knows absolutely nothing about you, your true feelings or experiences? And how many years of pain must you get through in order to face the challenges ahead? How many times must you repeat the madness, explaining and soul searching...

There is something else, too: so many good things, positive steps, can be destroyed in a second by one painful moment, a single experience that resets your emotions and makes you question: what was it all for?

The complexities of Humankind gets me also, perhaps I have never grown to feel comfortable with the world. They say that there are those who are born without the abilities to cope with life. That, no matter how many years they spend fighting and learning, it is never enough. Truthfully, I am one of those who struggle. Have always struggled. Something I read today on a website, "I am forgettable", certainly hurts, that feeling that no matter how hard you try, how much you climb - it amounts to nothing, in the end.

Self-pity? Maybe. But isn't that what depression does: mocks, encourages disbelief and uncertainty, feeds emotions with such intensity that you want to crawl away and die? Isn't depression the beast within?

I just want to be held, both physically and emotionally.


Cestrian Dreams was founded by Alwyn Ash in December 2012, with the aim of highlighting mental illness, raising awareness, and helping to overcome the stigma associated with the disease. Originally set up with its very own website, Cestrian has now been incorporated with Alwyn's personal site.

"1 in 4 will suffer with some form of mental health issues"