There are several forms of depression and the one I have is recurrent depression, and I believe sometimes called unipolar depression. Since I was 18 I have oscillated between ok and down. Drug after drug I have tried and now I am on a combination of five, which I hope will finally level things out. Yet it hasn’t. Evenings are the worst time of day for me now. Writing this in June I a was hoping the light evenings might alleviate this dip in mood but it hasn’t and I feel terrible most days.
I want to mention about depression being perceived as a weakness. In certain workplaces I have known people to be absent for some time only for colleagues to spout ”e’s not depressed’ in that smug manner people seem to do. There is no shame in being depressed and it is not a weakness. If someone breaks a leg and can’t walk they don’t brush it off and hope it will mend it self. It won’t, and the same applies to depression. Left untreated it can lead to, not in all cases, psychosis, and suicidal behaviour. There is also the problem of self-medicating to hold back the symptoms. The main one being alcohol. I testify to this as I used to drink every night after work just to blot out the memories of the day. Thankfully I haven’t done any long term damage to my body, apart from a beer belly, well as far as I know, but my liver and kidneys are fine. That had to stop because it is a ticket to the void because the next morning all you start thinking about is when you can next have a drink, which leads to more depression. I haven’t drunk for six months, although that is not to say I never will again, it’s I just don’t feel the need to.
Taking the theme of weakness it seems this is more prevalent in males. Working in a male dominated environment, like I did, is not the best place to be mentally ill. If you have some very low days when you don’t feel like being in a constant happy, smiley mood, it soon becomes apparent to peers that, well, you are a miserable bastard. This, again, lead to a lowered self esteem and of course depression. So you spin round, moods change more rapidly, anxiety builds, you self-medicate, everything seems to be pointed inwards as if you are in something like The Truman Show. So you get paranoid, tired, jumpy, nervous tics develop, you become clumsy, and sometimes irrational, sometimes tearful, and like me you shake. My hands had a tremor although I am not sure if it was a side effect of the lithium or the situation I was in. Them it all goes pop and you have to take your hand out of the fire and leave the torture chamber. I remember taking some very anxious trips to my GP after work, trembling, spluttering, suicidal, for an emergency appointment. Thankfully, in the short term, they would give me a sick note. That was fine but I still had to return to the maesltrom at some point for the whole thing to start over again.
For me mental pain is so much worse then physical pain. I have a back problem that requires codeine or tramadol every now and then, and I would rather have that forever if I could be guaranteed no more mental angst. That is just hypothetical of course because you need to feel something at the blue end of brain pain. Like the passing of a loved one, but that is rational and expected. Mental illness is a disfigurement of cognitive processes or chemical imbalances. It is as unnatural to being healthy as useless as a broken arm is. I don’t want to feel like this. I wish I didn’t have to take a stack of pills but I’ve got to keep fighting, because I can’t pretend what will inevitably happen if we give in, won’t happen.
Self pity is a strong emotion when depression beds in.