today, i was asked if i had seen the programme called ‘mind games – depression’ in sport. i hadnt, but soon found it on iplayer.
an incredibly well made, honest, open and moving piece of television in which various well known sportsmen talked about their battles with the illness. some real noteworthy quotes, and i would recommend anyone watch it, for a small insight to the impact it has had on some people. at the beginning, one of the quotes said by someone was ‘depression is not discriminatory’. how true is that. depression has the ability to hit you, me, anyone. the rich, the poor. the famous, non famous. it has the ability to hit anyone, regardless of their race, culture, faith, profession, background, past or current circumstance.
whilst not denying, that people whom have had ‘issues’ in the past, perhaps childhood abuse, or significant traumatic events often suffer with mental health illness, and depression, its so important to know that it also hits people without those past circumstances too. there seems to be no rhyme or reasons as to who it chooses, and why … i know people who are unwell and whom have had sad lives, i know people who are unwell who have had reasonably settled lives.
today, i was also asked, by someone different to try and explain it … unpack it more … try and give them some kind of understanding of where i have been at, where i am at, and how depression has been a part of my life. and as i thought of how to go about that process, of telling them what i could, i realised i was not sure how to go about it. what could i say? how could i possibly describe to someone who admits and professes herself to have never had depression so therefor does not understand it what its like?
how is it possible to make that person know what its like … i dont know if it is? or if i should … i guess the only thing i can do is share some of the experience, and give her, you, and whoever is reading this blog the opportunity to know little bits of my story.
the difficult thing is, i am not entirely sure where to begin … my mind does not always think logically, or with a pattern, so i apologise if this comes across as rambling.
in my head i have used a vase to illustrate what was happening to my life. it was a glass vase, holding pretty flowers. those flowers then got chopped at, chipped at, pulled apart, buds taken off, until eventually only the stems were left, and as time went on, they died anyway, and had to be thrown away. So all was left was the glass vase, that held the flowers. just the vase, until one day, that vase was dropped, and it smashed. into lots of pieces. all over the floor. and there they stayed … until for some reason those pieces of smashed glass were picked up … and dropped again … and each piece then crumbled into smaller pieces … and so it continued, over and over, picked up, and dropped, until eventually, all that were left were little shards of glass, so small, so tiny, so smashed they could not be picked up any more … and they couldn’t be smashed any more. it was well and truly broken.
imagine that being a life … my life.
i was slowly being grounded down, into those so very tiny fragments … all that was around me was black.
and i think, actually, that its the black that is the most hardest part of this to explain. obviously the sky was not black … but i guess it could have been. i would have never been surprised if i had one day looked up to see it dark. i cant explain the black. but it was like a cloud, just hovering over me, everywhere i went, surrounding everything i did. it was there, day and night, no escaping from it. it closed me in … and continued to close in on me, as those glass pieces continued to break …
when things become so low, so bad, so dark, you begin to lose all sense of anything, all sense of reality. i began to convince myself no one loved me, i began to convince myself that i was unloveable … and it wasn’t hard doing. i managed to teach myself that my life was not worth anything, and that it didnt matter whether i was here or not. i managed to get into my head that this darkness was life, nothing else existed, and actually, why should it, why would i deserve anything other. why would/should anyone think i am worth anything … and then i turned on myself even more. i didnt care about myself, believed so heartily that no one else did either, so what did it matter. thats when things took leap to another level … another level of lowness, that i didnt think was ever possible to reach.
think of a film set … a dreary building, lots of rooms, lots of stairs, red bricked, petty grim on the outside, and not much better on the inside. think of someone being escorted into that building, through the big sliding double doors, and turning left. Going up stairs and to another set of rooms and corridors. Finally stopping at a small room, with one sash type window, half open, a chair, and a sofa. brightly coloured. think of that person, lying on the floor, in a ball, cuddling themselves … underneath the window, and not moving for hours. not moving when the rain fell, and storm began, and they got wet, because the window was open. not moving when a cup of tea was bought in, or the man who had escorted this person into the building sat on the floor and tried to talk. not moving for hours. until the black mascara filled tear drops dried out on the streaky face. until eventually cramp set in. fearfully looking up, to find someone sat on a chair, in the corner of the room. just sitting. watching, and waiting.
i wish it was something from a film … but it wasnt. Isnt. That someone was me. And that escort person was one of the people responsible for me still being here today (for which, now, i am truly grateful!) …
i was lucky that day … i was not kept in. in fact, i was let out, to go home, back to the flat i at that time lived in alone, with regular phone called and 3 x daily visits, despite having made serious attempts to no longer exist.
why had i done that? thinking about it right now … well, i dont know … i guess i could not see a way out. i could not see an alternative. i could not see any possible way for all those little broken pieces of glass to mend … to fix, to be molded back into something worth having … worth holding, worth loving.
the dark overwhelmed me.
and sometimes, almost two years on from that day, i am still overwhelmed. Depression isnt something that if you just click your fingers it will go away. it isnt something that if you just tell yourself to snap out of it, it will go away. depression is not something that will mend in a few weeks time, like a broken bone, it isnt something that a few pills being taken will solve.
for some, in fact many, for me its a long long journey. one that is painful at times, challenging, hard work, tiring, emotional, scary … it involves being vulnerable … it involves allowing people into my life, allowing people to love me, accepting their care, their love, their support, and that is not always easy. Its fair to say, the last two/three years of my life have seen a small handful of really amazing people, who have walked by my side, and have held my hand all the way. Be it by texts, safe houses to sleep in, phone calls, chocolate bars through the post and many other things. and i truly appreciate that. these people have not judged me, and have accepted me for who i am. in my irrational moments, i fear those people getting bored of me, or that i am too much of a burden to them … however, i only have admiration and love for these beautiful human beings, some of whom are teaching me life is worth living, and that it is possible to live!
for me, this isnt a topic i will write about once, and then thats it, never to be spoken about again. because i will write more about it, in the coming days/weeks/months. more about depression, life, self harm, hurting, and the rollercoaster world of Hmphz.
however, i wanted to write all of the above, to throw it out there a bit more … especially after watching this documentary, and the candid bravery these famous people had telling their story.
thank you for reading.