So there's that post, Depression Part Two
, that explains so perfectly what depression is for anyone who's not felt it. It was haunting reading it, thinking back to the worst of it - four years ago now, somehow.
"And that's the most frustrating thing about depression. It isn't always something you can fight back against with hope. It isn't even something — it's nothing. And you can't combat nothing. You can't fill it up. You can't cover it. It's just there, pulling the meaning out of everything."
This, this is exactly what I felt, almost constantly for 2 or 3 years. I can't believe how perfectly this encompasses how depression was for me, the lack of hope and emotion and feeling.
And in my case, the antidepressants made it worse, because they just highlighted the emptiness. When I had no downs, it was just constant NOTHING. No sadness, no happiness, no excitement, no hope, no joy. Apathy might even be too descriptive, because apathy suggests feeling nothing, and... I didn't choose to feel nothing. I just woke up each day, and there was no life in me at all. I stopped taking the pills so that I could cry again.
"I somehow managed to convince myself that everything was still under my control right up until I noticed myself wishing that nothing loved me so I wouldn't feel obligated to keep existing."
I never actually wanted
to die, but I couldn't see the point in breathing anymore. I found it hilariously ironic that the only reason I was holding on to physiological 'life' was the knowledge that my friends and family didn't realise how dead I was inside, and when I thought about that, about how my friends wanted 'me' around, even though I had become little more than a shell who just happened to get the facial expressions right most of the time... it wasn't me at all, and when I realised, I wanted to laugh, but I couldn't even crack a smile.
I didn't have a piece of corn to show me hope.
I told my doctor that I didn't want to take any more antidepressants, and I started to cry again. Then, crying made me want to actually deal with the awfulness in my head, so I asked for therapy, and when they said "how about counselling?" I said no, because I was past the point where talking was any good: when you have that kind of depression, and someone asks you what's wrong, the only honest answer is that there is nothing, that you don't know. How do you talk about that? So I asked for CBT, and I got lucky.
It's getting on for 2 years since I had my last therapy session, and I'm not going to tell you that life is brilliant now, because depression like the depression I had doesn't just up and go away overnight. What therapy did for me was teach me how to challenge the negative thoughts, and how to have the confidence so that when the negativity in my head was telling me that the world hated me, I could ask the world if it was true, which is scary as all hell sometimes, but it turns out the world doesn't hate me nearly half as much as the blackness would have me think it does.
Cognitive behavioural therapy isn't a miracle piece of corn hiding under the fridge. It's a lifetime of work, hard work. You go to the sessions and you learn how to do it but when the sessions are over, if you don't keep it up, then the negativity comes back. And it's hard to get the motivation to ask for that help when all you feel is blackness, but as cliché as the phrase has become, it gets better.
A few months ago, with the help of those friends who wanted that empty shell to keep on breathing, to fill back up with life and hope and enjoyment, I learnt how to laugh again.