I’ve lived with anxiety and depression for all of my adult life – the last 30 years and counting. It comes in tides and it is only fairly recently that I’ve come to understand the signs that it’s got me in its grip – when my circumstances feel like a trap I cannot get out of, when the me of that conflagration in my life long ago says I died back then and there is no other self, that fragile feeling of bungling through everything at work, of the painful memories that still trigger a deep, deep sense of guilt that I can’t talk to anyone about, ever…
When I get hit with an episode though, there are several things I do throughout the blackness and after a time, it eventually lifts.
I just walk through it and try to avoid focusing on the hell going on at the back of my mind. I think about what I have to do next, and next, and next, all the way through the present to the end of the day. I think about how to go about doing each necessary duty and then do the segments of the task bit by bit. I keep on walking all the while talking to myself to keep on going.
It’s nice to lie down in the dark in the foetal position with the blinds closed and let the day and the night rock me. But I don’t stay there too long or I’ll enter a land far away from here where there is no time. After a while I know I must get up and get something done and lie there for a while quietly, visualizing the task that will take me back into today and then say ‘alright, let’s do this!’ and get up.
Go for a walk outside, into the open air and the sunshine (take a hat) or the rain (take an umbrella). I like to walk for an hour towards my favourite park and observe what kind of bird-life is out and about today, admire the clouds, the colours in the street, the weather and try to describe what shifting colours of the water in the bay there are today. Those lone moments can catapult me back into a reality that is fun and adventurous and there is no-one there to distract from it or complicate things. Often I feel the black cloud start to lift on the way home and realise with relief it is the beginning of the end of it.
I talk to people about it. I have a sister and parents I can go into detail about these things from time to time. That helps. I also see my psychiatrist every couple of months and of course the prescribed daily meds help.
I perhaps am fortunate to have a loving husband and daughter and so feel my home is a haven. I fell in love with my husband at the beginning when we first met and went out together. But after a long time, there came a time when I decided to love him, to share my life with him and that he is it. Full weight.
God I’m having problems writing in this online medium. It all comes out stilted and preachy whereas in my journal I sink into meditations and things have a natural conclusion. And who cares what I fucking do? How can this help someone with depression? Maybe I’m not so depressed… It’s undeniable that I have black moods, but can’t imagine it now since I’m comfortable at home at this moment and feeling relatively upbeat.
Right now I’d rather think of the moon like an uninhabited piece of rock that is billions of years old and that a piece of the oldest earth in the world has just been found: the merest fragment of zircon crystal found on a sheep station somewhere outback in Australia. How did they find it? Were they looking for it? Or did they accidently come across it when they were really looking for something else? And it’s amazing how scientists have deducted the possibility that the earth was maybe not such a great, heaving, molten, restless, inhospitable fireball of volcanic activity way back then more than four billion years ago. That actually conditions might have been conducive to life on earth much earlier than we think…