When you live with depression and anxiety things seem to disappear without notice.
It’s true that I’ve spent a lot of time wondering how I ended up in the emotional places I have. I’ve tried to work out why I’m like ‘this’ and what, on earth, I’ve done to deserve ‘this’!
When we’ve sunk to the bottom of the pit and we’re starting to move our furniture in, it’s easy to think that perhaps we’re being punished for some outrageous thought or action. Then as if to compound our distress, we are convinced that we’re a ‘bad’ person. Capable of nothing more than making trouble and being a burden on others.
I know I’m not the only person in the world who deals with depression and anxiety, yet I’ve never felt so alone as when I’m so ‘low’ I simply can’t explain what’s happening. When my body is so heavy, I can’t lift it out of bed. When my thoughts are so confused and unhelpful my head feels as if it might explode. And the tears. The tears that appear from nowhere and do nothing but create a continuous stream of regret down my face. They come from nowhere and they go to nowhere.
I know I’m useless. I know I have nothing to offer the world. I know I’m the worst wife, mother, grandmother, business woman, writer and well, in fact, I’m the most useless person alive! I am so deeply entrenched in the misfiring of my body, my mind becomes a playground for the darkest of ghouls and I’m powerless to move them on.
Without this experience, it’s easy to believe we’re feeling sorry for ourselves. We’re simply ruminating on negative life events that all of us, at one time or another, have experienced. Things that most people seem to manage their way through with nothing more than determination and ‘grit’. But then we, aren’t most people!
I’ve worked for years to make sense of my inability to do life like so many others. A life without bottomless pits of gloom and peaks of extreme fear. I’ve been a perpetual scholar in my own biology and the biology of others. And, I’ve attempted prayerfully to exorcise whatever demon might have invaded my peace and made a playground of my mind. And still, I have no answers to satisfy my own yearning or the yearning of others for freedom.
In the pit of my irrationality when my fears are beyond cogent thought, I’m easily convinced (by my own neurosis) that I’m worthless and my ability to live a life of value has been slaked by an inexplicable obsession with my own pitiable circumstances.
However, at the bottom of all other thoughts that travel unchecked up and down the snakes and ladders in my mind, is the lowest rung on the ladder. The thought that no matter where I’ve slipped to on this emotional ride, the only way to get up is to start at the bottom. It’s the lowest rung on the ladder where, for a time, I’m fully and inexplicably aware, that this place is not my reality. This is not how my life will play out.
When you live with depression and anxiety it’s easy to believe you’re at the end of a journey. In those times however, amidst all the things you believe are impossible, are the tantalising traces of who you really are. The person you can be. The person you will be.
It won’t happen overnight….
From Tori Amos: Healing takes courage, and we all have courage, even if we have to dig a little to find it.
If you need to talk to someone NOW call Lifeline on 13 11 14.
Deb Shugg is an awarded businesswoman, wife & mother, author and a sufferer of depression and anxiety.
If you need help to deal with your symptoms see your doctor.
(Abuse of another person is NEVER okay. If you are being abused or, if you are an abuser please seek help.)