December 09, 2011

The Way I'm Feeling

So I have depression. I was diagnosed with it back in the spring, but I think it was creeping up on me for at least a year before that. I often find talking about it (verbally) a frustratingly difficult thing to do, so I thought I'd knock out a few written words to help people understand a little bit about what goes on inside me. I guess this is mainly for people close to me than the wider world, though if you're reading this and find yourself comforted by empathy, that's good too.

To me, the main overriding 'feeling' isn't sadness particularly, but a kind of emotional exhaustion. Everything that requires me to care or that I'd need to classify as 'important' just batters me into submission almost immediately. Applying for jobs, talking to people on the phone, having a conversation about 'my plans for the future' (etc, etc) are all things that I struggle to do for any significant length of time without needing to give up and do something mindless or sleep.

I feel a lot like I'm at the bottom of a deep, steep-sided pit. At the opening of the pit is where I need to get to where I have a job, where I can socialise a bit more easily instead of staying in the comfort of my home, where I can talk about things I need to talk about, and so on. But the sides are so steep and so slippery that every effort I put in is so immediately exhausting and futile that actually it's more comfortable to stay at the bottom of the pit and not bother to do anything. The very thought of tackling the climb out of the pit fills me with dread. I just don't feel like I have the skills to get out.

So eventually, caring out getting out of the pit and developing the parts of my life you once enjoyed just kind of went away. I feel very little emotion at the moment about almost anything. When I care about things, it comes from a logical place; you'll see me posting stuff about gay rights, for example, because it makes sense to have equality not because I get emotionally angry or upset about it. Emotionally flatlining has its good and bad sides. Sometimes it's nice to know you're approaching situations without the often misleading emotional fire in your belly. But other times when I don't feel happy to see people, or sad when they get sick or empathise if they are upset, it makes me realises the massive disconnect between everyone else and me. A chasm has opened up where once I used to be able to feel another person's feelings, now I just observe them. This is a strange realisation to come to.

And so from the frustration of the "slippery-slope" to climb and the disconnection from the people around me comes the ease of suicidal thoughts. I'm going to try and be as honest about this as possible. Again, this isn't a sort of 'raging' suicidal thought - it's not something that happens in the heat of emotion or despair or anxiety. Instead, it seems to come from logical conclusion: I can't get out of this pit, I don't really feel much for what's going around me, so what's the point? That's the kind of thought process my head goes through. Unfortunately ("unfortunately"), just because I don't feel that connected with other people, I know this doesn't mean they aren't connected to me. If I went and offed myself, that has consequences. I understand this, and that's part of the reason I went to seek out help when such thoughts started to overwhelm me.

So I haven't really made huge amounts of progress since my diagnosis other than the fact that family and friends are now aware of my depression so I'm going through it alone. Nonetheless, because I hate talking about it, I tend to carry the load myself and worry other people because I won't really talk about how I'm feeling. So here it is, for those who care. I hope it's helped understanding if anyone wanted to know. I still feel pretty flat and rubbish most of the time. Sometimes I won't want to come out. Sometimes I won't have applied to jobs or done things I should have done because for some reason I found them extraordinarily difficult. But, I'm going to try and get better.

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