Yesterday morning, I was standing in the shower, my head pressed to the cold tiles, as the hot water pounded my back and I considered the plans I would need to make.
I’d have to get a will, to make sure my kids are looked after by the right people and get rid of a lot of the furniture we own, leaving only what the kids will need in their new life. I was wondering how to come up with enough money for the will and pondering what to do with all my books.
You see, good old suicide ideation was in my head again and while I wasn’t making any plans for taking my life, I was making plans for the kids’ lives after I was no longer there. Because I so badly just didn’t want to be there any more. I didn’t want to hurt any more. How can anyone live with such devastating soul pain?
I only realised how stupid and irrational I was being, when I woke up this morning, with a brand new day and what feels like a brand new head on my shoulders. It is inexplicable to me how ridiculously huge these mood swings are, how chemicals in my brain can fuck me up to such an extent that all I see is bleakness and hopelessness.
My psychologist tried to take me back to how I was feeling before the blackness descended and I seriously couldn’t find my way there. All I could see were the incidents of the previous 48 hours that contributed to this trough and a future that looked very, very bleak.
When I woke up today, though, it was all gone and I realised just what a lying bitch depression is. I mean, while I’m not one of those perpetually cheerful people, on a day to day basis I believe that things will work out, that things are OK and that they will get better. I am in fact, an optimist. But when the depression grips me, it really feels like someone else has taken possession of my brain. I can almost feel myself drowning in the mix of toxic chemicals circulating in there, as I slowly run out of air and the energy to stay afloat.
It scares that I can feel this way even while I’m taking a cocktail of meds, because I really, really just want someone to invent a true “happy pill”. I don’t mind taking medication, if only I could be guaranteed no days of blackness and a mood set point that is at least an 8 out of 10, rather than my usual 5 or 6. You can only imagine where I go when I experiment with reducing my medication. It is not pretty. But interestingly, it is not just my mood that plummets to unexplored depths, there is also the rage that starts to fill my heart, so strong that I can barely breathe.
Depression tells me that I’m worthless and useless and have nothing to offer the world. It tells me that I should just give up on my business endevours and that I’ll never again earn a decent wage. I lament that I can’t give my children the life they deserve with fun and holidays and travel and I’m disgusted with the poor role model that I am for them – living below the poverty line even with all the skills and education and experience I have. How can I show them that education is worthwhile, when all it has given me is a poorly paid entry level part time job?
But depression lies and today I know that none of this is true. My kids aren’t missing out on anything they truly need. I know my job is but a stepping stone to either a great, better paid role with the current employer, or a fabulous new job elsewhere. I know that if I apply myself and get past my own inertia, I can make the business work. I know that I can get myself out walking or running throughout the week, because I’ve done it before. I know that I can pay all my bills and have a full fridge and pantry on the money I have coming in right now. I know that I am not worthless. I know that it’s not just my kids who need me. My existence affects many other people and I make a difference in their lives.
So, please, remember, next time you’re standing on the precipice, in its grasp, gasping for air, wishing that it would all just end – depression is a lying bitch.