Challenge Day 3; Tell A Story: Depression Is A Lonely Word

Day 3 of my challenge is to tell a story. I had a hard think about this one. I decided that today is the day I open up about a very personal issue in my life. I want to be brutally honest with you about it. It’s an important story.

 

One that I hope will help others in the same situation.

My adventure spans 5 years. Basically from the year I turned 31 to today. Because when I turned 31, my life completely changed. I was hoping for the better but for a while it actually hit rock bottom. There is a bitter-sweet element to this story.  Correction: A couple of bitter-sweet elements. The first one is that I had my beautiful daughter. The second is I rediscovered my passion. I came back to writing. What I didn’t know was that the lowest point in my life was the key to bringing me back to the person I really am.

It’s 2007.  My partner, son and I moved across the country to begin a new life. Of course, being me, I lapped it up. I couldn’t wait to leave and start afresh. I couldn’t wait to get a new job. I couldn’t wait to meet new people and make new friends. I Just. Couldn’t. Wait. Even though I was leaving close friends, a lovely home and my beautiful home town I was ready to face whatever life was going to bring us on our new adventures. Of course, I wasn’t banking on anything going bad so Plans B through to Z were non-existent. I forged ahead thinking that Plan A was the be all and end all. I was positive, eager and more than willing. That’s a good thing, right?

Well.

Plan B sort of forced itself into our lives. Without asking nicely. In the midst of moving and relocating, I fell pregnant. Don’t get me wrong, we were very happy about this even though it wasn’t on our ‘to-do’ list. But what I didn’t envision was the subsequent bluey feeling that crept its way into my life. Yes. The Big D.

Depression.

Understandably, I was naïve about depression before I was diagnosed. As with most illnesses you think ‘that cant happen to me’. My reasons? I was happy. Healthy. I already had a 4-year-old son and I didn’t get depression with him. How could I ‘all of a sudden’ get it now? So I dismissed it. I dismissed it to be adjustment issues. Not having a support network around me. Not being able to make friends (which I later realised it was because I was so far into the blues, I didn’t want to make friends). I withdrew from society and for a about a year and a half I lived like a robot. Having 2 young children keeps you busy anyway so excuses are easy. ‘I cant go out, I’m tired’. Sure, for the first few months after childbirth that was the truth but after a year? Just between you and me, my daughter was a sleepy baby. I really wasn’t that tired!

So what was I? Not in the right frame of mind that’s what. But it wouldn’t be another year till my doctor would diagnose me. The day I turned up in her office sobbing ‘I just can’t cope anymore’.  In hindsight, this is the day that I got my life back.

Yes, I was given a prescription. I did the therapy thing.  This formula was an important one. It paved the way to where I am now. I remember a session where I was telling my therapist that I didn’t know who I was anymore. Rather, I knew who I was I just didn’t know how to live the way my instincts were telling me to live. Throughout my childhood my favourite thing to do was write stories. As a pubescent I wrote poetry. As a young adult – poetry, short stories. Why wasn’t my mind connecting with the pen anymore? Where did the words go?

All of sudden, my life was on fast forward.  One day, someone pressed the pause button. I was stopped dead in my tracks, the world around me frozen. I could see myself – my passions, dreams, desires circulating around me yet as I reached out to touch them, they disappeared. They were vaporous. An illusion? But why? This is me, damn it. ME! How can I not be me anymore!?

It was killing me.  I felt like my life was slipping away and I was allowing someone else to step into it. I wanted the intelligent, ambitious, independent, self-confident woman back. I wanted ME back.

Tired of wanting, tired of being afraid to face a fear that only existed in my twisted mind,  I pulled out my ammo and dared for it to stop me. I looked at my children. What example did I want to give to them? Now, my son  proudly tells everyone that ‘my mum is writing a book about zombies’ (I’m not) but I’m too full of schmaltz to correct him. I love the tone in his voice when he says it. It makes him feel good. Heck, it makes me feel good!

It has taken a long time for my life to get to where it is. 5 long years. 5 long, sad, sometimes happy years. A veritable osmosis of ups, downs, ins, outs. A couple of sideways slams. They were always fun.

But that is my story. Take from it what you wish. Learn from it. The moral? There is always hope. A cliché? Maybe. Hope exists. But you need to believe in this hope. You need to want it. And just remember, you are not alone.

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About Virginia

Writer, reader, crossword puzzler and conspiracy theorist.

15 Responses to “Challenge Day 3; Tell A Story: Depression Is A Lonely Word”

  1. awritingwriter Reply May 9, 2012 at 08:46

    So glad you got your words back. I relate to “I wanted ME back”, it’s especially difficult when you can see what is happening but….

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    • I agree. It’s like watching the inevitable happening right before your eyes and you feel so powerless to do anything about it. It is debilitating.

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  2. hope is never a cliche. It is however hung over my bed, so ever night I lay underneath it.

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  3. Oh honey….firstly (((((hugs))))) and secondly, it’s so brave of you to talk about it so openly 🙂

    I’m so glad to hear that you’re coming through 🙂

    Xx

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    • Thanks love. I really felt I needed to open up about it because it is definitely not something to be ashamed of. It is so common yet people are afraid to confront it through fear. People go on about the dangers of smoking, drugs etc yet this illness has the power to kill a person too.

      Its hard work trying to beat it. But it can be done 🙂

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      • I totally agree 🙂

        A lot of people keep quiet about it though, I’ve even had friends who I didn’t even know we’re suffering. They said, when I did find out, that they didn’t tell anyone because they felt it made them look weak and were embarrassed. That’s sad isn’t it. I felt awful 😦

        I know it can be done, and I know you’ll do it 🙂

        Xx

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      • Thanks for the support, I really appreciate it. 🙂

        I just hope that people realise sooner than later thats it’s ok to speak out and to speak out is to show how strong you are and willing to overcome it.

        Just like they splatter cancer scare adverts all over the place they need to do the same with mental illness 🙂

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      • we have mental health adverts on TV here. An excellent idea in my opinion 🙂

        Xx

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  4. ((hugs)) I’m glad you pulled out of that dark time. The big “D” stinks….alot

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  5. Thanks Amber 🙂 Oh, it’s a major doozy! 🙂

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  6. Thanks Virginia. Your story not only captured your depression beautifully, but illustrated your strength of will in rising from it. Great work, and great writing. Don’t stop.

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    • Thank you so much Jonathan, thats such a lovely thing to say. It took quite a bit for me to write this piece without seeming like a victim – because I don’t believe I am. It is a condition much like a broken knee or a bout with the flu. You need to treat it. It may take longer to heal than the flu but you will get there. This is the message I had hoped to convey.

      Thanks again 🙂

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  7. Amazing story and in my present scenario, equally inspiring!
    Going through a rough patch for now, i am glad i came across this post.

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    • I’m so glad you can take something from it. This is exactly what I wanted – to let others know that its a perfectly normal condition and that no one is alone. You are definitely not alone 🙂

      Like

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