Beating the Beast


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Depression has always been present in my life.
As a child I had my first experience of the beast growing up with a mother who suffered severe depression.  She was always unpredictable and her moods would swing from one extreme to the other.  There were days when she couldn't get up and us four kids would have to take care of ourselves.  And there were times when she would just simply disappear only to return weeks later.  As I grew older I realized she was going into hospital during those times after yet another suicide attempt.  She had Electric Shock treatment and my childhood was spent being shifted from one relative to another as she tried to get better.  Early memories involve visiting her in hospital watching her make Christmas crackers as part of her treatment.  I still to this day wont have the things in my house.

 As I became a teenager I started to feel different to other kids my age.  I felt older and seemed sadder.  Finding it hard to relax and smile and be silly like 'normal' kids.  I would find it difficult finding then maintaining friendships as I felt no one thought like I did.  No other person my age did the things I did to myself just to get out the house every morning so I could face school.  No other person my age would go to bed and cry herself to sleep every night for no other reason but she hated herself so deeply she wanted to die.  I felt alone in my sad little bubble world.  I thought I was a freak.  Everyone just said I was shy when I couldn't talk or never went out.  But all those things simply took too much effort.
As I got older I hid the feelings in drink.  By the time I was 19yrs old I was an alcoholic and heavily in debt.  I lived alone in a bedsit and would drink to get to work and take Bacardi in a coke bottle to drink from so I could get a fix during the day.  Evenings were spent in a drunken haze.  My drinking stopped when I abandoned my child at a toddler group one day and the police found me in the local park sitting with the drunks desperate for alcohol.  Nowadays I can drink small quantities but I can keep it well in control.  I am always aware though how easy it would be for me to slip back into old habits.
Things came to a head when I gave birth at 22yrs.The depression hit full force.  I hated myself and my child.  Couldn't love her.  Couldn't touch her.  Could barely function.  But all the time I smiled, acted 'normal' and tried to appear like any other doting mother.  When she was 2yrs old I had my first breakdown.  Finally I told someone how I felt.  I got help.  I was diagnosed with Post natal Depression.  Since then I have had various CPN's and therapists.  I have good periods and then before I know it I am back down in the black hole again.  I have tried various meds but nothing seems to work with me.
Depression has been in my life forever in one form or another.  It has helped make me the person I am today.  Paranoid, insecure, unlovable...It almost cost me my children and on occasions almost cost me my life.  It has cost me many relationships.
ATM I am struggling again.  The black walls of the pit are caving in on me more and more each day.
But things are also different now.  I have help and support...both in RL and from the wonderful people I have befriended online on boards such as BTB.  It has helped knowing I am not alone in my thought patterns.  And it helps knowing there is a small glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.  Just sometimes things become cloudy but people here remind me the clouds will lift again.
Life is hard work.  I am tired.  But am not giving up on the hope one day I will realize the darkness within has lifted.
Copyright 2003 Beating The Beast. All rights reserved.  
Revised: 04/02/05.

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