Beating the Beast


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About five years ago I became severely depressed.  The slip from being ‘down’ to deep depression was a fairly rapid progression for me, and it was truly frightening one morning to wake up at the bottom of a deep, dark pit and wonder how the heck I had got there.  Of course I didn’t look for help straight away…..I was convinced I could handle it myself, that it was a ‘blip’, that I just needed to think positively…..oh, how wrong I was.  I could struggle and squirm all I liked, but depression had me pinned down as surely as a moth pinned to a board.

I got worse.  I started to avoid people, I became nervous if I had to go out, was convinced that people were staring at me because I was odd.  I had a couple of panic attacks in the car, couldn’t remember where I was going or what I was doing.  My memory deteriorated…even making a shopping list became an impossible task, anything that required planning was a nightmare. Sometimes I would lose the thread of what I was saying in the middle of a conversation.  Getting up in the morning required such effort because I was oh, sooo tired all the time.  In the end all I could do was cry or sleep all day. 

I was convinced I must be going crazy, I could think of no other explanation.  I tried explaining how I felt to my husband, but what I told him about was only the tip of the iceberg. Apart from not understanding what was happening to me myself, the continual rushing and disjointed thoughts in my head made me unable to express myself properly.  He knew I had changed, was not happy, that his dinner was often burnt, but not how bad I was really feeling.…Incredibly I was still able to keep the mask in place when others were around.  I became afraid to drive the car as I started to have strong urges to drive into oncoming traffic, or into a nice big tree by the side of the road, urges that were scary and difficult to control.  One morning I woke up with tears streaming down my face – how could I have been selfish enough to bring my daughter into an awful world like this? 

I began to suspect I was depressed, so turned to the internet, and found a depression forum, the original Wing of Madness.  After lurking for a little while I dared post up how I felt and asked if people thought I should see my doctor.  I was convinced that my doc would see through me as one big fraud with nothing wrong with me (I laugh when I read this now, but at the time I was absolutely convinced of it).  To my surprise people responded to my post and told me I should go. I had the support I needed, maybe I wasn’t crazy but depressed!  That was it.  I phoned my doctor and then my husband, to tell me he had to come with me to an appointment the next day.

The appointment was pretty gruelling.  I sat and cried and snottered everywhere.  Every time I tried to say something my throat closed up with sobs, at one point I think I actually began to wail, but I got the important stuff out in the end, and was prescribed anti-depressants.  I was lucky, they worked for me.  Not a quick fix, it was a long road, but eventually I was able to stop taking them and felt I had my life back in my own hands again.  Since that time I had to go back onto anti-depressants once as I felt I was slipping again, but have been med free for the last year.

I have become a more introspective person than in the past.  For a while I could buy the simple biological explanation of a chemical imbalance in the brain causing depression, but in recent months have been digging a bit deeper into my own childhood and resulting personal issues, which I think also have something to do with it.  I have noticed that sometimes I am triggered for only half understood reasons by certain posts on BtB.  I have a feeling that buried somewhere I have some unfinished business and some unresolved issues that I need to deal with before I can truly move on, and gradually these are becoming clearer to me.

Depression shocked me and changed me.  I will never be the same person again.  I had always believed totally in the power of mind over matter, of being able to do anything if you wanted to enough.  I was confident, liked challenges, and would try nearly anything once.  Having to admit that I needed help because I couldn’t deal with something myself was a real eye opener for me and has made me a humbler and probably a better person.

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Revised: 04/02/05.

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