Every person’s experience of depression is unique. There is a statistic somewhere which states over the course of our life, one in three of us will suffer from some form of mental illness, the most common of these illnesses will be depression.
So far I have experienced more than five episodes of depression; they are usually brought on but not always by some kind of loss or difficult life event. There have been times when it has been brought on by betrayal by the one I thought I could trust, by the loss of a loved one or even the time I experienced the loss of my beloved job. The depression does not always consume me instantly it tends to be horribly gradual in the way it seeps into my life like acid. When it begins although I am weak I try to fight it but it always wins in the end. My own unique brand of depression operates like poison ivy; it creeps up from the ground and winds its way round my ankles making me feel heavy and slow and tired. As it climbs up my body its poison gets into my blood and it sucks the life slowly out of my veins removing all pleasure and pride. Eventually it tears me apart and like an old badly built home I crumble into a heap, a dark pile where no light will reach for weeks at a time.
What always frustrates me about this depression, is how sneaky it is. The first time it came along it gobbled me up so quickly that all my attempts to fight it were fruitless. Any attempt I made at recovery was heavily invested in minute analysis of trying to discover how or why it had come upon me in the first place. I would analyse diaries, letters even scribbles to try and discover the cause. As far as I was concerned I had gone from being the life and soul of the party to being a girl who couldn’t leave the house unless it was in the safety of a car. I was never able to work out what brought on the first episode; it could have been my failure to form firm friendships at University; my disappointment with my chosen course or even just the fact that I had lost my darling sister two years before after watching her fight a ferocious battle with a bitch of a cancer which claimed her mercilessly from our clueless arms.
After this first depressive episode I started to try and keep a diary whenever possible; not just of daily doings but of how I was feeling. It was my belief that this record of thoughts might help me to keep an eye out for signs of the poison so I would be ready with an antidote when it next attempted its advance. Over the years I have come to understand in this way as well as through the observations of others what the first signs are of the beginning of a fresh batch of misery from my own personal bakery of glum. At first invitations to dinner or dancing will be turned down without consideration; I will back away from any form of communication including phones, face book or email; I will stop looking at myself in the mirror and soon after that I will cease to wear make up or put any effort into clothing. Eventually when it has finally got settled in my cranium I will stop bothering to get dressed all together and if anyone suggests I have a nice warm bath I will react extremely badly. Usually I will dress as unattractively as possible; in a pair of old denim Miss Sixty Jeans, size 11-12, and hideous woollen jumpers and T-Shirts or anything which covers me up all together. Occasionally I have been known to wear crocs outside of the house, which is surely a strong indicator of a fractured mind.
Today I watched a little section of Love Actually. It is one of my all time favourite films and most of the time it has the wonderful side effect of making me giggle and feel all mushy and gooey inside. Unfortunately the segment I had watched was the part where the girl, having thanked her lucky stars for landing the Belle of the ball or the dark haired smooth skinned muscular stranger with equally sexy glasses, is interrupted by her brother who is poorly and living in a supervised home. Later on we see her over there speaking with him, desperately trying to coax a positive thought from the fragile mind in front of her, yet she can not and he goes to hit her in a rage. They do hug in the end, and she does call him her darling but the whole thing had me in tears.
I am terrified of going back to the dark place and the past couple of days have been difficult. Although I have tried to fight it off I feel the poison start to work its wicked way into my skin. What upsets me the most about it is how it must feel for my loved ones to see their child, their lover, their sister, their friend deteriorate from a well dressed, perfectly well kempt woman to a total mess. My mother said to me today she was glad about me doing the dress project because it meant every day I had to get dressed no matter how bad I feel.
For her, seeing me wonder round in a dressing gown, my hair unwashed, my eyes dull, was just as difficult as the sporadic tears which would come out of nowhere. I hope I can fight it this time I really do, I do not know how much more everyone around me can take of this foul little disease.
- Today’s dress was kindly donated by Sinead Kenny of Market Harborough. It is on loan but was brought from Boohoo. It probably needed a belt to pull it in but the pattern was too pretty to touch it. I’d like to say the ironing was a stunt but I actually have so many dresses to press I just had to keep on with it. My Mummy took the photos again today but the boy provided the tulips in the background as a present to cheer me up after an awful consultation on Monday at the Brandon Unit.