Today’s Big Realisation

So I’m living my happy ever after. I have everything I’ve ever wanted and more. So why am I so desperately unhappy? Why do I feel as if life is nearly too hard to live? Why do I get anxious, bitter, cynical, feel as if I’m worthless, want to harm myself, feel as if getting out of bed in the morning is pointless and that there will never be any happiness or joy in my life? Even when I’ve managed to put that aside for a while and pretend some positivity, why does it only take the most stupid and trivial thing to set me off into a downward spiral?

When I’m in this place (and I’m in it as write) I don’t understand why my children love me – I shout at them so often, and often feel too exhausted and lethargic to pay them proper attention, and even look after them properly. I don’t understand why my husband loves me – I can’t be good company. I can’t see what on earth I can offer except the money I earn, and he could get most of that as maintenance if he did throw me out. I can’t see why anyone wants to be friends with me. I’m dull, often self-centred and mostly try too hard when I’m not being self-centred. I cannot see anything at all that I contribute to anyone’s life. And I must be a dreadful person inside to be so unhappy despite the fact that I have everything anyone could possibly want.

I don’t drink – it makes me ill. I don’t do drugs, well not much – I sometimes use cocodamol to improve my mood, although I usually have a headache or feel bad physically in some way before I take them. I’m not promiscuous – I’ve been faithful to my husband for 22 years. I don’t spend lots of money. I don’t overeat any more, I’m on a healthy diet that suits me and I’m even losing weight very slowly, and often I find I don’t have much appetite. I don’t gamble. I don’t smoke.

I have no dreams, no ambitions, there doesn’t seem to be anything I really want, or anything I desperately want to do. I can’t see my way forward. I just exist, from day to day, mostly finding it extremely tough just to get from morning to evening. I make no impact. I’m too selfish to devote myself to good works – or possibly just too tired. I contribute nothing to anyone.

I know this is depression. It’s genetic. I’ve suffered with it since I was 14, been on and off anti-depressants all my adult life. Logically, I know it won’t last. I now have some pills from the doctor. They should start working next week if I’m lucky. I’ve been out for long walks; eaten very dark chocolate; spent quality time with my family; drunk coffee in the mornings; tried to give up worrying about the small stuff. None of that works, at least not for long, certainly not any permanent solution. I do know the anti-depressants will work. I know this mood isn’t permanent. But it is dangerous and damaging, to myself and others.

But – I love. I don’t know whether it makes any difference at all to anyone, or to the Universe, but I love. Fiercely and protectively. Sometimes passionately. Sometimes stupidly. Without logic or reason. With every fibre of my being. I love. It hurts. Sometimes it causes me such pain and anxiety I can hardly breathe. But it gives me strength. It keeps me alive. Being loved won’t do it. Being loved is the most precious gift that anyone can give me, and when I’m in a good place it’s the feedback that keeps the chain reaction going – but when I’m in this particular dark space I’m immune to the love coming in from the outside. It’s the love I feel for others that stops me from just ceasing to exist.

And this is my roundabout way of saying I’ve made a huge realisation today. I love, therefore I am. And I don’t need to do anything else, or be anything else. That’s enough reason for me to exist. I love. Everything else is just detail. And if you are someone that I love, right now you’re helping to keep me going – not because you love me (although that does help whenever I’m not in this very specific very dark place), but because I love you.

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14 Responses to Today’s Big Realisation

  1. Susan says:

    ::applauds::

    What a beautiful and moving piece. I hope that many people get to read it and are cheered by it. I’d retweet it but given it is quite a personal entry I don’t think it would be appropriate for me to just go ahead and do that.

    I have told you this elsewhere already, but you are quite a remarkable woman. I kinda came to that conclusion in 1999 before I even met you or spoke to you. Dunno how, just instinct, and I was right 🙂

  2. Susan – thank you:-) Yes it is quite a personal piece – but on re-reading it, I actually think it’s a good description of how what is called ‘moderate depression’ feels from the inside on occasion, so please do retweet it – I hope maybe it might help some depressed people feel they’re not alone, and their friends/relatives/colleagues understand a little about it.

  3. Susan says:

    I think it will prove great consolation to people so I have retweeted it and thank you for allowing me to do that! I think one of the most important thing a person in a depressive cycle needs is the feeling of having their experience understood and validated. I think the post is both personal and universal. And the bit about loving rather than being loved proving the exit key – that is a genuine insight for me, but now I look at it makes complete sense!

  4. Nikka says:

    In Spiritual Psychology there is an idea which can seem very foreign to many. We are worthy because we exist. And, you are right, all we need is love and loving. Reside there, in the love, and everything else just falls into place.

    {{{HUGS}}}

  5. Liz says:

    This is wonderful, and I’d love to post it on my blog-
    Let me know if I could, or could track back to this post?

    Thanks-
    Liz

  6. very very good thanks for sharing x

  7. sorry can i link you to my wordpress page, mine is peotry of a sort that i took to when i hit rock bottom

  8. I’m feeling a lot better now. The antidepressants, combined with the writing down of how I’m feeling, and all of the love, support and feedback I’ve had from people who’ve read this entry, has helped no end.

    This is a very personal post, but if anyone reading it thinks it would help someone else to read it, please feel free to share the link, or link back to this page, whether on a blog, facebook, twitter or any other relevant forum.

    If possible, I would prefer people to post the link rather than just repost my words, mostly because it’s very interesting for me to see how many people are reading this, and it makes it easier for readers to comment or contact me if they wish to.

    Best wishes to you all

    Eleanor

  9. Alan Garde says:

    This is incredibly brave, incredibly beautiful and so very familiar. It made me smile, it made me nod along and made me chuckle guiltily at the co-codamol comment (well at least it’s not only me). It’s so very hard to even start letting out how you feel when you are in the middle of it and everything is going around in circles and you know it makes sense to you but wouldn’t know where to begin and words fail you when someone asks ‘what’s wrong’ as everything is wrong and yet, there is nothing you can pin down.

    Your realisation is a good one. No, it’s a great one. It’s a shout it from the rooftops one. The most evil thing depression does is isolate us from those that support us, so we cringe when we hear them say nice things about us, we flinch back and think inside ‘if only you knew what I’m really like’ and their kind, loving words just seem to put another nail down about how we see ourselves. Your revelation is one that comes from inside, from something you are and a simple truth about yourself to build your foundation on. It’s something no one can ever take away, or make you doubt if they are in a bad mood and it’s a very real truth. Thankyou for reminding me of that truth today, it’s something I am going to think about a lot tonight.

    • Thanks Alan. You’re so right about the isolation… one of the reasons why I think the Time To Change campaign is spot on. So many people have said to me after reading this that they suffer with depression – and so few of them had told me beforehand…

  10. bipolarlily says:

    This brought tears to my eyes. I’ve had my illness since I was 13 years old and it doesn’t get any easier that’s for sure. I’ve always found it hard to know if my reactions to up or downs are normal, and I’ve never known anyone until recently that even remotely understands where I am coming from or how I am feeling. I lost everything to my illness. Absolutely everything. I really feel for those who suffer the same. Such a beautiful post.

  11. Thank you – and very best of luck with getting it all back again.

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