Why yes, yes I believe I have.
That’s one of the first things someone says to me when I admit I’m in a bad way.
“have you tried…?”
Meditation – yep
Yoga – every week
Exercise – every day
Eating healthy – yes
Thinking positive thoughts – yup
Focusing on your blessings – yes
JUMPING UP AND DOWN – Ffs. I even gave it a try today. It made me cry for about an hour afterwards because 1) My Mom suggested it 2) I tried it, even knowing how UTTERLY RIDICULOUS it was 3) It didn’t work and just left me feeling more bereft, angry and furious than I started out.
Talking about it with a good friend- yes.
Seeing a Counsellor – yes
Seeing a psych – yes
Considering hospital stay – yes
Hospital – yes
Group therapy – yes
Do you know what? I’m trying EVERYTHING. All the time I’m trying.
I want to just lay in bed. Just lay there. All day. All night. Just breathe.
But I don’t.
I go to work
I clean the house
I do the dishes
I empty the dishwasher at work (!!!)
I go to ALL my personal training at the gym – haven’t missed one yet
I generally eat healthy. I say generally because I still have the odd chocolate or the odd donut. Sue me.
I try hospital
I do everything the Doctors and Nurses tell me to without argument.
I’ve just had a big fight with Alun who wants me to “change something”
CHANGE WHAT, AL?!?
What MORE can I possibly do???
Alun says I should quit my job.
People IN jobs have NO IDEA how HELLISH being without one is.
How much stress, strain and physically exhausting FINDING a job is.
“Just quit, Janet – no job is worth this amount of stress”
BUT BEING UNEMPLOYED IS GOING TO BE BETTER, IS IT?!?
Alun got my full wrath.
I’m seething writing this blog because this whole time, Alun’s been on my side and now I feel like he’s joining ‘the others’ – the ones on the other side of the glass cage I’m in who are just suggesting things that ARE NOT HELPFUL TO ME RIGHT NOW.
If I was slightly depressed and just needed a pick me up – yes, more exersise, eating well, doing things I like and MAYBE taking some time off work would be great.
BUT I AM ON THE PRECIPICE OF LIFE right now.
Hope – it’s completely left me. I have a new sense of the word HOPELESS and let me tell you – IT IS HELL. I truly believe this is what hell is ACTUALLY like – a place just like earth – but without hope. Without faith. Without belief. Where everyone lives a “ground hog day” – the same day over and over again and it’s a SHITTY DAY. AND THERE IS NO CHANGE. There aren’t fires or pits of hell – there are just days of severe, crippling depression and you live them over and over again.
Maybe I did actually die and this is the afterlife?
Because I’m screaming and no one hears me here.
“I’m struggling – I want to die. I’m in so much pain! Please help me!!!”
“Have you considered yoga?”
Oh why thank you Susan, that will definitely fix me. Great.
A journalist and cartoonist I really respect and admire has an awesome blog on suffering depression – and other really cool things as well. Allie’s blog is called “hyperbole and a half” and she’s illustrated short ‘comic strips’ I guess you’d call it – of how she suffers with deep depression. One I identify really strongly with is a comic strip story where she has severe depression and everyone around her doesn’t get it and their advice isn’t helpful.
In it, a cartoon version of herself is holding 2-3 dead goldfish. She loved those goldfish and is mourning their loss. These represent the depression she is going through.
She goes to her family, her friends – her counsellor – everyone she can think of and she holds out her hand with the dead fish but they don’t understand.
“Have you tried looking for them?”
“No – because they’re not lost – they’re dead” she says – and holds her hand out.
“Maybe they fell behind the couch?” someone else offers
“But they’re not missing” she tries again “they’re dead”
“I’ve lost my goldfish in the past” another friend offers “I found them in the end – what you have to do is keep looking – don’t give up”
“but they’re right here” she says again – holding the goldfish up to them
“Do you want me to help you look?” someone else says
NO. THEY ARE FUCKING DEAD. WHAT DO YOU NOT GET ABOUT THAT?!?
(^^ I added that. Allie Brosh was a lot more kind and diplomatic than I am right now in dealing with her depression in the metaphor of dead goldfish)
(and by the way – Allie finishes her comic by giving an example of what she wanted – there’s a picture of a comic her stood by a comic friend and they both regard the goldfish in her hand. Her friend says something like “oh man – yeah. They’re really dead, there. I’m sorry about that. I still like you very much and it isn’t your fault”
And that’s all we want when we’re suicidal – someone to say “I see that…and yes it must hurt like a bastard…and I love you even so”
I feel like for much of my life – I’m still in the phase where I’m showing people my dead goldfish and they’re asking if I’ve “looked for them”. I want to shout THEY’RE NOT LOST THEY’RE DEAD!!! And sometimes, I even try…but no one hears me. Worst of all, I’m finding out that a lot of people I love (including Alun) who have actually suffered with deep depression in the past – have forgotten what it’s like and are just so happy, content and settled that they’re losing patience with me faster than the friends I have who HAVEN’T experienced it and this hurts me the most.
“I had what you had” they all start off the same “The sadness, the loss of motivation…I tried to kill myself, too – I was in and out of hospital for months…”
and this is where my hope starts to rise – because then I think I’m not alone -here is someone who ‘gets’ it.
but then they go on to say – and they’ve all said it in their many different ways:
“BUT I GOT BETTER. I BEAT IT – This is what I did”
“I bought a book from a famous comedienne who suggested to do “one thing a day that makes you so happy” – and I did it and I’m so happy now and have never been depressed.
Oh wow. Good for you.
“I got offered a new job and I love where I am now so I’m not depressed anymore.
Ah. So you didn’t go through months of HELL without any money – you smoothly transitioned from one job to another. Well. I’m happy for you, Wayne. That’s great.
“I started jogging and honestly, it changed my life”.
Well buddy, I go to the gym every day for at least an hour and I still hate myself and want to die so no, that’s not working for me. Glad it worked for you, though. Keep it up.
“I got into meditation and crystals and my life will never be the same, I have so much happiness and peace now – you should get some crystals, too”.
Err that’s a no from me.
And Alun: “I moved away from what was hurting me and started a new life in Australia. It was the change I needed and I’ve never looked back”
Well my darling. As courageous and as AWESOME as that is…I GUARANTEE YOU you had ‘levelled up’ by then from crippling, extremely painful, dark and crushing depression to the more manageable kind.
Because when you’re where I AM – the LAST thing you can do is book a plane ticket. FFS.
I’ve tried hospital stays in the past, too. Apparently 7 years of paying $170.00 a fortnight for Alun and I have to have the BEST hospital cover should we ever need it – DID NOT COVER PSYCHIATRIST COSTS. So to go to the Private hospital right now would cost between $6000 – $6500 dollars PLUS an extra $1600 “for treatment”. For a week.
Alun wanted to pay it.
I researched the Private hospital and read the hundreds of reviews – it looked like a 50/50 place. 50% of people who stayed there raved about it “thank you so much for making me feel better” and 50% of people HATED it “waste of time” “should have just booked a hotel room” “too expensive and I didn’t get any help” “money hungry people – not there to actually help you”. The hospital strongly believed in GROUP THERAPY and looked a lot like a ‘get well factory’ – 100 patients – shipped in at an exorbitant cost – grouped together and shipped out again as quickly as possible.
Not for me.
I couldn’t bear having Al pay all of that just be lumped in with a group. Alun looked at the reviews and the hospital “philosophy” of “group healing” too and agreed with me – I wouldn’t get better there.
Makes my heart break for people who can’t afford to be inpatients in a private hospital and have no choice but to be lugged in with people who are really mentally ill and are aggressive, violent, frightening and want to harm them.
We need a better health support system for those suffering. This has to change.