December 3, 2013

I once saw a documentary about how crocodiles hunt for their prey – they grab their victim and drown them before tearing their limbs off and eating them piece by piece.

For me, a crocodile’s hunting technique provides a perfect analogy for what living with depression is like. I have been known to smoothly swim through the waters of my life and suddenly been caught by depression. It rises through the water without any warning, grabs me with its vicious teeth and strong jaw before drowning and tearing me apart.

Those closest to me have asked me what it's like to suffer from a depressive episode

Those closest to me (and the bravest) have asked me what it's like to suffer from a depressive episode.

I tell them it’s waking up in the morning and being disappointed that I have made it through the night; hating that yet another day stretches before me, believing that I am, at my core, absolutely and completely unlovable, that I am worthless and pointless.

It's feeling that I don’t want to continue to live anymore, that it’s not something that can be "fixed" by a fun night out, or a new dress. It is an all-encompassing experience that makes me feel utterly debilitated. During these periods leaving my house is almost impossible and on my worst days making a cup of tea is too large a feat. I am so exhausted that I spend my time lying on my bed.

There is another side to my experience though

There is another side to my experience though. When I am feeling better, I know that I have been blessed with wonderful friends… I think about my best friend who I have known since university – the girl who has never judged me. I remember how, at my lowest ebb, she gave up her Saturdays to cook for me and clean my home so that even if I wasn’t able to go out of the house, at least it was a nice place to be. I remember how she bossily refused to allow me to order yet more junk food and insisted that I ate something with a small amount of nutritional value and how she has sat with me through various doctors’ appointments.

There are other friends too, those that know that, sometimes, what I am feeling is so awful it cannot be verbalised, they choose to say a thousand words by putting an arm around me. There are those that know to let me be until I am able to emerge from my hiding place but will never question why.

There is no doubt about it, depression is a cruel condition that is made worse by its stigma and the by the fact that it cannot be seen in the way other illnesses can be. Talking about it and being honest will help. I have shared my experiences because I hope in a small way it goes towards understanding what I, and thousands of others, battle.

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