Depression is a weird illness. Sometimes it creeps in, sometimes it just clocks you one when you’re not looking.
It takes quite a few forms, and no one person’s expression of the disease is the same as another. Pretty much everyone with depression finds that apathy, not sadness, is the one common factor but I’ve met depressives who had every symptom except apathy too. That’s one of the reasons it’s so tough to treat properly (the others being that human brains are astoundingly chemically complex, other illnesses are co-morbid with depression and in general the whole brainmeat thing is just weird).
I kept my depression a secret for a long time, even from my family, because part of being depressed is blaming yourself for your own symptoms. I think it’s because it feels like if you could just try a bit harder then you’d be able to operate the way you’re convinced that everyone else is handling life just fine. If you could just be a bit more focused you could do everything you feel like you should be doing.
As Wil Wheaton once said ‘depression lies’.
And as I’ve said before ‘depression defends itself’.
Depression feels very much like having a slug in my brain. A gelatinous, ink black creature that’s more like a sea slug (cucumber) than an actual slug, both in appearance and in its defense mechanisms. When a certain species of sea slug is threatened it quite literally craps out bits of its respiratory system onto predators.
I do not do this. Not even when threatened.
That said that would be an amazing way to win a fight.
Depression, when threatened, also seems to lose its shit in a major way. I came through cancer with only one real depressive episode, although there were definitely times when I felt down and many more when I was awfully sick, I mostly kept my head on really well. Now that things are looking better, depression has crept back in and tapped me on the shoulder like a roommate that had disappeared for six months and everyone thought had died in a crevasse.
I am very aware that this is not my fault, and what’s more I am also aware that there’s not a huge amount I can do about it for now except follow my doctor’s advice, get as much exercise and sleep as I can and generally not be too hard on myself especially as I am still in recovery.
I am technically aware of all of these things…and yet some of the time I still feel like a garbage human being.
Still, I have to say there are things that make me feel better: My awesome friends and family. Good books. Baths (I don’t care if they’re not meant to be manly, baths are awesome as fuck). My wife who is doing a stellar job of not only keeping me alive but also functioning and happy as much as I am able.
And, sometimes, writing about being depressed makes me less depressed. What kicked all of this off is I had high hopes that an appointment I had tomorrow would bear dividends in helping me feel less like complete crap, and it’s been pushed back two weeks. This is not a great reason to be depressed, many many people in the medical system have it far worse (to say nothing of people living overseas) but it still hit me unexpectedly hard.
I actually do feel better now. Thanks for reading everyone.
Now I’m going to go and have a bath with bubbles in it.