Thursday, 11 February 2010

My depression and I: We're a double act...

My depression and I have a symbiotic relationship in that without it I would find it difficult to know who I am – I mean it’s been a long time.
I have had moments of utter obfuscation and ones of clarity so pure that I understand the essence of life and all its myriad meanings.
Can I honestly say that my life would have been better without it? I have a problem with that, for you see that would not have been my life. I have been defined by my depression but I have also been made by it.
In some of my blackest moments, I have never been more eloquent. It is rush. Words flood. I speak with an assurance that I never normally feel. The pen I write with creates a beauty on the page that usually evades me. There is a power and intensity about it all and then it bursts, and my tongue doubles up in my mouth and my pen spews spiders across the page. My anger and frustration crowds out reality and I sob and despair internally, secretly knowing deep down inside that there will be another ride, if I can just hold on.
I have cynically used my depression as a catch all to get out of things I don’t want to do and to disguise my failings because I am too lazy to do anything about them. Anything to make my life easier. Let’s face it if people think you are weak then they have a tendency to do things for you and as long as you don’t mind them patronising you, life can be very pleasant most of the time.
I will admit, for it is on record, that my depression has almost destroyed me too. Sometimes that is what I feel I most want, what I need. Sometimes I feel that is what is best for everyone around me - it’s almost altruistic.
I confuse people, I know. For my depression has also spurred me to tackle feats of endurance both mental and physical that even the strongest would shy, from an expedition to the Magnetic North Pole, becoming one of the first two English women to do so, and latterly running the London Marathon. I don’t fit people’s expectations.
Perhaps in my efforts to be normal, to be accepted at every level I push myself harder than I should. Maybe that helps trigger the cycle of episodes and perpetuates the problem but what would I be without it? Who would I be without it? Like my shadow, I don’t think I could exist without it anymore.
My depression and I, well we’re a double act.

Places you might like to go: Breaking the Silence  and posts you might like to read: Rosie Scribble - I am not stupid; Menopausal Old Bag - Depression is for the Middle Classes; Diary of a Desperate Exmoor Woman - breaking the silence

24 comments:

Mud in the City said...

I can't hope to understand quite what it is like to live with the Black Dog, but I love the ups and downs, trials and obfuscation are usually outweighed with the pleasure that country madness and rats on stilts can bring.
x

Pam said...

There have been a few in my husband's family juggling the double act. Husband even tried denial when the Black Dog jumped up into his lap, suprising him completely in it's insistance that it would budge only in it's own sweet time.Quite demanding that Black Dog, not mischievous and amusing like your wonderful, wonderful rats on stilts.This is an insightful post Tattie which sheds even more light on an area of health and wellbeing that so many grabble with. Thank you for writing it.

Tattie Weasle said...

Mud - believe you me they are the anchors that keep me here from the my gay cockerel Fandango (I will post about him), to my boys, the EBJ and the rest of the Rookyard Gang and of course these bonkers people in the blogosphere!
Pam - I'd like to say my pleasure but perhaps that is not quite the right way to describe it. I am sure someone eventually will come up with an evolutionary reason why the Black Dog exists - I wish they would hurry up!

Exmoorjane said...

What a stunning post, Tattie - heartbreakingly honest and full of insight. I really get what you're saying here - I have used depression too... Huge thanks for the links to my blog and to the wonderful Breaking the Silence (that really needs to be read).
Big hugs, Janexxxxx

Rosie Scribble said...

Thanks for the link Tattie. I loved your post and it got me thinking. I am happy to admit that through therapy I have been able to move away from a life of depression that has been delibitating at times. I could relate to so much of your own feelings. I think your post has helped me hugely in realising that my past experinces have made me who I am today, and today I quite like that person. And when you have experienced the bad you appreciate the good. Depression has also enabled me to understand what it is like for others going through the same thing. I love what Linda is doing with her breaking the silence blog and using her own experiences in a positive way to help others. So some good can come out of living with the Black Dog. Your post has really got me thinking and I am grateful for that xx

Linda said...

Hiya, I will be back to comment properly but I'm crying a little now, thank you a million times over for this stunning post. I am going to flag up your comment on the Breaking the Silence blog to the lady who wrote about "should we fight stigma?" and hope to get a considered response to the very valuable points you have raised. xxx

Lou said...

Good words. Thank you.

Tattie Weasle said...

Jane - Thank you I always feel such a fraud. Maybe because I never really know how far I should go with "coming out" so to speak!
Rosie Scibble - I am crossing my fingers and wishing thLinda Luck and just hoping. It would be great for this to work! And all though I too am reluctant to admit it perhaps some good has ceomfrom the Black Dog...
Linda - Please don't cry! Although with all thse stunning responses I admit I have been crying too! It is always a difficult one to write about Black Dog for once it's on paper you can't really ignore it. And thank you re my squawks onteh Stigma post. I do think it is importnat to break it and raising the issue has to be good.
Lou - You are very kind.

menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

Brilliant, brilliant post Tats. I know what you mean about 'coming out' when you talk about how much you should reveal. That is exactly how I felt too which is why I didn't post for a couple of months because I wanted to write about it but found it damn near impossible.

Thanks for the link, much appreciated.

Crystal Jigsaw said...

I think that's a very good way to look at it. Your understanding and acceptance of something you may have no control over is to be commended.

CJ xx

Ladybird World Mother said...

The other comments say it all. Brilliant post... I have a touch of the black dog too, and am totally at its mercy when it comes to see me. My twenties were pure hell, but now, almost into my fifties, I am better than I have ever been. But how I dread the years without children and purpose. Will it come back? I suspect so. Thanks Tattie. We need posts like this to open up that dark world, to show not the darkness, but how damned bewildering it is. xx

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

A brave post . Your strength shines through .

Tattie Weasle said...

MOB - it's kinda scary and liberating and churning. I am at the stage when I no longer particularly like talking about it I just get on with it. But by declaring it people can sort of get where I am. I have no idea if that makes sense at all!
CJ - you make me feel very humble, in a nice way! I feel very lucky so also a bit guilty in the light of other people's difficulties.
Ladybird World Mother - it could come back there again it might not and if it does you know how to fight it. At least that is how I try to view it. And it is damned berwildering!
SmitoniusAndSonata - I often feel quite weak and totally useless. I ma glad I sound strong I suspect all I have to do is hear that! Thank you.

Iota said...

What an honest post. Depression is part of your story.

Tattie Weasle said...

Iota - wish it wasn't part of my boy's stories though...

toady said...

Like you after all these years me and the black dog have found a way to rub along - I won't say nicely. You have to accept it, understand it and then find ways to live with it.
Do I wish it had never happened? You bet!
Toady

Tattie Weasle said...

Toady - I have to admit I just don't know. I have no idea what my life would have been without it and it is no use going there so to speak. Do I want to have great big black episodes NO WAY...but I just cannot imagine a life without them always lurking in the shadows.

Inthemud said...

That is a very powerful post, very complex but gives an understanding of what life feels like to you and I do think suffering depression makes you a stronger person, because each day is such a challenge just to get out of bed and do the simplest of tasks.
I take my hat of to you for coping as well with it as you do.

I suffered too for about 10 years and used to think I'd never feel like my old self ever again. I hated myself foe feeling that way but couldn't get the depression to life.

It is with such mixed emotions I look back on that period of my life and wonder how I got through it, a combination of counselling, group psychotherapy and then a course of Autogenic training- I'm sure it was the AT that was my turning point - and things lifted, my mood brightened and the anxiety floated away and I was able to get on with life again and it was been a godsend.In the work I do as a Support worker it has been enormously useful to have been through the depression because it gives true empathy to the people am trying to support.

bodran... said...

I've just been doing a catch up of your blogs,i'm very lazy and should visit more.. I love the new picture and you brought the boys so vividly alive your a great writer xx

CAMILLA said...

Hi Tattie,

What a very heartbreaking and truly honest post. I experienced the most darkest of days thirteen years ago, how could this be I thought, moi a bubbly kinda gal, albeit a shy one sometimes too, and then WHAM! It hit me.....I have my anchors too Tattie thankfully, children and grandchildren and an adorable JRT, and yes, our fab friends in blogland.

You do have a great understanding of depression Tattie, sometimes it is difficult for others to write about and they just hide it away, I like you sheer honesty for this, you are a wonderful writer Tattie.

xx

Tattie Weasle said...

inthemud - the gift of empathy such a looked over talent. I reaaly think that those who have never been there cannot possibly be able to deal with those who have. Maybe empathy should be a requisite way and above qualifications. I have not heard of Autogenic Training so will scurry off on a quest!
Bodran - I am so pleased you recognise them. I sometimes wonder if anyone else can see the pictures I try to create when I write. Thank you.
Camilla - you are very kind. Writing about depression or at least me writing about mine is difficult as you sometimes feel that by acknowledging it you are allowing it to breach your walls and inviting it in. But maybe I ma just supersticious!

notwavingbutironing said...

Hang on, can I just backtrack here - you went to the North freakin' pole? Did I read that right? AND that was a fantastically well-written post. You are superwoman!

Tattie Weasle said...

notwavingbutironing - um yes but not the North Pole the Magnetic North Pole a whole lot easier I can assure you and as for Superwoman - I wish!

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