I used to wonder if you could catch it like a cold or a bug but more often than not I’ve come to realise it is just in you, part of your genetic make-up, hereditary. I have depression as does my sister, my grandma, I only found out years after she died, suffered badly at the hands of this dark pest.
As close as we were I never realised, she hid it so well and clearly thought it was the one thing she couldn’t bring herself to tell me. I guess it was even more taboo back then and I can’t help but wonder how many people knew or if she just suffered in silence.
Depression takes many forms, people talk of a great weight or a darkness, a shadow or a black wave. Mine I guess is like a loyal dog, following me round biting at my heels, sometimes I throw it a stick by doing something amazing and it’s in these moments when its furthest away that can almost feel happy, but inevitably it always comes back. Sometimes, just like a real dog, it will simply sleep in the corner of the room but I know it is always there and on waking it will want to play.
I say this because people think that depression is all doom and gloom but as with anything it has a balance, you can’t have such extreme lows without also experiencing at times false highs. In these moments you can feel indestructible, capable of anything and everything which will often lead to you doing something stupid that ultimately will aid the speed of your downward spiral even more when you finally come crashing back to reality.
This behaviour also goes hand in hand with addiction, I pushed the self-destruct button twenty years ago and have been constantly trying to deactivate it ever since, self-medicating with whatever to combat the thoughts, to numb the pain, to help the brain do something other than think.
Of course we all know that substances aren’t the answer and really just add to the problems, but that numbness is so appealing at the time, the self-loathing and regret after not so much. Over thinking plays a huge part in it all and although nothing was achieved when I had therapy we did have great conversations because we had read all the same books. I went through a phase of trying to figure out my depression I filled my world with every book and essay on the subject desperate to find an answer, hopeful of a cure that never came.
After all avenues have been exhausted its back to the prescription pills and the gruelling day to day fight. I hate my depression with a passion, I hate the way it stops me doing the things I enjoy, I hate the way it won’t let me get out of my own bed some days, I hate the way I can’t be alone with it, that it pushes me to extremes in an effort to dilute its power.
Like anyone I have good days and bad and I am grateful that I am so much more in control now than I was. My depression cost me relationships, friends, jobs and for a while threatened to take my life. I am now at an age where I realise I will always have it, it will never be fully gone, but I am I hope better equipped mentally to deal with all the things it can throw my way.
Marq is available on twitter here