So I have something to admit.
And it’s quite hard to accept at times.
But I suffer from mental health issues. In a nutshell, I have depression.
I’ve had it for a large proportion of my life, but just over a year ago it became a little too deep to self treat, it was affecting my work, my relationships, my life. I wanted to die. I had started to plan my own demise.
Sad that any individual would have to go through anything like that. Sad that anyone could have the psychological and chemical makeup to cause such a situation. Sad that not everyone gets the help that I managed to receive.
Fortunately for me, I recognised how dark and deep my thoughts had become, and the health services came to my aid very swiftly. I received counselling, was put on a medication plan, and thankfully the dark mood turned. The doctor suggested that my many years of drinking were my self-medication plan, and that perhaps giving up the alcohol had meant my depression was going “untreated.” Well, I’m not going back, not now.
The depression is still my constant companion. Since that time a year ago, the medication has changed, the dosage has been adjusted. It’s never a cure, but it stills the black dog. And I’ve mostly coped. These past days though, have been truly awful, and today was another visit to the doctors. Turns out I’m doing all the right things, exercise, watching what I eat, meditation (ok, I need to do a lot more, the doctor said!), socialising …
… oh. Ok, maybe I haven’t been doing enough of the socialising. There’s evidence to suggest that depression can be eased just by being active with friends. Socialising. Yeah.
Something about Behavioural Activation Therapy. I was at creative writing classes, and learning Italian, but at times the crowd of people would be too much. The doctor said that that was a typical symptom of depression, that we want to withdraw and protect ourselves, so big crowds (and that’s a relative measure, not absolute) trigger the panic attack, the adrenalin rush, the flight-fight-freeze response.
Last night I was meant to go to a writing meetup. Basically a group of writers sitting in a room/cafe/pub silently authoring without interuption, followed by a small chit-chat with like-minded individuals.
I was meant to go.
But then I saw the invite acceptance list.
Last time there were only four writers attending. I could handle that. This time there were sixteen. And somehow that triggered the “oh shit” response in me. I just couldn’t face it. Not with how up and (mostly) down the weekend had been, the Monday had been, the Tuesday had been. Not tonight, Josie. Not tonight.
I desperately needed some support to get through those feelings, to help pull me up out of the mental ditch I had tumbled into. Some people reached out based on my freaky cryptic posts on TheFaceBook, and I thank you guys. Only one helped in person. Thank you, Sarah.
Yesterday was a close one. Abandonment, plus feelings of worthlessness, plus futility, plus delusion, plus disillusion isn’t a great combo. I’m glad I was able to see the doctor today. Otherwise, to be perfectly blunt, this blog may have never been written. No more posts ever. And that novel would never have managed to finish itself. I’ve got to stick around, I’ve got too much to do! 🙂
And then I thought, is no one throwing a rope down because they’re unaware I’ve fallen here? Have I not shouted enough to raise assistance? How many others suffer in the same way, simply because their loved ones, their treasured friends, their soulmate, their kids, their bank manager, their mum and dad, their hairdreser, whoever, simply has no clue as to how close they are to fucking it all up.
I have a skill. Actually, I’ve been told I have many. Some of them even useful.
Writing is one of them. A truly hypnotic narrative voice is another. It has been known that I’m able to write the occasional awesome piece of software too. What if I could combine all these skills, and call upon more, to help all those silent sufferers out there, to help all those like me, who don’t quite manage to raise the alarm in time.
It’s not something new. I helped a ton of people before when I was a professional hypnotist. But I think this is something much bigger. Much, much bigger.
(And I don’t want this to conflict with any ideas around the empowerment empire that Roxanna is building — happy to join forces, happy to agree restrictions and no-compete clauses, whatever. Let’s chat about it.)
My creative writing, my poetry, the story writing, the novel ideas. They all have elements of tragedy, of mental anguish, of death. Cheery old soul, eh? It might help highlight some of what us depressed types go through, what the magus mind manifests. But it’s not going to solve anything.
I want to leave a legacy? Then maybe this is part of the life mission. Maybe.
I know this is nothing new in the big wide scheme of things, the support groups, the lifelines, etc. But what about those individual who are too caught up with life to help themselves, too embarrassed to say “please help me”, too shy to ask for the warmth from a friendly hug? But perhaps there’s something I could do.
Anyway, I promised an update on the novel:
Total word count: 7169
- Prologue: 1st Draft Done – 1029 words
- Chapter 1: 1st Draft Done – 1165 words
- Chapter 2: 1st Draft Done – 2972 words
- Chapter 3: In progress – 2003 words
Coming along nicely. And there’ll be more on the way. Just maybe not in the next hour or so. Maybe I need a mental break from it all, from the pressure, from the commitment, from the journey.
Well, let’s not rush. Let’s just wake up and get out of bed tomorrow; that’d be a start …