A difficult battle; A beautiful battle

I sense that I am at a turning point right now in my battle against depression. My gut is that (though difficult), this will be a positive turning point. I do think, however, that it has potential to become negative.

Over the last few weeks I have been experiencing a fresh wave of depression and interpreting it differently than ever before.

I used to try to explain to people that my depression does not always line up with the textbook definition of the illness. This does NOT mean that I am not experiencing depression! It simply means that I experience depression in a unique way. I hardly ever feel the physical symptoms—granted, I don’t often find myself struggling to get out of bed and complete simple tasks. I do not stop eating, Inor do I over-eat. I do not quit keeping up with hygiene. I often try to fake my mouth into a smile and hide what I really feel inside—which is sadness, self-contempt, despair, anxiety, etc. etc. I am glad to not often struggle with the physical symptoms of depression, but it is not so good that people struggle to realize how much dark subjects like suicide are on my mind.

Usually when I get depressed, I will feel the above emotional symptoms. I will feel them intensely for a few hours, maybe even a few days, and then I will flip flop and remember how delightful life can be (usually when I am distracted by friends). Then I will flip flop right back to thinking about suicide and wondering if I should rationalize it for myself. I feel as though, over the past few weeks, I have had a raincloud directly over my head. When I stop thinking so hard and start to feel good, the raincloud will move over slightly. But the raincloud never goes far because my “good” periods will last shortly and suddenly I am being stormed on again. And repeat. And repeat. Flip flop. Flip flop.

This is unbelievably discouraging. I would like to learn to appreciate the “good” moments even more, but it feels like depression is ultimately characterizing my life. I start to feel stuck… Then again, this is not the first time I have felt stuck. And as discouraged as I am, I am a fighter. I am one damn strong fighter. I don’t recognize often enough how strong and courageous I really am for keeping up this good battle!

I still felt depressed today and thoughts of suicide ran through my mind today. However, so did plans to use coping skills to override the dark thoughts. It’s not easy, and takes a lot of focus, but using coping skills to retrain one’s brain is incredibly valuable. I value this even more than I value medication. Some of the coping skills I’ve been using are simple things like: saying “Depressive thoughts, you may come and go as you please. Although you are uncomfortable, you have no control over me,” surrounding myself with supportive friends, writing down my “wins” for each day (yay for positive thinking!), and reading a book on suicide prevention. The book I am reading is something I have to work through in slow bits because the topic is not exactly joy-inspiring. However, being that it is written by a formerly suicidal woman (a true champion), it has incredibly valuable perspective in it.

I will include more on this book in the future.

Thank you, friends, for walking with me through this journey.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………….

In the words of Charles Bukowski,

“It has been a beautiful fight. Still is.”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………

Peace, Tanya

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