WARNING: this post contains material that some may find upsetting Nd confronting, if you feel depressed and unsafe, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14
It’s been awhile since I have written, not because I don’t want too, it’s because I feel like I am being suffocated by stress, a fog taking over my brain and more of I can’t than I can. The Black Dog is on the fringe of my day, I can hear him pacing, hear his barking and his growling, I can feel his presence and while I try to push his presence away he is too strong and I am too tired to fight him off.
You hear people talk about triggers that lead to a major depressive episode and there have been a few for me that have left me feeling like I am perched on the edge of a cliff where my balance is weakening and to fall down seems easier than the effort it takes to keep standing tall.
I never thought that the death of a celebrity by suicide could ever affect me but when Charlotte Dawson died in Sydney last month I became consumed by her death, images of my past and thoughts of worthlessness, sadness and a sense that I was losing control. My mind continued with a constant slide show of suicide, of Charlotte’s face and of everything that is wrong with my life because the Black Dog continually interferes with who I am and what I do.
Just when I thought this event had past and the slide show had stopped a friend who I knew since starting secondary school died from natural causes. A Mum of a five year old and a four week old baby, a wife, a daughter, a sister, and a friend she was gone forever leaving those left behind devastated, in deep shock and asking so many questions for which nobody could give them answers. The moment that I found out I was overwhelmed by sadness, grief, and shock. The not knowing how a Mum can go to bed and not wake up left me questioning.
Again the slide show started Charlotte’s face entered back into my mind, images of my time with my friend cycled through my brain and all the time I was left feeling angry that why should a fit, healthy Mum with a spirit for life be gone when I have struggled with life for many years and deserve not to be here, that life was not just cruel and unfair it was just so wrong. Why should those who love life and who have everything to live for be taken while those shrouded in bloody depression be left on struggle street fighting constantly to keep the Black Dog at bay.
Through these weeks and events I have tried to deal with these slide shows, tried to block them out by concentrating as best I can on work, and staying busy. It has been hard to not be consumed by the slide show and the thoughts that keep consuming my mind. Then there is the stress and anxiety that comes from my job and the people I work with. The minute I open my eyes in the morning, anxiety hits, by the time I get to work I feel overwhelmed and feel like one more thing will just be too much for me to handle.
My treatment, counselling and stays in psychiatric hospitals has given me a greater understanding of recognising the triggers for my depression and knowing when I am on the verge of a major depressive episode. I just dread the thought that this is happening, I feel like a snowball rolling down a giant mountain slowly building up speed and size, with no control to steer it off course and to stop its momentum and where it, I will end up.
To be honest sometimes it feels easier to just let it happen and to stop fighting against a force far stronger than I will ever be. I know I shouldn’t give in to an episode but sometimes exhaustion, depression and life is just too much and it’s easier to let the demons roll in, let the Black Dog loose to cause havoc in my world.
A lot has happened in the last 12 months, I have been on a road to some recovery with some detours along the way. I have reached some milestones that after the two previous years I never thought was possible – returning to work, more good days than bad, out of hospital for 12 months. Work is meant to be a good thing for my recovery and for our finances but sometimes I wish that I didn’t work because the daily stressors, anxiety and the hustle and bustle is just way too much, I am left spent of any energy, stamina and motivation to keep putting one step in front of another.
I hope that the way I am feeling won’t lead to the snowballs collision with a major episode, I hope it will all pass and I will be reinvigorated, and most of all I hope that the constant slide show and constant feelings and thoughts that overwhelm me will go by.