I lied. THIS is my scariest confession

halb voll, halb leer

It’s a little confronting to acknowledge that you were depressed for a very, very long time.

I feel like I’m addressing an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting: “My name is Alana and I was depressed. It’s been 30 days since my last black dog moment.”

Except depression isn’t like alcohol. When you’re an alcoholic you’ve either had a drink or you haven’t. Depression is a little more elusive.

The problems started with the birth of my first child. I probably had post-natal depression, though I vehemently denied it.

My ex wanted me to get a psych test after our second child was born. I refused.

Depressed people can’t get out of bed in the morning. Depressed people don’t have hope for the future.

I wasn’t that person. I got out of bed every morning. I knew things would get better eventually.

But sometimes a little voice in my head would whisper “I want to die.”

That little voice was being melodramatic. I didn’t want to die. There was too much living to do.

Still, it was unsettling. I was never brave enough to tell anyone about that little voice. I was scared they’d think I was a suicide risk.

I think what the little voice was trying to say is that life felt very, very hard.

Unfortunately, a lot of bad stuff followed my post-natal depression. I got really ill with something called disaccharide deficiencies, my four-year-old daughter developed severe anxiety issues, I was working with a sociopath, my job went pear-shaped and I started having heart palpitations.

Every day felt like I’d been thrown into a very deep pool and was scrambling to keep my head above water.

I tentatively told my doctor that I didn’t think I was quite right. She dismissed my concerns. I felt silly. I shut up.

A few years later, I found the courage to mention again that I was in a bad place. She gave me a referral to see a psychologist. I went every week for a few months and cried for an hour in her office. But they were expensive tears and they didn’t seem to be solving anything, so I stopped.

I think I switched to survival mode. It felt like I was observing life rather than living it.

My ex was patient with me for a very long time. Then he got resentful and angry. He said I never thought about the effect my issues were having on him and our family.

When I begged to know why he left me, he said he felt he “could never make me happy.”

It’s very hard to make a depressed person happy.

It’s also very hard to live with a depressed person.

Ironically, it took our 23-year relationship ending for my recovery to begin.

After a few months of sobbing, I felt something shift inside me. The worst thing in the world had happened, but I’d survived. I began to feel lighter, more positive, engaged.

I still have my bleak moments, but I’m a different person now.

This person doesn’t want the false security of that broken marriage. She understands a bit better why her husband walked away. She wonders why he didn’t push her a bit harder to get help. She wishes he’d tried harder to fix things. But she understands his frustration.

I wish I had some pithy advice to share, some wisdom on things I’d do differently if I had my time over, but I don’t.

Maybe I should have persevered with counselling. Maybe I should have pushed for anti-depressants.

Who knows? What’s done is done and can’t be undone.

I’ve chosen to look forward, not back.

I’m excited about the future. It’s filled with endless possibilities, laughter and love.

I think the universe has wonderful things in store for me. It has wonderful things in store for you too.

In the meantime, I want you to know you’re not alone.

Song of the day: Timbuk 3 “The future’s so bright”

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11 thoughts on “I lied. THIS is my scariest confession

  1. Depression is such a pervasive, horrible disease. Both my husband and one of my sons have it and the struggle is real. And not just for them. My relationship with my husband will never be the same because of it. I can’t lean on him. I have to be the strong one – sometimes I don’t want to be strong. But it is what it is and I have to deal the hand that’s been dealt.

    I’m so glad you’ve found your way through and are looking towards the future. Those bleak moments – well we all have them. It’s knowing that they will pass and there are better things on the other side.

  2. Very brave. Good on you. Onwards and upwards with probably a little slip from time to time, but it seems, nothing you won’t be able to handle

  3. Typically Piscean! It takes a long time for people who are used to feeling down to acknowledge that the condition asserts itself in ways other than driving you to suicide or ensuring you can’t get out of bed. It took me having a panic attack where I thought I’d die to begin to see someone.

    The best thing anyone who’s feeling shit can do is to get a mental health plan from their doctor and do the work with a psych. It’s not easy, but the process is really simple: you listen to the psych, you apply the tools and you learn to not discount yourself. People who haven’t done it can’t really understand, but the fundamental, positive changes work on depression and anxiety can bring are completely transformative – not in terms of who you are, but in terms of how you are.

    It remains the single best thing I’ve ever done, largely because we generally suck at being humans, even the good ones. If your leg was broken you’d have it set, but having mental or emotional problems are either ignored or self-medicated (as it’s so acceptable to be a functional alcoholic here) which just sets up horrific shit down the line.

    Your initial doctor sounds like a dick, though.

      • It’s just work, I suppose. It’s remarkable how simple it is. Stopping anxiety takes work, but it’s only work until they become habits. If you don’t do the work, it comes back, but something as simple as questioning your thoughts has so many benefits that it seems silly to have spent so long not doing it, once you learn how to.

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