Reflective Counselling and Psychotherapy
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DEPRESSION - THE INVISIBLE MOUNTAIN
The alarm clock sounds. It cannot be morning time again. Not again. I’m not sure that I can cope with another day; another day of this dark cloud that has filled my head. They call it depression but I don’t understand it. It controls my life and the life of those around me. How did this happen to me? Did I do something wrong? I finally pluck up the courage to sit on the edge of my bed. I don’t want to do this again today. How can I get through another day of this hell? The looks and the comments, oh those helpful comments. They say 'what have you got to be depressed about?' - I have no idea! Do I need to be depressed about something? I don’t think my life is so bad that I have something to be depressed about. I have a husband who loves me, two wonderful children, and I live in a nice house in a nice area. I go to work each day and try hard to make a difference in other people’s lives. What’s so bad about that? I’m not abused, I have a kitchen with cupboards full of food, I am loved by many, and I am kind to others.
But I am depressed.
My favourite of all is the 'pull yourself together' comment. If I could do that so easily, I certainly would. If I could snap out of it, I would do it in a heartbeat. I cannot, therefore those comments are as useful as a chocolate teapot. What would I like others to say? Maybe I’d like them to say nothing and treat me like the nice person that I am. Maybe I’d like them to say 'I don’t understand but I will try'. Maybe I would just like the occasional hug or a gentle reminder that I am worthy of being in their lives. Maybe I don’t even know what I need, but negative comments and smart comments are not it.
As I sit on the edge of my bed, I am still willing myself to make the transition from sitting to standing. It feels like I have a mountain to climb, or like I’m psyching myself up for a marathon. I am not, of course, but I imagine the feeling to be the same. I have a mental mountain to climb but, like all mornings, I don’t want to. I have no energy, no drive, no want to climb this mountain.
I know I have to make the move at some time. I know I have to do the school run and take myself to work. I know that I have to put on my 'work mask' and do my job to the best of my ability. I know all this, but I also know I have depression. It doesn’t always let me. It’s like a dark grey monster, holding its arms around my body, not allowing me to move from the bed. It holds me down; keeps me there. I feel suffocated and worthless. 'Come on', I say to myself, 'you can do it'. I am desperately willing myself to at least get to the foot of that mountain.
I see flashes in my mind, of me flopping back down onto the bed, pulling the covers over my head - like I can just shut the world out. It might work today, I might just be able to hide from everyone and everything. But it's not possible today. I have to work. My boss doesn’t understand my illness - it’s not visible so, therefore, it can’t be real. That’s what I think she thinks anyway. Maybe she understands - I doubt it though.
Maybe, finally, I can make a start on my day, but I know it’s going to be tough to get through the day. I take one day at a time, one hour at a time. Baby steps are what get me through the day.
Depression, like a lot of other mental health illnesses, is real. Just because it can’t be seen, it doesn’t mean it’s not there. Be kind to others and be kind to yourself.
Depression is real and depression is serious. Get help, surround yourself with those who love you, and educate those who may not understand.