Friday, 3 July 2015

'Dark passenger.'

For those of you that have watched or heard about the series Dexter, should know that its about a serial killer who calls his need to kill his 'dark passenger.' If you haven't watched it I highly recommend it. I am currently on series six out of eight and I am very much enjoying my Dexter journey!!
However like Dexter I too have a dark passenger.
(Don't worry this isn't a blog post where I share that I'm a serial killer and have killed over twentie five  people!!) #Awkward

My dark passenger is  very different however I would say there are some similarities. My dark passenger wasn't invited into my life, it isn't something I want, it gets in the way of normal life, it demands to be felt and it is something that I wish I could leave behind and live without.

My dark passenger is Depression. Most people who know me know that I suffer with Major depressive disorder. (Depression will do ^_^)

You might be thinking great Laura, why you telling us this... well there is a reason. With the help of social media I do believe there is less of a taboo on mental health problems, but I also believe there is still a massive wall for us to climb. I know so many people who live with depression or anxiety and are too ashamed or embarrassed to speak out, and literally suffer in silence. So I'm going to try and shed some light on what living with depression is like, in hope to help those of you that haven't experienced it to try and understand it. I know this is not an easy task because some people just don't get, and others won't get. maybe thats because they don't want to and believe that depression isn't a real thing and people just need to man up. (I've actually heard someone say this and for a while I believed this) To those of you who hold  this opinion, I ask you to have an open mind. Its the cliche saying 'just because you can't see it doesn't mean it isn't real.'  Believe me its real.

I was in denial for a long time. There was a part of me that believed depression didn't actually exist, and it was just people being mellow dramatic and needing to suck it up and get on with it. I mean really how hard is your life?!? This is not a helpful mindset especially when your being told 'Laura I think you have depression.' I was angry and frustrated. If Im honest, I was pissed off. I didn't want to have depression, I didn't wanna have to depend on pills or go to counselling or see a shrink. I didn't wanna have to deal with all that crap. Why couldn't my brain just be normal!?!? Maybe I felt so negatively about depression because people didn't talk about it, and when they did talk about it, it wasn't very positive or supportive. I had heard what people had said about people with depression, I knew what I felt about depression, I had seen what people were like with depression and I didn't want that. I didn't want people to think I was crazy...... There was of course another aspect of my life that I feel made it all the more difficult. I'm a Christian, and I had read article after article about depression and christians... or antidepressants and christians, and I have to say it wasn't all that helpful or supportive. I was already thinking man I'm a christian I have the joy of Jesus in me I don't wanna take pills to try and keep me happy..... However this changed when someone looked me in the eye and said,
'Laura if you break your leg are you going to go to the hospital and get it sorted or are you going to live in agony with a broken leg...'
Of course I said "well duhhhh I would go to the hospital and get it sorted I just broke my leg!!......"
"Exactly, depression is an illness that needs to be treated just like a broken leg...."


They were right. I would love to say that after this conversation I walked away and got everything sorted. I didn't. I had a long and tiring battle. To which I almost lost. But thats a story for another time.

So depression whats it like? Many of my friends have asked me to explain it. Well this is me giving it ago. I shall be as honest as I can.

1) Depression doesn't give you a choice. It's inconvenient.

It doesn't tap you on the shoulder and say hey do you mind if I make you feel like staying in bed all day and not talking to anyone even though I know you have plans with friends? It doesn't say at 4am oh man I should let you get to sleep you've got work in 4 hours. It doesn't ask you if now is a bad time. It just decides that today you will feel like crap and doing anything will be twice as hard as normal.

2) Depression doesn't make sense, It lies and steals.

Yesterday I knew that my friends loved me and wanted to spend time with me. I knew that I wasn't a let down or useless, that I could do what I wanted to do, I could be anyone I wanted to be. But today I'm not even sure if my friends like me? Why am I even bothering with this I'm just a let down? I'm useless I'm not going to amount to anything. No one really cares!

Now I know there are some of you thinking yeah I feel like that sometimes but I don't have depression.... well the only way I can explain it is by using a chapter from one of all time favourite books. Heaven Eyes 

'I saw their eyes glittering, saw their raised claws glinting. They were creatures that had grown in darkness and desolation, mutant life forms, half-dead and half-alive. They grabbed at me as I passed by, they hissed my name, they tried to drag me to them, tried to make me theirs. I kept walking, walking, walking. I walked through my own mind, through my memories and hopes and dreams........... I went down into the deepest darkness until there was nowhere left to go...... The cold and stillness entered my bones. I lay there in the slime as the mutants gathered around me... I moved beyond words, beyond laughter, beyond tears. No hope. No joy. No life. Death grew all around and drew me in.'

Now that may seem all a bit ya know 'depressing' but when I was reading this chapter in my book I was left sitting there thinking that is one of the best descriptions I've ever read of depression. Its not a depressing book. Its a beautiful adventure story. But there in the innocence of this story is a really accurate description of what so many people deal with on a daily basis. Depression sucks you in, it lies to you and helps you to believe the worst.        

3) You feel everything and nothing.

Some days you think about everything and anything, somedays every word someone says is either like a knife to the skin or a kiss to the lips. Other days you feel nothing. Words just roll off you, your not happy your not sad your just there. The wheel is turning but the hamster is dead.... This is possibly one of the most difficult things to explain. I used to imagine that people with depression were just like really sad all the time... and for some that is the case. Some people cry, they cry a lot and are really sensitive. I sometimes get like this, but most of the time I feel nothing. Im still trying to decide which is better. This quote is one of my favourites because its the bittersweetness of feelings. I have been taught to 'stuff my feelings' but you know what sometimes they come in handy.

They say you appreciate something when its gone right? The hardest thing about being numb is when your with friends and your having a 'good time' and your laughing and everyone is laughing but really your just going through the motions and as soon as they leave you back to just being.....

4) Depression doesn't do breaks. 

You know that second when you wake up, but before you have fully woken up, where in that one second you haven't thought about the day or yesterday, that second before your brain has fully kicked in and your just you, that second,,,, is my favourite time of day.
Depression doesn't just go away when you want it to. It doesn't care. It needs you. There are times when I wake up and I just wish that today I could just be normal. I could get up get out of bed go to work hang out with friends and it all be fine. That I wouldn't have to fight anything. I wouldn't have to dig really deep to find the motivation to get dressed. I wouldn't have to pretend to be happy or enthusiastic, but that I would just be happy and enthusiastic.

Please hear me when I say, It isn't always this bad. Please don't think I sit in my bed everyday wishing I was dead, or that there is no joy in my life. Please don't think that when you have depression life is over and that all those things listed happen. Everyone is different. AND there are so many things you can do to help yourself! Antidepressants is just one way to help. But the truth is everything effects everything. The food you eat, the people you hang around with, the stuff you read, the stuff you watch the exorcise or lack of that you do. It all really does have an effect on you, your body and your mind. Depression can be controlled, it doesn't have to control you. There will still be bad days but they are less.

This has just been one girls honesty about depression. Please don't take what I have said as the gospel truth.

There is one more thing I want to say, If you are reading this and you love someone with depression, please hear me when I say you are valued and amazing. It isn't an easy thing to do. Especially when you can't understand what goes on in their head. Please don't give up. Look after yourself yes! Healthy boundaries yes! But please don't give up on them. We need people like you. I can honestly say, if it wasn't for some of my friends i wouldn't be alive today. You never know how much of an impact your words are going to have on someones life. Words have the power to build up or break down. Choose to be a builder.

To my Friends and family.

Thank you, thank you for loving me when really I have been unlovable. Thank you for supporting me, for reminding me of the goodness, for being with me when I am #needy. For being there for me when I've needed it. Thank you for being patient, thank you for not quitting, even when i have tried to. Thank you for sitting with me in the darkness and helping me to look up. Thank you for the hope.
Please know I love you, i value you and i appreciate you.

'Erin Law! Erin Law!
her voice echoed through the alleyways and buildings and found its way through the dangling door, past the ghosts and mutants, into my deep darkness.'

Words are powerful.

God Bless

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