It’s no secret that I suffer with diagnosed depression. It’s something I’ve tweeted about and mentioned in my Blog a number of times.
Depression effects people in many different ways but for me it’s both physically and mentally debilitating to the point that I can barely keep my eyes open or even muster a conversation. Thankfully my depressive episodes are a lot less frequent these days and I put that down to the various self care tools and mechanisms I have put in place such as taking daily medication, exercising and abstaining from alcohol.
That said I have just come out the other side of a pretty bad episode. I try not to scale my depressive episodes in terms of severity but they have varied in both longevity and symptoms over the years. On this occasion I saw a nosedive in my mood first of all on Thursday which quickly lead to an increase in agitation, extreme fatigue, thoughts of self harm and by Friday Evening – a desire to drink alcohol.
On the one hand I didn’t practice what I preach because I didn’t talk to anybody but on the other hand I used AVRT to crush my addictive voice. I felt good on Saturday morning reflecting back to the nauseating battle I had the previous evening.
I went for a run on Sunday morning but I was already downplaying the positive energy a run normally brings by the time I set off out the door. I knew I wouldn’t be running far as I’m carrying a small injury plus it was my daughter’s birthday so wanted to get back for her day ahead. I hobbled for 3km and returned to the house in a foul mood. I recognised my foul mood wasn’t fair on my daughter celebrating her 4th birthday which just intensified the self-loathing.
Now if I was comparing my various depressive episodes I would say that this wasn’t so bad because I actually managed to get out for a run which also meant I managed to get out of bed, put clothes on and brush my teeth. Some of life’s little basics which depression can so often turn into climbing a mountain! I remember about 3 years ago I struggled to get out of bed for several days due to my depression – not washing, eating or getting dressed. I suppose there is little to no value in comparing the severity of my depression when it surfaces because I can only focus on the present. What I experienced, felt and did three years ago is irrelevant.
By Sunday afternoon I was struggling to stay awake and focus on what was in front of me. I had no interest in doing anything and just wanted to be alone. Not easy when you live with two young daughters who want their Dad’s attention. I had thoughts of just leaving the house and driving far away. I guess I was in the early thinking of suicide. It’s not the first time and won’t be the last time I think of this, in fact it’s common for people to have fleeting thoughts about it. I think there is also a misconception from many that just because you admit to having these thoughts you suddenly need locking up.
The only way I can describe my most recent thoughts about suicide is that I was consciously thinking about the mechanics of planning it and luckily this lead me quite quickly down the path of who would be impacted and the mess it would cause for them. That’s why it stopped there and then. I realised it was the wrong way out. I will never understand the final thoughts of somebody else who has taken their own life and they are no longer here to tell us what was at the forefront of their thinking in the final moments of their time on this Earth.
Yesterday (Monday) wasn’t a sudden return to Happy Daddy but I did wake up feeling as though some of the heavy weight had been lifted from my chest. My eyes and mind didn’t feel as cloudy and I had the desire to get outdoors. I chose to go for a walk around a local park along with a coffee, grabbed a sandwich then took a trip to the local library to return some books. It gave me an opportunity to feel the Winter Sun on my head, the crisp air in my lungs and to move my legs at a pace which doesn’t constitute running!
I just need to keep doing what I’m doing. One of my favourite quotes is “Storms don’t last forever” and with that in mind I know that healthy mindfulness tools such as my running, blogging, self gratitude, yoga, sobriety and connecting with my family and friends will help minimise the damage that my mental health conditions try to do to me. What I won’t do is NOT write about it. Some people would prefer I don’t share my private life and how I feel but I know it helps likeminded people out there to read about a story which resonates with them. Not everybody will want to share their struggles publicly and that’s ok but I find it not only helps me but gives hope to others. After all I’m still here!
I don’t have the answers to defeating poor mental health once and for all but I certainly know how to fight it.