Monday, 25 June 2012

Diaries of 'Down' - part 1

I said recently I was going to write something about weakness.  Here it is. 

So for most of this year, I've been feeling pretty 'down'.  That's the word I'd use.  Some would say low.  Or depressed.  The best way I can describe it is as if a grey cloud has been sitting on my shoulders, sucking the colour out of my world, and the cloud isn't light and fluffy, it's heavy and it makes my shoulders droop, and walking difficult and forces sighs from my mouth and tears from my eyes way more than seems 'normal' or 'necessary'.  And that's the problem, because although this year hasn't been the easiest, I couldn't really see why I was feeling SO bad, crying SO often, distancing myself and rarely smiling or laughing.  Every day seemed a struggle.  I didn't stay in bed all day, I didn't stop seeing people, I didn't slack off work.  Perhaps there's a sense of 'duty' in me that overrides everything else.  Not sure that's a good thing.  Although I kind of knew however much I wanted to hide away, it could quite possibly make me feel worse.  And being alone with those feelings is not fun.  So I carried on, but all the things that would usually bring me joy seemed tasteless and dull.  The things that wouldn't normally phase me threatened to break me into pieces. 

I know we all have 'down days'.  Or even seasons.  So i was waiting for 'tomorrow' but it didn't seem to arrive.  And this wasn't just hard for me - now there's someone I share my life with so of course the greyness rubbed off on him.  It's not the first time I've felt like this, but it was the first time - or at least since living at home with my family - that the way I felt and 'was' had such a strong impact on someone else.  And that is not easy.  Yes it's great to have someone who holds you when you cry, but they also worry it's their fault every time you are sad, and at some point you, or they, think they might drown in the pools of emotion that flood forth so often. 

So in the end, I decided to do something about it.  I've gone to the doctors before about depression.  I try to avoid calling it that - I guess the whole cynicism about it really 'existing' rubs off on me, even though I have often been able to tick off most of the list of symptons.  Last time they referred me to a psychologist but then I moved to Brighton and her telephone calls would stress me out more than anything so I ignored them.  I felt better with a change of location anyhow.  This time the doctor recommended medication.  To be honest this is not something I've ever really considered.  Again, there's some type of stigma, some worry about dependency, some very-slightly-hippy that feels I should try natural remedies first, etc, etc.  But at the same time, I felt willing to give anything a try because I was sick of feeling so crap all the time.  Before deciding I spoke to a few friends that I knew had taken anti-depressants in the past and they were helpful in encouraging me that it was totally my choice, that it's worth a try, and that actually quite a lot of people have taken them to get through a particular time.  No one put any pressure on me either way, which I was grateful for.

So I decided to try them, and see.  I hardly told anyone about it to begin with.  I guess I was a bit ashamed/embarrassed.  I thought people might assume I hadn't tried hard enough, like - Why didn't I just get over my emotions and put a smile on my face?  I know I don't need to tell people.  But something in me wants to be braver in admitting my weakness.  Because perhaps someone can relate.  Perhaps it might encourage you that we're all a bit broken.

I'll write more about this soon.  Like the not-so-fun side effects!!


Brian said...

thank you for your honesty Katrina. Peace to you on the journey.

Anonymous said...

Love you Katrina. You are amazing. Thanks for sharing - think this post will bless and encourage many others. Paula xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Adele said...

I think it's actually incredibly strong to admit to depression. There is still such a stigma attached to it even though so many of us suffer it at some point.

I can identify with the mix of marriage and mental health issues. The responsibility to avoid dragging someone else down with me has been a powerful motivator for me to take steps to work on my wellness: avoiding triggers, etc.

As for medication, just because you're taking it doesn't mean you'll take it forever and even if you do take it forever, there is ABSOLUTELY nothing wrong with that. You can also do natural things alongside that, which would likely help even more. Talking with friends or with a pro, exercising, dietary changes, meditation, set times for prayer, rest, getting more sleep... There are lots of options.

I'm praying for you, beautiful one. This may not cease to be a part of you but you will master it. PS: I will call you soon. x