Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Looking out from the inside

Lately the depression returned.  Most of the time I feel somewhat normal, yet not quite. Can one laugh yet immediately feel a force within clamping it down? Can one start to cry yet immediately feeling the same force pushing it away? Can one actually stop thinking? Sometimes I lose the ability to think. Literally. My mind draws a blank. Except that the only thought is, 'think, come on, think! i want to respond to this and i know i can, but why is nothing coming up?' And then frustration. Hopelessness. Despair. Especially in situations where one needs to think, like at work. Or helping a friend. Talking to people. Can one really walk around like a shell, no feelings, no particular opinion, no thoughts? Can one start to break down in the middle of nowhere, with no prompt, with no indication of an end to the tears? Can one want so badly to seek company, yet want to be alone? Can one desire to be just alone, yet want to be in the midst of company?
Yup, all possible. Some people say, just try to think happy thoughts, stop being so negative, be happy! But how, when things that used to make you happy, or are supposed to happy, don't even elicit that emotion in you? 

"I know I feel dead because I can't express myself fully. But why can't I and why don't I allow myself to? Only God knows and I don't know how to start finding the answer, neither can I start to express myself in the way that I want. It's very frustrating and I feel like I'm dying inside with every moment. It's like I want to get out yet I don't want to. I just want to hide away and cry the days away right now. That's pretty much all I want to do at the moment. Not going to xmas parties, not meeting people, not going to work, not going to eat, not even eating. Is that what this whole depression episode is about? Is this how it is manifesting itself at the moment? Who will pull me out of it this time? When will it end? How will it end? I just don't know and that is scary. It feels like it'll never end and I'm scared, if fear is even an emotion I am capable of feeling at the moment. Can I even feel? Do I feel joy? Joy comes up, if only just a little, when I hear about your day, and then it fades away. There's nothing to grab onto, nothing that stays. What remains is emptiness and an empty shell in which I reside, an empty shell from which I am looking out into the world. A world where one feels like there is a glass sphere which traps you and you just can't get out. And there doesn't seem to be a way out. You see where you want to be but it's on the other side of where you are, and there's no opening, no crack through which you might even start to escape"

Enough. I've had enough. And this is one of the ways I'm fighting back. Sharing my story. Coming out of the closet. Releasing the shame. Reaching out to you who may be feeling or have felt the same. Written above in parentheses is how it felt like today. I had to text E about it. I couldn't hide it away anymore. I can't deny it and pretend that I am OK when I am clearly not OK. It is paralyzing and suffocating and overwhelming. And this is not how I want to live the rest of my life. Some people say, sometimes you just got to hit rock bottom before you start to bounce back. I guess I did. I reached breaking point and decided I had to do something about it. Just like the last three times (how could I ever have forgotten?). This time I am telling my close friends about it before it was over. Heck, I even told my boss about it. I had to let it out, find a means to express myself, stop being ashamed of it. And expressing did help. Admitting that something is off helps. It's not completely gone, the despair. But I think the hopelessness is fading away. I think I feel more meaning in my life now (more, meaning greater than zero, which is great!). The shame is still there. There's still the, how did you let this happen to you? This only happens to weaklings. You have no time to be weak. You don't have the luxury to.
But you know what? I'm not alone. I know because I walk along a close friend who is going through the exact same thing. This girl is beautiful. She is funny, smart, a dancer, and definitely not a weakling. And we randomly start crying together. And that helps me feel somewhat better. or worse. whatever. I felt something. It was complex but at least it was a feeling. Not dead space. Maybe it's a good start. But evidently I'm still all over the place. 

Letting myself be alone and then asking for company from S who doesn't need me to talk, when I don't have the mental or physical capacity to, also helped. Crying over that animals being slaughtered and tortured helped. Crying over a birthday card from my dear friend helped. Being myself and letting myself be me helped. 
When I stop trying so hard to be who I'm not, it helps. So much. A great weight lifted off my chest. Until, of course, the facade returns out of habit, because somehow it doesn't feel safe to be me. How did this happen? I have no idea. But at least I'm taking baby steps toward learning to finally be me. When I let myself be me, the depression goes away.

Exercise does help, surprisingly. Even a 300m jog with my mum, though she had to coax me out of the house to take a walk. Or a walk to the train station, or running in the rain. I guess endorphins do help.

Finally, God helped. When you learn that Someone somewhere is walking alongside with you and is OK with you being the way you are, who still loves you and will hold you until you're ready to walk out of it without trying to fix you, and is just waiting to receive you on the other side, somehow it makes being messed up a little more OK. E does just that too (even though it's still so hard to believe that this is real). But I guess sometimes God reaches out to us through those around us, to remind us that we can and will still be loved even when we feel the farthest end of the spectrum from perfect.

And then slowly but surely, you start to become a little more OK.

Just a snapshot of how it feels like, looking out from the inside.