The first thing I have to say is, I’m sorry. For two things: one, for going AWOL for some time; two, for the length of this post. But I’ll be taking this time to explain a bit.
Even before our little bobbelchen was born, I have had problems with depression, anxiety, stress, the whole shebang. But it’s gotten worse since she was born, especially the last while. I became something I wasn’t, and I absolutely hated it. I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t write. I just lay there in bed, unless the wain demanded something.
Really though, depression terrifies me. I’ve witnessed it tear down the brightest person, turning them into a bitter and dull shadow of what they once were. When I was younger, I was praised for my smarts but lately I can barely think. My smarts were always who I was, and the thought of losing my whole self is something that I think might truly end me.
My partner, who hasn’t really dealt with depression, asked me the other day what it feels like, what depression feels like to me. It’s kind of hard really to understand, whether or not you have it. But the way I see it, there’s the two main sides.
For the first side, I want you to imagine your mind. As whatever. Some see it as a brain, some glass. In my own mind, it just kind of pops up as a blur, maybe a smudged little glass orb? Eh, who knows? I’m a bit off me rocker anywho!
Okay, back to the topic – so you’ve got your mind, in whatever form you want it in. Now, imagine you’re holding it in your hand (bit weird to hold a brain in your palm, but let’s just wing it). You’re being careful, maybe it’s even like a little bubble floating just above your palm, maybe you’ve curved your hands around it to protect it.
But no matter how much you protect it, no matter how gentle you are or how sheltered you keep it, it just shatters. That one whole being becomes a million pieces and no matter how hard you try, all the pieces just fall down the ground, where they crack and separate even more. For me, the shattering is the point where I break down. When I’m in this state, it’s extremely difficult to break me out of it, so it’s usually just waiting out the tears and watching me beat myself down (sometimes literally – but there’s usually someone around to stop me so no worries).
The next part after this is when you’re staring down, looking at all the shards. That’s after the tears, when you’re feeling numb, like you can’t cope with emotions anymore; or anything as a matter of fact.
And then you fall down to your knees to frantically collect all the pieces, maybe cutting yourself on the shards. You’re collecting them all, looking around, trying to make sure you don’t miss any. Here, I’m usually constantly on edge, and there’s a feeling of doom lingering behind me.
Once you have all the pieces, you’re trying to connect them again. But you’re two shaky and all the pieces don’t match and the more you try, the more the edges grind on each other and the less they fit.
And then there are two possibilities:
They might, by some miracle, join together again. And then probably fall apart later.
Or they won’t. And in your frantic state, you’ll drop them down to the hard floor.
Either way, the cycle begins yet again, and doesn’t seem to ever stop.
Now the other side.
You’re standing. Hundreds, thousands, millions of train tracks surround you. Each one has hundreds, thousands, millions of trains zooming along, and each one flies by you, throwing you around. You’re trying to focus on them, but you can’t make out anything: you can’t even figure out what colour each one is.
You know what each of these trains are? Thoughts. But they’re all going by at once and you just can’t single out one thought.
And with each train passing by, the rush of wind blows you to one side. But there’s so many that you’re being shoved into every direction and you just want to curl up and give up already.
Sometimes you need someone to help pick up the pieces or something to act as a glue to join the pieces together again. Sometimes you’ll need someone or something to act as a support to stop you falling over from all the trains.
Hopefully one day depression will become easier.
P.S. Don’t forget that the dads can suffer from postnatal depression too
Don’t feel bad asking for help. People will feel worse if they find out you didn’t want to bother or burden them. Have a bit of faith. There are still people in this world who want to help.