I often surprise myself. Although I consider myself a somewhat private person, I have put some pretty personal stuff out into the wide web world. It's not easy to share some of this, but, it is, in some ways, harder to keep it socked away. I also wonder..there have to be others struggling with some of the same hard issues I am dealing with, so maybe if they see they are not alone, it might help.
I have admitted to all, I have stood at the edge of the dark hole, and even fallen in, a few times. It has been decades since I entered the dark, and I have been lucky enough to sense when I am getting too close to the edge, and found a way to step back. My way, relies on my ability to recognize the pathway, and I have posted a mental sign at the opening, so when I see that sign, I do whatever I can, to make a slight turn. I understand, I am lucky. Some folks go through life, never coming close to the hole, but, for reasons I have never quite figured out, that pit has followed me for a very long time. Others have not found the ability to see the sign, and unless you have been at the bottom of the hole, you can't truly imagine the hopelessness that surround you.
It begins as a tiny wisp, like a cloud blocking the sun. I use this metaphor, because we have no control over the sky, and those who fight this illness, truly have no control over what their mind decides is going to start pulling them down. Somehow the thin cloud starts to billow, it is joined by other tiny wisps , and it grows and grows, turning everything dark.
My defense begins when I realize the tiny cloud has begun to grow. In my mind, I feel I have the power to control, and, up until recently, I did pretty darn good. There are things I must put into place when the shadow crosses the light. Usually the darkness creeps in, because something occurs that I cannot control, something that puts a halt to the normal routine. It is often something that has happened many times in the past, but, for some reason, because of timing, it is just a little too overwhelming, and the cloud begins to form. I generally try and distance myself from what has set the darkness in motion. I talk to myself, I try to bury the instigator, and..most times this is done by separating myself from the outside. I know, this is probably not the best way to deal with depression, but I am never completely alone, I always ensure I have someone I know and trust, to keep and eye,or an ear on me.
No one should stand at the edge without a friend with a rope. I also realize, to tell even a friend what battle you fight, is not easy. It used to embarrass me. Back in the day, folks who struggled like I do, were considered weak, and no one wants to be seen as a lesser person. I am grateful times have changed, but as one who is heading into her 60's, I still carry the stigma of the past. My illness is no longer a secret, but when I begin to suffer a bout of it, I still sometimes wait a little too long to admit it, and to cry for help.
Today I write, because my friend threw a rope, and I grabbed on with all my might!
I ignored the sign, although I saw it was flashing. I got a sh*tload of other warnings. I was physically, and mentally exhausted. Not something that goes away with a few good nights of rest, this exhaustion weighs a ton. I could function, I could laugh and joke, but, it is not quite the same..I had to work hard to pretend, which also, adds to the exhaustion. I didn't lay in bed, and think about things, instead I would lay there, and think of how very tired I was, and that I was going to have to get up in the morning, and I knew I would still be worn out. I wondered how I was going to manage to talk to people, to do what I was suppose to do, day after day. I felt it was impossible to pretend, to listen to others problems, and care, and then have that added onto my cloud. I lost the ability to allow the rest of the world to enter my space. I didn't want anything, even something nice, from anyone else, because I had too much to carry of my own.
This time, the whole world was swirling with so much stuff that I could usually shovel off to the garbage pile, but, because I had moved past the sign, it all joined the wisp, and became blackness. I think hermits generally suffer depression. They understand that it is often difficult to deal with one's own life, and when the added burden of others begins to pile in front of your face, burdens that are usually self made, the mind just cannot bear it. So, they go away, where they only have to work on themselves, because for reasons I don't understand, they cannot block the non-personal. I, myself, cannot block it all the time, and this time, it became too much.
I have a ton of sh*t going on in my world. I speak of it often, but I doubt there are more than a few who know how very hard life is right now. I am grateful there are some, and those are the ones who I can be myself with. For months I have lived a routine, that allowed me to get through each day, with the faraway light I was aiming for. But, somehow, the garbage of others began to pile up in front of me. Every single day, it was something else, and no matter how hard I tried, I could not get away from it. It messed with the routine, and therefore it blocked the light. I began to get angry, then when I tried to set things right, and it became apparent this was a losing battle, and I was the one left holding the sh*t, I gave up. To go through each day, knowing that what you have to deal with, is wrong, and unfair, begins to cloud things. What you were taught, and the lifetime you lived following specific guidelines, suddenly was a waste of energy. In fact, all you did was a waste! Words of apology, and compassion do nothing to solve continual disregard for your own personal welfare.
Yes, this time I allowed myself to hang over the edge, I was actually ready to fall in, I saw no way out. This time, I was able to accept all the hard stuff that I knew had to be done in my personal world, I am not a weak person, I knew I could manage, if I concentrated, and found a routine. It was when the outside totally f*cked with my routine, when the wisp grew into the night, that I needed the rope.
I am still hanging onto the rope..not quite back onto solid ground. I am checking myself, to see if I can go back to where the hole lays, and stay on the right side of the sign. Another light has been turned on, to help me, there is a safe place, now. I know I am sick..this time I was damn scared, because I forgot my own rules..I have placed the bandages over the cracks, and will step back into the real world to test the light. I am ready to run the moment I see the sign..because somehow I forgot how very awful and how very dark the hole is!