As many of you know, I always tell it the way it is – good and bad – and this week I’m afraid it’s all pretty bad.
That Big Bad Bear of Depression
Those of you who have been reading my blog for many years will be aware that from time to time I have suffered seriously from depression, which at one point was so bad, (early 2010 if I remember correctly), that I was extremely close to ending it all.
During those very bad days, I thought it would have been so easy. I all I needed to do was to inject a dose of 300 units of fast acting insulin into my arm and it would have been all over.
I vividly recall how close I was to the end of my pathetic life. It was the first time in my life when I couldn’t see any way out of my extremely depressed state; I was all alone and I was a hopeless alcoholic, with no foreseeable prospects of quitting.
Each day I would wake up feeling like death, (from the previous day’s drinking binge), and then force enough booze into my alcohol-ravaged stomach to control the ‘DT’s’, and to make myself feel a bit better for a few blessed minutes.
I would sit on a chair in my studio apartment and contemplate whether ‘do it’ that day, or to ‘enjoy’ a few more days of getting ‘paralytic before finally calling it a day and sending myself over the edge into everlasting oblivion…
How I pulled myself out of that personal crisis has been documented in my blog and I very much doubt if I would be her today if I hadn’t met an excellent psychotherapist who not only provided highly relevant therapy, but also introduced me to a psychiatrist who prescribed some very effective anti-depressant medication.
Since those dark days I have not only succeeded in stopping drinking, (over 3 ½ years now), but have also managed to wean myself off the anti-depressants, which happened just over 3 years ago.
Last year was not a good year, as it was the year I lost all my money in an investment scam.
I effectively lost my entire ‘pension pot’, which was supposed to see me through the rest of my life – but even though I felt absolutely devastated and very low, I never relapsed into what is described by the docs as a clinical depression.
If anything should have triggered a depression it should have been the loss of my money, but for some reason, it didn’t. But now, just over year later, it is looming down on me with some kind of belated vengeance.
I have felt it coming for quite a while. It doesn’t just suddenly happen; I am not deliriously happy one day and extremely down the next, although this can be the case with manic depressives – of which I am not one.
It is more a gradual attack on the senses that transforms a ‘normal, well-adjusted reasonably content human being’ into someone who is unbelievably sad, prone to crying, unable to find the energy to do the simplest of things and often feels suicidal.
Part of the reason for this relapse is undoubtedly due to the trials and tribulations I have been going through in trying to make a success of my bar business, (see below), but I know it is much more than that.
I was in a much more precarious financial situation this time last year, yet I still felt good about life and made plans to try and secure my situation as best as I could. Then my physical health started to fail and while admitting that I did feel very low and extremely worried, I was still relatively free from this damn depression.
When my depression descends, I have no energy, no interest in doing anything, feel sleepy the whole time and an indescribable feeling of sadness and melancholy envelopes me.
It becomes a major task just to get out of bed, to take my medication or even lift my head to drink a cup of coffee, let alone brush my teeth or take a shower. The depression effectively paralyses me, both physically and mentally, and the suicidal feelings start to return.
I feel worthless and my situation seems hopeless and I start to reason that Noo and her family would be much better off without me – which could well be the case.
Watching, reading about or listening to world news simply triggers feelings of anger and utter despair.
Last Wednesday, I felt so depressed that I was scared I would do something silly. Somehow I managed to take a shower and get dressed and then I got into the car and drove around and around, not knowing or caring where I was going. I put my phone on silent so that I wouldn’t be disturbed.
After a couple of hours I stopped at a bar for a quiet contemplative soft drink. By some kind of crazy coincidence, two of my now ‘ex-friends’ were there but they ignored me, (see why in my next piece below), so I immediately left. I looked at my phone and saw that Noo had called me over a dozen times.
I went to the bar, told her I was OK and then went home.
On Thursday we had a long talk and I told her about my depression. She didn’t understand at first but now I think she does, and as ever, she is being very good about it.
I have decided to take the momentous step of going back on the medication that I stopped taking over 3 years ago as I’m not sure what else I can do and I am worried I will end up doing something bad.
Friday was my first day back on medication and I felt so sleepy that I stayed in bed all day. Saturday was better and I starting typing this blog on my computer.
Today – although I feel spaced out or ‘zombie-like’, I am just about able to function but hoping and waiting for the medication to start working on my mood.
The medication takes a couple of weeks to kick in properly so I will have to see how things go. I know I will have bad days and ‘not so bad’ days, but hopefully the medication will help me to ‘get a grip on things’ over time. I certainly can’t afford a therapist and the medication costs over 2 dollars a day so I am hoping that this will be a short term affair.
I was going to write a lengthy ‘Tales from a barfly’ today about some of the crazy characters who have been in my bar lately, but I think I will leave it until next week, when hopefully I will be more in the mood.
Take care, everyone.