Monday, October 25, 2010

Spiralling Into Madness And The Death Of Others

It has been suggested to me that my depression is linked to the death of my father when I was 10. And it seemed quite plausible to me, until I saw photos taken from before he died, where I looked unbelievably miserable. Once I'd reflected on this I started remembering that I was a thoroughly depressed child from a very young age, well before my tenth birthday.

I have pictures of me looking frankly annoyed to be in Bergen, pissed off to be in North Cape, genuinely distressed to be in Norfolk, and many, many other places around the world. Despite the fact I had - as far as I recall - a fairly happy childhood. I was nurtured, encouraged, supported and taken to all these wonderful places and I was, for the most part, deeply depressed about it.

You may be thinking "the word you're looking for is ungrateful, not depressed" and I can understand why you'd think that. But I was genuinely grateful to have the opportunity to travel and spend time with people I loved and loved me. The problem was I just found everywhere a bit "meh". I was jaded and world weary before I was 8. There was nowhere I felt happy, not even at home. There were lots of nice places, wonderful views and experiences, but did I enjoy a single one of them? No.

And while I was annoyed at myself for not enjoying these things when they were happening, I was even more annoyed at myself when my Dad died and I realised I'd never do any of them again with him. Which made me more depressed and inward. And also began my hated of other children. To see them running around, blind to the worries and concerns that filled my head, made me bitter.

Again, it sounds like I'm an ungrateful bastard and I should just pull myself together and appreciate all the good things that have happened to me. I do appreciate all the things that have happened to me - good and bad - as they make me remember I am actually alive. My depression keeps me in such a state of almost suspended animation that when good or bad things happen I sometimes don't notice them. The date my mother died? Not a clue. It shames me to say that as I love her dearly, but I have no idea when she died.

So when the depression comes in and tells me that I could be in the most wonderful place in the world and not actually take pleasure from it, I believe it. That I could be doing the thing I most wanted to, and I'd just find it boring or I'd be useless at it, whatever you say my little black dog. I have analysed to death things that I have an interest in. I've made things I enjoyed so utterly unenjoyable that I take no further pleasure from them. I'm not sure if that's depression or me just being an idiot, but whatever light relief I had, I stopped it and got depressed about doing it.

And then annoyed at myself for being depressed when there were people who were much worse off than I was and had something to be genuinely depressed about.

My worst experience of depression so far (at least I think it was, others may have a different opinion) was in Exeter when I very nearly killed myself. I blame the anti-depressants I was on filling my head with serotonin when my head was not used to such happiness fuelled drugs. It could well have been the general unpleasantness of the shared house I was living in, who knows.

What I do know is that it was the murder of Tom Brown that made me snap out of it. Tom was one of my ex-staff from when I used to run a Students' Union bar in Enfield. Some mutual friends came round to tell me when it happened. I was utterly stunned. I was even more stunned when another friend of mine told me later that when she'd been phoned and told that there was some bad news, she assumed it was me killing myself.

I resolved to do something about my depression, my situation and my life.

I'm still trying to, and often still failing.

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Blogger Janey B said...

I would just like to mention two things if I may.
First, I don't think it's a bad thing you don't remember the date your mum died. I only remember dad's date of death because it was 2 days after my birthday. Any other time I'd be struggling. Sometimes I have to ask Kay how long it's been since him and Jane died! Anyway, the fact that you remember your mum is enough :)

Second, please don't compare your own troubles with others who you perceive to be worse off than you. I'm not saying that other people's problems don't matter, but in this time and space you do. And comparing them to others' seems to minimise the importance of yours. Did that come out right?

I hope this didn't sound like nagging! Love and hugs xxxx

Anonymous Anonymous said...

you can't 'fight' depression and win. you can't compare your own situation with others - 'i should be happier because i am well off ...' because they don't suffer with depression and you do. you have to learn to live with it. unfortunately, there is no choice involved. find whichever way works for you. personally? serotonin :) xxx

Anonymous Paula said...

Having grown up in Norfolk 'genuinely distressed' sounds like a fair comment....I jest of course (a bit) but I think the memory issues are very common. I remember nothing about pretty much everything and am generally convinced that early onset alzheimers is but a haze away.

I knew nothing about that murder, after my time I'm guessing but these realities often seem to be the anchors to hold us in a particular time. Are you an only child? I am and lots of what you say resonates with me, and (to my knowledge) I don't suffer from anything more than a touch of the maudlins every now and again. That general feeling of detachment and living in your own little bubble in particular....


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