Written by a member of Out of the Blues

As I’ve grown older (and slightly wiser) I have come to the realisation that it is highly possible that I have suffered on and off with depression throughout my life. I am writing this in admittance that I don’t think I’ve ever been “quite right”. So here it is….

“I have suffered from depression and its best friend anxiety since I was a child”.

My first memory of this was about age 9 when I was going to Church and Sunday school regularly with my two friends. We all decided to get confirmed together and I was excited. All my family had been confirmed and I always wanted to kneel down and have that little piece of bread (and wine). I loved watching people go for communion, even envied it. I used to stand up and read to the congregation, so saying a few things in front of them and a Bishop for my confirmation wouldn’t be a problem, or so I thought. After the initial excitement I became overwhelmed and I stopped going to Sunday school.

I also couldn’t muster the courage to sit an exam for a scholarship to a private Secondary School and turned down the opportunity for an athletics coach. I missed a lot of Secondary School and didn’t study for classes I didn’t like, which was most of them. I had all the potential one could ask for both academically and physically but it all slipped through my fingers. I went from being the first one picked for a team to the last one!

I have gone long periods, years even, getting up every morning for work and enjoying it, I’ve been through different health problems, had operations and gone back willingly after I’d recovered. But then a day would come where as much as I tried I couldn’t even envisage myself getting out of bed, let alone going to work and interacting with people!

I am a walking contradiction. I go from feeling super confident and happy that I’ve made all the right decisions and said all the right things, to doubting everything about myself.

I’ve done presentations, courses, gone through several interviews, even “acted”. On the other hand I despise doing presentations, making small talk and being the centre of attention. All knowing eyes on me, seeing my pain, fear, vulnerability and weaknesses. I packed in College and University because I JUST COULDN’T!

I can be tough and a bit aloof but I’m also open, sensitive and giving which can and has made me a target for bullying, controlling and manipulative friends, family and work colleagues. I have now become more paranoid and cynical than ever before. But those experiences still haven’t stopped me from opening up and embracing new people into my life. Yes, I could be hurt and disappointed again, but I also want to live.

I am in a never ending war, trying to fight off the memories of the past and thoughts of the future, to enjoy my life in the present.
But it’s difficult when the present is also a battlefield, a battlefield filled with landmines. I tread as carefully as I can but then life explodes it’s shrapnel over me time and again, my wounds eventually heal but the scars are still there, some on the surface, some embedded deep inside me along with the torture of the, “why me’s?”, “if onlys”…. “why didn’t I’s?”, “I knew I should have’s”………

Negative self-talk has long conversations with me when I am feeling low, saying “You’re rubbish!” You’re stupid!” “You’re a horrible person!” “Everyone would be better off without you!” etc etc etc………..

The self-loathing depression brings spills into my family life. I’m irritable, short tempered and impatient. I am also kind, loving, thoughtful and funny. I’m not afraid to make a fool of myself but then sometimes I want the ground to swallow me up!

I have gone through some very dark times and it’s a constant battle, positive versus negative – good versus evil. I now fight with a white flag of acceptance. Some battles are easier than others and I cherish my good, positive days and try to make the most of them.

This is me I guess. Confident, social, full of energy and fun loving, but also lacking in self-esteem, reclusive, tired and boring.
Feeling great and then………bang! The trigger is pulled again.

The darkness envelops me like I am in the middle of a sandstorm. I can’t see, I can’t breathe, I can’t think, I don’t know which direction to go, I’m scared, my heart is pounding so hard it hurts. I have to stay inside, the wind is blowing and the storm is getting worse.

Then the sand settles and I can see again, everything is covered with the fine grains but I can see again and each day I can see more clearly as the sand disperses. I can go outside, I can breathe, the sun is shining on me. Life is good…………….

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