Thoughts

Better at depression

It’s better, but it can still be better…

I’m over it. I am better. Many years have passed and I’ve had so many relationships since then. I’ve been married again even.

But am I healed?

I had no psychiatric problem. My doctor (general practitioner) in 1997-1998 in the small town of Middleburg and I agreed. Or maybe he didn’t agree with me.

Nonetheless, in 2000 when I thought I had a depression relapse, I went to a psychiatrist who found nothing wrong with me. There was no medication needed to fix my head. I only needed to continue with counseling, she suggested.

A blogging friend speaks of triggers and I don’t understand how they work. One of her vlogs that I watched had a trigger warning. Suicidal thoughts are not uncommon. I’ve been there, done that, got the scars, and at some point, I’m sure I was the mayor of that! But no, no trigger. I concluded it’s because I have no PTSD. I had a simple depression because I was such a baby, a spoiled brat, who couldn’t handle a common divorce.

And anyway, I have no depression anymore. My depression was nothing antidepressants and counseling couldn’t fix. I didn’t even take my medication for long.

I was just a melodramatic princess-wannabe who failed to get the prince Barbara Cartland wrote about in her books that I read about in my teens. People might would say…

So, I didn’t dwell much on whatever I was going through. It was something that would pass. Everyone said…

I am just a drama queen, with a natural tendency to be manic depressive.

But, I was diagnosed with clinical depression. Only recently did I find out there’s such a thing as situational depression. At that time, the internet was not how it is now. I couldn’t just google about depression.

I had been quite emotional this year. I really have no idea why. I’m thinking maybe because I said I would grow up this year and surely growing up means the ability to accept oneself, warts and all.

It doesn’t take away my fear that I must be so messed up still. I guess that’s what happens when we fix ourselves superficially instead of getting proper treatment.

But it was only divorce!

I am no expert. I am not a Psychologist. The only Psychology I took was 101 but I do think it’s a huge problem when we box our experiences as ‘one size fits all’.

Life is like ice cream; we come in different flavors. So, if I’m ube flavor and another is rocky road flavor, when divorce happens to us, the results won’t be the same. Therefore, we can’t recommend exactly the same advice and/or treatment. While the standard things to do to get over issues may help, I do think that it is imperative to get counseling and to not stop the treatment until the root of the problem is pulled out.

Did I think that I could block out the pain and suffering by partying and working? Did I think that laughter could drown out the tears?

My deep-seated feeling of inadequacy was aggravated by my husband then cheating on me and divorcing me. He trivialized my feelings, my depression, by calling me crazy. I was mentally unstable and that was his reason for filing for divorce. He wasn’t afraid to use it to his advantage. This predicament in which I found myself had to be resolved.

I was seeing a therapist. My treatment was progressing especially after hypnotic therapy but I had to leave the small town. It was necessary for me to move on. I moved to the big city and her noise stifled the faint quivering sound of my sobbing heart.

Carla Louise, who is one of the most wonderful, loveliest and most inspiring people I have met here on WP, wrote The Bell Jar and I have here an excerpt but please do read the whole post by clicking on the link below.

While my ‘reason’ has technically disappeared, and while I’d say emotionally I’m doing much better, I still have bad days. I still cry for no reason and for every reason.

– Carla Louise, The Bell Jar (The Melodramatic Confessions of Carla Louise)

Through her posts, For Anyone Considering Suicide, From Those That Have Been There and The Bell Jar, Carla inspired me to write this post.

It seems any act of random kindness, whether felt, seen or heard, takes me back to that day I failed at suicide.

My ex-husband told me to leave the house. He did not want to find me there upon his return from his business trip because I tried to kill myself and therefore repulsive.

So, I went to the doctor, the psychologist and to work. With the help of the people at work, the Financial Director included, I managed to move out of the house that very same day. Through all these, everyone was just utterly kind to me.

Fast forward to more than fifteen years later and I still can’t handle people being kind to me merely for the sake of kindness. I once again become that pitiful woman.

The memory comes back with crystal-clear clarity.

My husband then had managed to grab the razor blade from me. I’m left with a small scar on my arm. 

He had prevented me from drinking water so I couldn’t swallow the sleeping tablets in my mouth. 

There was calm. My hysterical cries had subsided. I surrendered. We went to bed.

I couldn’t sleep. I got up. I had other tablets that I carried in my bag. He had hidden all the razor blades, sleeping pills and all other tablets he could find in the house. I took whatever other tablets I could find.

I went back to bed and kissed my 2-year old son goodbye. I must have been crying when I finally fell asleep, convinced that I would not wake up. I woke up, sick and vomiting on my now ex-husband.

I prefer people to be kind to me expecting something in return. I can deal with that. That puts us in equal footing.

It is stupid, I know, but random kindness makes me feel like that failure who refused to accept that divorce does not necessarily equate to failure.

I would not accept that it was okay to maybe even go back home to my parents instead of proving to God-knows-who that I could make it and do well on my own, in a strange country, after rejection.

I could not see that it was okay to cry and grieve, and that it was okay to take as long as I needed to mourn the death of my marriage. I had to get over the grief as quickly as possible for my toddler, my work and most of all, my sanity.

I should have known that it was acceptable to be depressed and that sometimes, although helpful, prayers don’t take away depression completely. I shouldn’t have thought that medical intervention was unnecessary. I should have known it’s okay to be different from my family and see a psychologist regularly.

So now, when a problem meteor crashes into the world of my relationship, I get wrecked. I am transported back to where I was – in devastating despair.

Perhaps I still struggle with letting go.

But, I don’t think I’m completely unwell. I only get teary-eyed sporadically, for no reason or for unknown reasons.

The one thing I need to accept is that an act of random kindness is perfectly all right. It’s not someone joining my pity party. It’s not because I’m in dire straits that people should and will feel sorry for me. Someone’s kindness is not a validation of my inadequacy. Even adequate, strong, worthy people can benefit from kindness.

It’s okay to be a bit of a softie. It doesn’t mean that just because I’m not a callous ice queen I am a vulnerable target. And it’s not that people go out of their way to hurt people. We make mistakes, that’s all.

It’s okay to love and be loving

It’s okay to trust and be trusting.

It’s okay to trust kindness.

 

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8 thoughts on “Better at depression

  1. Firstly, you are so sweet!! Thank you so much, your words really touched me!
    Secondly, I’m so glad you’re opening up. Some people are dicks, and are only kind for a reason. But there’s so many people out there that are kind because they want to be, and you’re one of those people. I guess it’s also about ensuring that you find the ‘right’ people, and I’m glad that’s happening for you. I’m glad you know that everything you’re feeling is okay, and that you’re getting the help you deserve.
    Thirdly, your ex sounds like an absolute twat. I’m glad that he hid everything from you – I shudder to think otherwise – but I can’t believe he acted like you were something repulsive! What a horrible, insensitive jerk!!
    I really am so glad that things are getting better. And, like always, there will be good days and bad days. Just know I’m here if you ever need to talk – no matter the type of day, and about any topic x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for all the kind words and encouragement. Thank you very much for caring. I really, really am grateful. It means a lot.
      I’m struggling a bit today after writing this and I guess I went through the day running away from my recollection. I do think though that I shouldn’t escape… I’m just so used to the easy way of living my life – superficially and forgetting everything else except living today.
      Slowly but surely… I know now for sure that if I want my healing to be permanent, the letting go process must be natural and not forced. I have to go back to those years and process what I went through the right way. I know the special people in my life meant well encouraging me just ‘forget about it, move on and live each day as it comes’.
      Much love to you. Hugs xxx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m glad 🙂 Your kindness and support means so much to me, as well.

        I know exactly what you mean. Some posts actually take a lot out of me – even when I don’t expect them to. Sometimes I just need a few days away, a few days of calm. Especially because I frequently tackle controversial topics. I think you just need to make sure you have self-compassion for yourself: recognise that this did take a little toll, and while of course you’ll bounce back, you should treat yourself. (My psychologist is very big about self-compassion. Basically, it’s about taking the time to recognise that you’re suffering and you need to take care of yourself. Kind of like if there’s a problem on the plane first – you need to put your air mask on first, before you can help others.)
        I hope you’re feeling better.
        Lots of love xx

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a great piece, well written and thought-provoking. Most people shy away from emotional problems in themselves and others because it is perceived as a weakness and cowboys are not supposed to cry. Keep well!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Hester. It means a lot to me, really. Thank you.
      I have always done the strong, no tears, callous, live for the day only, let go of the past and move on. But I have realized that for it to really get out of my system, I have to do this letting go properly. Thank you for the encouragement. It should be better this time. 🙂
      Thank you.
      Much love and hugs xx

      Liked by 1 person

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