We Are Not Alone - July 2002
Yes I'm still here!
My life goes on although I am in a kind of limbo. Although
things are not as black as they once were I still get periods of
despair at my situation and fear for the future.
The drugs I am on seem to have stabilized my mood swings and that
helps a lot. Although I am now on a level that is just above the
gutter at least I don't have the mood swings that sweep over me
like a roller-coaster. One minute up in the air and the next rushing
down to the ground. The frightening thing about those swings were
the terrifying plunges into the blackness of hopelessness.
As far as I am concerned there is no future and the
past is hidden away in my subconscious. Even when I do get flashbacks
they are so wreathed in haziness that they might have been someone
else's memories. I am almost totally detached from them. Okay, this
masks the acute pain of bad memories but it also serves to make
me realize that I have lost the good ones as well.
Through this web site I have met some wonderful people
who offer me advice or just want to make contact to share the fact
that I am not alone in my illness. To those of you I offer my heartfelt
However when the blackness sets in there is such a feeling of isolation
that all of the advice in the world couldn't drag me back into the
light. I am sure fellow depression sufferers feel the same way.
Depression is all consuming, like a black hole in space. Once there
it fills the whole of ones world and will not allow any light to
penetrate. All one can do is wait it out and hope that it will end
as soon as it started.
Sometimes the emotions that depression brings are almost
tangible. I have often cried out loud in sheer misery at the hopelessness
of life, my life. I have tried to look forwards to what the future
may hold, all of the things that would be left undone if my life
ended prematurely. But the balance of good versus bad weighs heavily
on the side of bad.
As things stand there are no strong thoughts of self harm. Sometimes
there are flickers of suicide or disfigurement but they are way
out at the edge of my periphery and are soon banished by sleep or
I guess the best way of describing my mental state,
and I have said this before, is that I am treading water and waiting
impatiently for my life to end naturally. Is that a crime, a sin?
I cannot answer that question but if it were posed to me I would
respond with the question 'is it a sin to let me carry on with this
I came across an article in the Sunday Telegraph the
other day. It was written by a professor of English, Jonathan Dollimore,
who suffers from depression too. As I read his words I began to
notice a startling similarity between his life and mine.
Statements such as;
"Depression is like that — it attaches to the negative
in anything. Still, I had wanted to help her. Something resembling
sympathy was alive in me."
rang true with me. Whilst I suffer from depression and at times
it is all-consuming there is a part of me that wants, needs to help
others who are less 'fortunate' than me.
Dollimore goes on to say;
"If there is a selfishness in “mental health”,
it has less to do with conscious callousness than with defending
oneself against reality. To be without the defences of sanity is
not necessarily a gain — although some would claim that it
is, and those who have written most eloquently about depression
impute an almost spiritual dimension to it."
This, once again, rang a bell in my mind.
Reading on I came across;
"I’m the only one who still doesn’t know
[what causes depression]. I do know that there’s something
deeply mysterious about it. For reasons one never fully understands,
it begins with an inability to get pleasure from anything, followed
by an inability to carry through even — or especially —
the most mundane of tasks. From there, experience differs widely,
but many people end up having thoughts of suicide, attempting it
and sometimes succeeding. That final phase is the most terrifyingly
mysterious of all: it’s not so much that the life force has
been extinguished; rather, that it seems to have been turned against
And began to think that Professor Dollimore was writing about me!
The more I read the more I identified with this story;
"The mystery is there, too, in the loneliness of the experience
— in its being beyond the reach of communication or even expression.
Those who have had it struggle for the right analogy without ever
feeling they’ve found it."
and I wished that I had the eloquence of Professor Dollimore.
The final paragraph that made me realize that I was
truly identifying with the article was;
" I’ve wanted to believe depression to be biological,
chemical or hereditary because that way I could searching for the
cause, trying different cures, hand myself over for treatment in
good faith, as might with any other illness One of my symptoms is
chronic fatigue and doctors have often tested my blood for illnesses
associated with condition. I’ve been disappointed when they’ve
found nothing, being willing to exchange depression for even a serious
“physical” illness that was explicable and treatable."
I have stated many times in the past that I could cope a lot better
if I had tangible signs that I could come to terms with. Unfortunately
depression is invisible to those that don't suffer from it and the
non-sufferers think that it can be got over by 'pulling your socks
up' or 'pulling yourself together'.
Oh how I wish!
I got the message Professor Dollimore and you have my
sympathy AND empathy. Let's hope we both survive this and find a