The dark face of depression

Today is a very bad day.

 

My bad days are fairly rare, and in that way I have been lucky. My very bad days are rarer still, but today is a very bad day.

Usually, I write on a good day when my mind is clear and rational, but as mental illness is so rarely discussed and conveyed, today as I was crying under my duvet contemplating what the fucking point is, I thought I would write.

Cancer and depression go hand in hand, I’m sure nearly everyone has felt this way after being diagnosed, even if just for a second. So here it is, what it is really like being depressed straight from the depressed mind.

What’s even the fucking point? Is essentially the only thing occupying my usually very busy brain space. Before being diagnosed I had never really experienced anything completely permanent before, apart from the odd death of an elderly relative or pet. But in general, most decisions or events in your life come and go, and even the most painful experience will one day ease and leave you.

Yet infertility and the life that now awaits me in and out of doctors’ rooms with the worry of cancer staring me over the shoulder is 100% permanent. My future is now forever shaped for the worse, and for once there is absolutely nothing I can do about it, at all. As a doer, I have always had the attitude that if there is something you don’t like, or perhaps something you want, then make a change and sort that shit out. In that way I have always been certain I will lead a life that is fulfilling and happy. For me, that general idea was a rewarding career and a large family. Obviously my womb had other ideas.

So within a sentence my life course changed forever, permanently. Losing control over something that is the single most important thing to you for your future is a BIGGIE. So on a normal day my brain pragmatically tells me it’s okay, you will get better and you will still get what you want from life, maybe just in a different way. I will still 100% be a mum, whether I carry a child or not. Yet a depressed mind forgets this, and as much as I try to bring my consciousness back to correct myself the overriding feeling is ‘your future is lost, you will never have the life you wanted, there is nothing you can do about it, so what is the point?’. This is when suicide doesn’t look like such an unreasonable option.

On my darkest days my brain just sees the never ending cycle of difficulty life throws at you, you never go long without something happening to make life hard, painful. It is always one thing after another. Even when life is going well and you are happy, something will come along at some point to throw you off kilter.

When my head is in this place, nothing can reason with it, I consider reaching out to someone but anything they say will fall on deaf ears. I fight with myself to try reach out to the real me, the logical, pragmatic and optimistic me that 99% of the time is happy. But I can’t find her. You lose yourself, everything you are is lost in the cold, dark, grey, choppy waters of an English shoreline. You know you’re in there somewhere and you try find yourself, but you’re gone and it all seems so pointless. Your depressed brain makes quite a strong argument, everything it says seems reasonable enough, and on a level is true, and it sucks you in.

Still I fight, I try remember that yesterday I didn’t feel hopeless at all, so therefore I’m not, and if I fight it for just a few hours or days I will remember the joy I still have from life. I will remember that I am a doer and I will have a future that I’m happy with, that it is all definitely worth it. I can just about remember this and think it, but I don’t FEEL it, and there is a big difference.

This is what my darkest days are like. This is only the second time I have felt like this, but the feeling is so endless I can’t imagine feeling any different. Was I ever happy? I know I was, but I don’t feel it. I so very much admire anyone living with chronic depression, I don’t know how you do it, but my God you are strong. It’s fucking hard, and I feel for you.

Cancer and depression go hand in hand, this may be only my second very dark day, but my mental health often waivers with the pressure. My more regular medium bad days ‘grey days’, happen a few times a month. This is when I feel a more manageable level of depressed. I generally feel like shit, but not that my life is 100% hopeless. On a middle of the road grey day, I have no energy or drive to do anything. My life feels overwhelming, there is just too much to think about, too much to do, too much to feel, just TOO much. You need some time off from your life. You need to escape out of your head and be somewhere/someone else, even a day would do. Just getting out of bed or feeding yourself seems like an impossible task, not right now. You’re drowning, with too much of everything sucking you under, and you can’t cope. If only everything could just disappear, some slight reprieve. There never is. So you just sink back, hide, and wait for it to pass.

The really dark days like today don’t feel like that. I don’t feel overwhelmed; I don’t feel like I’m drowning. I feel nothing, just empty, vast, grey, lost. My normal function is lost, my personality is lost, my essence, my soul, is lost. I can barely even remember who I normally am and the usual punchy, sassy, fuck it, I can do it attitude I have. If only I could feel myself more, maybe I could get past this feeling of hopelessness. Part of me is still there somewhere, telling me it will pass, but I don’t feel it. My life is fucked, forever. That’s all I feel, that’s my reality today.

3 thoughts on “The dark face of depression

  1. Lydia, you brought so much truth to the feelings of depression. Or should I say the “non-feeling” of depression that is strangely excruciatingly painful? I used to keep a journal so I could show myself that I had been happy the day/week before. It was my lifeline when every hour hurt. Thank you for sharing this post with the world. xoxoako

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well done for being so honest…I can totally relate (diagnosed with acute leukaemia in 2015) I too have had dark days but have come to the conclusion that it’s ok to feel like this and it’s all part of living with Cancer and though it’s tough you do come out the other side…all the best…

    Like

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