#4: The 'Quite Long Ending' Bit
(Originally published in 2009.)
As silly as it may sound, I’ve known all along what to do to overcome this illness.
Letting things go, opening up to friends, family and like-minded individuals, as well as plugging yourself back into the ‘real world’ by breaking bad habits are all fundamental cornerstones to a healthy mental life - on top of a healthy diet and sleep pattern - but it really is a massive step to actually do them when you have a form of depression.
I believe letting someone know how bad you’re feeling is one of the hardest things to accurately tell another person - especially at the moment. The lights may look like they are on inside your head, but the same can be said for dormant Woolworths stores across the UK.
In the past, I’ve been known to easily chew the ear off of any poor soul who would listen to my current gripes, and stay up till incredibly antisocial hours to agonise every detail. Over the years, I’ve navigated away from it to an extent, as I’ve shifted from teenage angst to ‘act like a grown up’ - whether that’s a good thing, I don’t know..!
No longer being a hormonal brat does have distinct advantages. It’s started to clear some of the reams of static that has stopped me from connecting with the ‘real me’ again. I’ve realised that you don’t have to be grinning like a Cheshire Cat to be happy, and that ‘normality’ isn’t all that far away, after all.
Instead of using the illness as a crutch as to why I haven’t enjoyed something, I’ve come to realise that it might just be that I wasn’t in the mood - something which is a perfectly illicit response. Crucially, I’ve also started to think about myself as one whole person, rather than a sum of all parts that had to appease multiple facets in life.
Gradually, less time is being spent on thinking about everyone and everything else and how it’s affecting me. Now, it’s moving toward to what merely matters personally. You can’t control outside interference, after all. It’s allowing me to start to regenerate branches that had otherwise wilted away, and plant new seeds for the future.
There will probably still be plenty of tears, sleepless nights and down moments before I feel ‘better‘, but that’s just life, isn’t it? Once the over-analysis is placated, the toughest part is over. The cold veneer of depression that has shrink-wrapped recent times has started to crack. Now to keep at it until it breaks like an egg.
It’s possible that I could be stuck with this illness for the rest of my life in some shape or form, but it’s just a matter of learning to live with it, and keeping its impact to an absolute minimum. Compared to some illnesses, it’s a breeze, but it doesn’t warrant it being left in the dark. In fact, it’s the last thing we should be doing.
Depression thrives on isolation, silence and stereotypes, and the only way it’ll change is by - somewhat paradoxically - talking about it. I feel that it is still a taboo subject; it’s a fallout from the pressure to succeed and deliver in life, which cruelly thrives without a voice.
Once again, I can’t speak for everyone, but I know in my case, some of the key fundamentals to removing the shroud of mild depression is found within implanting momentum and positivism once again. It’s something that is desperately required across all walks of life, but I seriously doubt it’ll ever happen.
It’s unlikely that I’ll just wake up and feel ‘cured’ - in fact, I probably won’t even realise it’s happened until further down the line. Just a word of warning though. The last time I felt completely free of any mental anguish was the night of the mini earthquake that hit the UK. If something equally seismic happens in the near future, please feel free to ask me how I’m feeling today…