I've struggled, for most of my life, with depression and anxiety. I exist outside of my own head, looking inward experiencing myself and my thoughts like a movie or a book. Over the past few weeks, it's all been coming back, and although I've really tried - really tried, you guys - to keep it all away, people are noticing, and I'm noticing, and I don't know what to do.
Sometimes, when I'm in a good place, I can get back inside my head, and actually live and feel things and act without thinking and not be constantly analysing every thought and action that my brain generates.
When I'm in a bad place, I'm a stranger to myself - everything is so conscious, every feeling is artificial and strange.
I fluctuate between these two states on a timescale of months, and as good as this summer was for me, is how bad this winter will turn out to be. I have coping strategies - things I learned from my brief stint in counselling - but the effort, the fact that I even have to try in order to feel normal is what kills me.
I just came across a text file I wrote exactly one year ago, when I was at what now seems like the lowest point of my life. I tried to put into words the thoughts that had been running through my head for hours and hours as I spiralled into a breakdown. I wanted to post it here to exorcise those demons, because I've found myself thinking some of these same things the past few weeks, and I have to get rid of them, somehow.
This is what my depression sounds like - it's not pretty like on television, but it is real:
I feel like I'm trapped in a loop of hating myself
I feel like all of the things that are wrong with me matter
I just want to stop being told that I have no reason to hate myself, that I'm normal, and that everyone has problems too.
I don't want people to tell me what they think is good about me and tell me that I'm not as awful as I think I am
I'm sick of feeling guilty because of how I feel
I feel like my existence is less meaningful than others and that I'm not connected with the world around me anymore
I can't remember when or if I ever felt normal, and I feel like there is no one else who experiences the world the same way I do
I feel like I have lost the ability to form a meaningful emotional connection with anyone or anything, and I feel like I only see the world as symbols to be parsed, and not actual objects or individuals
I feel like I've been put together from spare parts or leftover pieces of what makes a proper human being. There is something fundamental missing from me that I see in other people but not myself.
I feel like a fake and that I am always acting and have lost the ability to feel genuine all the time.
I feel like my problems are less valid because sometimes I feel happy. I hate feeling happy because it makes me think my problems are all in my head and its my fault I haven't found a way to overcome them.
I feel like my problems are not serious and it is my fault that they feel like they are
I have no confidence in my ability to evaluate my feelings anymore. I hate that I am so dependent on others to evaluate my feelings.
I feel like I am broken and that no matter how much help I get I will always feel this way. Even if I learn to cope with my broken brain, I'll still be aware of them, and I feel like I cannot love myself as a broken person.
I am scared that I will never feel differently, and that I will push away the people I care about.
I see signs of my deficiencies in everything I do.
I feel like if it were up to me I would spend the rest of my life alone, because other people cannot love me the way I am
I am afraid that if I told people the true extent of my feelings they would take actions to help that I would not consent to
I feel like I would be much happier if I were normal, and I would give up all the good things about me to be normal and happy.
I feel crippling regret for who I have been and who I am now, and I would give anything for a chance to go back and right my wrongs and give myself a chance to grow up as a normal person
I dwell on all the points in my life where I feel a different decision would have made me a better person today, and I feel as though the fact that I didn't act the right way or do the right thing confirms that I am a broken person.
There have been multiple points in my life where I came close to dying, and I feel ambivalent about the fact that I survived.
I feel as though I am just waiting for the normal part of my life to begin, and each day that passes without change makes me feel less optimistic that it ever will happen.
I feel as though I am pathetic for feeling sad because there are many people worse off than me
I feel ashamed to use the word 'depressed' to describe my feelings because there are people with worse problems than mine.
I have no right to a diagnosis for my problems because other people tell me I have no reason to feel sad.
If souls exist, I probably do not have one
I'm sorry if this bothered anyone.
I wanted to share this with you not because I want help or sympathy, but because I need to tell someone, anyone, what's going on inside my head. If I've discovered anything since I began posting here, it's that I'm not alone. We all have our problems and our fears and our stresses and our sadnesses, and we all have things that make us happy and glad and peaceful and safe. I wanted to post this with the hope that it may resonate with someone, that someone may understand some small part of my jumbled, broken thoughts, because they feel it too, and maybe seeing these awful feelings put into words may help them feel just a little bit less alone.
"The best moments in reading are when you come across something — a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things — that you'd thought special, particular to you. And here it is, set down by someone else, a person you've never met, maybe even someone long dead. And it's as if a hand has come out and taken yours." - Hector, The History Boys by Alan Bennett.