Let me walk you through this totally theoretical situation. Let’s say for instance your a person that has in the past suffered from big bouts of depression and that the depression manifests itself in a voice that makes you paranoid and tells you your worthless, ugly, stupid and a bunch of other really ugly things. However not everything in your world right now is bad, in fact pretty much the opposite it’s mostly good. Let’s also say that recently you have met a few people who you have really bonded with which in itself is both rather exciting and scary at the same time because this sort of thing does not happen to you very often. These new people have met probably the most open upfront version of you that has ever existed. This version of you sometimes may cross borders with over sharing because you need to be honest to not only the people your involved with but also yourself. With me so far? Good, there’s more…
You have also been able to tell these new people in your life that you were worse than you are now and that your aware that you have had relapses albeit minor ones. They in turn have been understanding in receiving this information and even encouraged you that being this honest with them is okay. Even when you tell them that the episodes still affect you in a huge way where any occurrence of them can leave you feeling rocked for days on end. They often leave you with a lot of questions, some guilt, frustration and that horrible after feeling in knowing that no matter what you have done it still exists. Still with me? Excellent…
One day, for no real apparent reason whilst you are with one of these new people, one that your romantically involved with and been sleeping with one of these episodes happen. Before you know it you’re already at the bottom of the sadness well treading water and trying not to let yourself be dragged down by the undercurrent. There are some pretty significant firsts to be noted here.
- This is the first time this new person has seen you like this.
- This is really the first time you have let people see you like this and that alone makes you uncomfortable
The person your with is supportive and encourages you to cuddle if you want and yes right now a cuddle would be awesome. Your brain calms a bit and you manage to drift off to sleep with some very strange dreams affecting you. Any time your brain wakes up it continues to tell you how shit you are which is likely to continue for a few days after the event.
To add a little more complexity to the situation you are well aware that the person sleeping next to you also has had issues with anxiety. They have an event happening the next day that they might be anxious about but in your current state of mind that is not in your focus. When morning comes you want to lay and cuddle for a while and they through no real fault of their own (that you know of) act a little cold to you. Now as I said, you currently have no real idea what is going through that other persons head and because you both have work to go to you don’t really have the time to talk about it. Even if you did have the time your brain is still in hatred mode and has taken the actions of the other person to tell you that you have pissed them off and that you probably should just vacate their house, get out and probably stay out of their life because who would want to be with a freak like you. It continues to tell you just how much you messed up again and that you should expect and even give the person the opportunity to tell you that they no longer want to be part of your life.
You might be thinking that this situation sounds absolutely ridiculous? Well yes your right it is, however as theoretical as the intro suggests this situation is very real. This is a detailed description of what it was like during my last major episode, since then I have been to talk to my counsellor about it and even read him an incarnation of this very text and I have been able to put into context what happened and how. It seems that when I feel a deep empathy for a person there is a slight chance that feeling that will in turn bring me crashing down. It’s a trigger point and me and my counsellor talked about trigger avoidance but this one is tricky. I don’t want to stop feeling empathy for because I actually really enjoy just how human it makes me feel, it reminds me that things do hurt and hurt for a reason and I am not a robot but this reaction to the stimulus is powerful. I’m not sure if this is caused by depression or not but the aftermath of the even has definitely made depression rear it’s ugly head because ever since then I have been feeling very emotional. Just yesterday I was walking down the road and a piece of music made me cry, okay yes I was feeling emotional anyway but for a piece of music which I have heard several times before to affect me this way something else has to be happening.
Depression is complicated and I have chosen to try and document my episodes more in order to have a greater understanding and maybe help others. I no longer want to be one of the hidden masses that is so afraid of being ‘crazy’ that actually they do themselves more harm by hiding. One in four people suffer from a mental illness so if you know four people then it’s likely that one of them has had or has mentally illness of some form, maybe I am your one.