Explaining how you feel…

How do you explain depression to someone who doesn’t understand? How do you make someone see, understand what it is, what its like, how it feels? Its something to be honest, I’ve never tried to do. My parents saw the best and worst of me and therefore they got it first hand, for all its peculiarities and oddness.

Its described as that black dog that follows you around, a metaphor for being chased down by darkness, this feeling of being followed, imprisoned, caged by your own feelings. Its always there, like a cloud looming, suffocating you, reminding you that it can rain again any time.

But what is it. Its hardly descriptive is it, this black dog. Its all abstract words and feelings its hardly surprising people can’t grasp it. To me, its this sense of deadness that creeps in. Where I go through a stage of feeling numb, over tired, exhausted, my brain works at a 100 miles an hour worrying about anything, everything, keeping me up. I stop sleeping, I feel nothing about anything. Apathetic,  just very unlike me.

Then you feel lost, down, sad, you feel like crying constantly because you don’t understand why you don’t feel happy, why you can’t feel properly. Like your heads wrapped in cotton wool, you can’t think, can’t process, feelings tear around inside of you rather than drifting, you’re angry for feeling so helpless when there is nothing wrong, sad for not knowing how to put it right, lost as to the answer to this imaginary problem.

Yet it is so very real. It can come around or go as fast as anything. I take tablets, the highest dose of my prescribed meds allowed, to keep me from feeling that way, but then, sometimes, it all gets to much. I’ll have a few down days, where suddenly, I’ll wake up and something isn’t right, I can feel it, this sense of… an absence. My eyes prick with tears and I don’t understand why, I end up overwhelmed, hysterical, hating myself for feeling so god damn useless. Then, I feel OK.

I sit with someone, I talk, I don’t talk, I take some different tablets, I get a handle on things, drag myself out of my own pit, and give myself a good talking too. I put things in perspective, I contact those I love, I force myself to get on, and you know what, I’m OK again, functioning normally. Enjoying friends company, occupying myself with writing, reading, plans, whatever. The helplessness subsides, the empty void is filled, if only partly on occasion, and I carry on.

Its dangerous. Its worrying how quickly things can turn so wrong, how things can get out of hand. How your rational brain, leaves somewhere and this force takes over. Doctors worry, long term depression is a worry, it leads to scary things, they want to put you with people to talk to, they want to make you feel better all the time, but we all have ups and downs, just because your depressed doesn’t mean you should never have them.

I want the highs and the lows. Sometimes you just need to talk and say, I feel like everything’s slipping away again, sometimes you need people to leave it be, sometimes you need someone to understand they cant get it. People that say its a first world problem, damn right it is. How upsetting is that, can you imagine, knowing there are people in Africa, starving, with AIDS and diseases, their children dying and if you asked them, they’d want to live.

I say its ignorant. Well yes and no. Its hard to understand something you cant explain or feel yourself, Its hard to see how there can be a problem when there is nothing seemingly wrong. It is totally irrational, that is not lost on depressives, its stupid, its selfish, its ridiculous, thats not lost on me either. But its a disease, of the brain, its there and it eats you and it makes no sense and its there for no reason.

I was told last week I was considered a harm to myself, maybe I was, last week I didnt care, I couldn’t be bothered, I was fed up of feeling down, of getting these ridiculous feelings, of the hopelessness, of letting myself get like that, if that was my life, I didnt want it. But this week, well, I’ve got my perspective back, my rational brain and I know, its stupid to let something take such a hold, something you can’t even understand or quantify.

I get upset when people question it, I understand how ridiculous it is, I hate myself for being such a drip, for letting myself become so overemotional, when I’m not one for being overly emotional normally. Its because I cant explain it, I dont understand it and I find it as frustrating as everyone does who’s trying to get a straight answer about it.

I want to hide people from my lows. When I could just lose it all completely and cry and shake and dissolve into a dribbling, snivelling wreck for no apparant reason. You look mental, you make no sense, you seem hysterical and nothings happened. Why would people want to see that? But then your being fake, your being fake all the time. No your not. Sometimes we all want to cry, sometimes we all want to scream out, its just your at the extremes as a depressive. There isn’t a lot in the middle, its from Depression to Numbness to Happiness. the place inbetween the polar opposites is not feeling at all.

I wish I could stop being like that, I wish I could just be happy with my life because I’ve nothing to be unhappy about, I wish I could be like everybody else, without making a problem out of not having a distinguishable problem. But its something I accept, I try not to think about, I get on with, its a part of me. I  was diagnosed 10 years ago, and it certainly won’t disappear overnight. I don’t dwell, I don’t think about it, I don’t will it, but it creeps in, I fight it off, I get tired, I give in, I resolve, I get up, I dust myself down, I slap myself for my stupidity, I smile, I carry on, and I’m back.

That’s as well as I can ever describe it. I just hope, for those I want it to, its good enough.

After all, Life isnt about waiting for the storm to pass, its about learning how to dance in the rain.

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Senses – a new experience.

I was watching one of my favourite (I am slightly ashamed to say) series earlier today, (yes that is me moving on without mentioning it) and a line, as normally does, stood out to me. It wasnt particularly poetic, or well written but when I thought about it some more, in fact it was just that.

“What do you hear? Nothing but the rain…” Nothing but the rain. Rain, god isn’t it a beautiful sound? That shimmering sound of the rain falling, splashing on the ground, the feel of your feet as they jumped into a puddle, or the rain on your skin. The sound of a storm at your window, the wind careering around, the trees swishing in the breeze, the thunder rumbling far away, the flashes of lightning… The sound of rain on a conservatory roof, loud and hammering, like fingers drumming a table.

What’s your happy noise? Something that you hear and love. Music is an obvious one but that’s emotive in its substance, I’m talking about something, natural, something that just is. My friend loves the sound of a wood burning fire, the crackle of and splinter of the wood, the roar of the flames up the chimney, the smell of burning embers. Another loves the sound of the sea lapping on a shore, calm and tranquil, another the sound of someone breathing softly when they cuddle them, the sound of their heart beating deep within them, their stomach gurgling, feeling them, alive as she put it.

We use so little of our senses, we rely on our eyes to see too much for us, our ears for simple communication, not to enjoy life. What about the sense of smell… it’s always overlooked, and for me its my most powerful. The smell of bread being cooked, of fresh filter coffee, of clean linen…. of rain. And there we are full circle, but that’s just it. We don’t really use our sense as we should, as a sensory experience. How much more fulfilling would life be if we really took in our surroundings, really appreciated what was there, as a sensory exploration.

Like touch, for intimacy its an obvious, but when do you think about how things feel. This is partly where my obsession with taking off my shoes comes from, feeling the surface beneath you, touching fabrics and materials with your fingers. I love the feel of the keys on my keyboard bouncing under my fingers, tingling the tips of them as they dance over them. I love the feel of worn out leather sofas, soft and wrinkled, the feel of skin, soft and downy.

Think about a place that makes you feel really, good. Comfortable, at home, safe. What is it about that place? It can’t just be the surroundings, the interior, or exterior – the visual. In fact I would hazard to bet its other things that make it special. As I child I liked sitting on a tree branch. It wasn’t particularly high, but it had smoothed where people had sat, the bark soft and smoothed, and then next to it, rough, flaky, dry. I used to run my fingers over the cracks, swinging my legs. Lay back and smell the bark, the moss, the fresh air outside, sheltered by the leaves from the day. It wasn’t an attractive tree, it wasn’t a nice view when you sat there, but it wasn’t about what I was seeing. It was just sitting, eyes closed, enjoying it.

I left out taste, for me, its something we do naturally, and something that we all appreciate. Whether its our favourite drink, our favourite treat, Mum’s home cooked meals, or a sugary delight, we all have things that we love, and we appreciate.For me it’s not so much about the taste, but the texture. A crème brulee wouldn’t be as perfect without its silky smooth texture, a cake without its fluffiness, a peach without its, fleshiness, or a carrot without its crunch.

As you’re enjoying something, somewhere, a moment, think about all the little things, that make it that much more special. Next time your sat quietly, doing something, nothing, out for a walk or just spending some time by yourself, take a moment, take everything in. Listen, intently to whats around you. Breathe in the scents in the air, the subtle tones that dance around us, feel where you’re sat, the wind on your skin if you’re out, a plant as you walk past. We live in an incredibly rich world, we are surrounded by incredible things to appreciate.

Lets, take the time to do so. Just for a minute.

Rain is coming.

“You know when you get that smell. That smell that rain is coming. It can be a hot summers day, not a cloud in the sky but you get that smell. And you know. Change is coming”… It might not be rain, it might be a storm, thunder lightening, the whole she-bang. But there was a something.

We all get it. That feeling. A sense of things. It’s not quite poignant or exact. But it’s there, a thought in the back of your mind and feeling in the pit of your stomach, just in front of your fingertips and past the tip of your tongue. It’s not audible or explainable. You can’t say to anyone with clarity exactly what it means.

But it means. Change is coming. I had that today. Standing looking out to sea, over the waves, the surf dancing on the wind, a feeling. You could say that you make a change, you force something to happen because that feeling is you wanting something to. But is it? Do we want it….

Or do we let it. Do we just have a heightened sense of perspective, that feeling and we accept it as it comes. A change is about to happen in my life. I know not what or when, only that it’s coming. That sense of rain. Rain suggests something awful. But rain can replenish, and save as well as dampen and depress.

A change is coming. And I embrace it whole heartedly.