Coming to terms with the implications of my diagnosis, and the severity of it feels a lot like working through the 7 stages of grief:
- Shock & denial
- Pain & guilt
- Anger & bargaining
- Depression (lol!), reflection, loneliness
- The Upward Turn
- Reconstruction & Working through
- Acceptance & Hope
Sometimes Facebook memories suck.
One year ago today, I shared this post on my wall, along with the query “To my people who’ve taken huge risks to follow their dreams… any advice for a risk-averse accountant that has a list longer than the Income Tax Act of all the reasons why my dreams won’t work out, which paralyses me? Is it really just a case of “Just doing it?” Anyone ever succeed by “Just doing it gradually”?” To which I got a lot of comments of encouragement and advice that boiled down to, “Just do it consistently, grind away with persistence and determination. Achieving your goals is worth the effort.”
One year later, and I am no closer to any of my goals. If anything, I’m farther. That’s depression for you. Being alive without being alive. Zombie-state, drifting through life, unable to summon the energy to even dream, never mind follow through on those dreams. Until this past year, I was ashamed of my drifter status. Now, having barely survived the worst depressive episode of my life, my life in shambles, I realize that really… surviving was a dream in itself. On the darkest of my dark days, when all the voices in my head were screaming in anguish, I clung to the dream that my misery would one day lessen. And as the worst of the trough appears to be over, and I am “only” in a moderately-severe major depression, technically on the upswing, I now cling to the dream that I might one day find peace. There has been no room to dream for anything more luxurious than that.
My blog keeps me accountable: I’ve been having the same realizations, followed by progressively worse depressions, since 2014. I’m trying. I’m trying so fucking hard.
- August 2014: Major depression. A sudden sharp one, the first one that was not possibly attributable to circumstances (2012’s depression was influenced by my serious knee injury and my mother’s sudden death)
- October 2014: Quit my beloved job to go into industry in the hopes that the lower pressure would give me enough space to get my shit together and pull myself out of my depression.
- November 2015: I realize I am no longer depressed. Recap of all I learned in 2015, on my path to recovery.
- February 2016: I wrote Dream Big. 2 years later, I’ve accomplished none of those goals
- December 2016: I worry that my new-found happiness might be snatched from me. Little did I know that 2017 would go down as the hardest year of my life.
- March 2017: I wrote Anxiety + georgraphy fail = self-analysis. 1 year later, I’ve accomplished none of those dreams either.
- April 2017: First official diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder.
- July 2017: I acknowledge that I am sliding back into a depressive episode.
- Rest of 2017: progressively worse stages of depression.
- February 2018: Defeat. No longer able to deny my diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder, I’m put on a waiting list to see a psychiatrist, in order to rule out the possibility of Bi-Polar Disorder, because the frequency and growing intensity of my depressions is unusual and becoming unmanageably disruptive.
4 years of battling this shit and nothing to show for it, other than I am still alive. I’m exhausted. I’m broken.
It scares me, this capacity for drifting. The last time I hung out with friends was 2 weeks ago. I spent this weekend doing nothing. Isolated in my apartment, because I just didn’t want to see people, too exhausted from trying to appear normal at work. I craved nothingness, I managed to write this blog post (after trying to concentrate for 3 days) and do a bit of coloring. That’s all. This version of the depression is such that I am relieved that I’ve given up on my dreams, because that saves me from the bother of feeling shame for not being able to accomplish them. Haven’t gone on a date in over a year? Sweet, one less social situation I’d rather avoid. Friendships falling to the wayside? Too bad, but oh the effort of caring was too big. Family calling me to check up on me? Please don’t, I don’t have the energy to reassure you about something that I can’t reassure myself about. Dreams? Yeah no. Day-to-day mini-goals only. Stay employed. Shower. Clean laundry. The odd vegetable. Gym.
I say this fully aware of the incredible privilege of my circumstances: for the first time in my life, I accept that this is the best I can do on my own, and I deem this is not enough. I accept, now, with humility, that I need help in order to access a life that is more than just endless struggle, foisted upon me by my sick brain. I accept the need for a psychiatrist.
Hopefully the Qc healthcare system will not fail me, and my time on the waiting list will be only 1-2 months. I want help, I want to move on with living. For once.
Recap of this recent battle with depression:
I know you’re fighting a hard fight.
I wish I could write something inspiring for you. I am sending you all the good vibes I can. You’ve got more rounds in you. Stay strong and we’re all rooting for you.
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I think Anthony pretty much nailed it. I’m sure plenty of silent readers don’t know quite what to say yet are wishing you well.
What makes it hard to find the right words is that you seem to see the truth of your situation quite clearly, so really, we can’t be saying something to make you see things differently – it’s kind of pointless when you have a firm grip on things.
Mini-goals. One day at a time. One foot in front of the other. One cliché after another. They’re clichés for a reason, after all – they apply to so many people, so very often.