I’ve been struggling over whether to write this post or not, but as yesterday was World Suicide Prevention Day and bloggers like The Bloggess and Wil Wheaton have been open and honest about their depression, I think it’s only right that a little person like me does it too.
This isn’t really about depression, though, but it is about mental illness, mental stability and well, whether I belong in the looney bin.
This isn’t an easy post to write, but this past week has been pretty intense for me and it’s certainly been a mark on the memory bank (excuse the pun you’ll get later).
I have suffered on and off with depression. I’m lucky enough for it not to have been a major influence in my life, just a month or two every now and then, when I feel like shit, hate the world and myself and only ever want to sleep. Depression isn’t an issue for me, but it’s a serious issue for many of my friends. If your friend has depression, let them know you’re there for them. It’s not something small and it’s not something that they can just turn off. It’s a serious illness and they need your support.
Mine stems from a trauma that happened when I was young. The problem is, I only remembered this trauma when I became an adult. Until then, I remembered enough to know I had a close call and in fact spent 4 years assuming that’s all it was, until the memories started.
My looney bin moment resides in the fact that I don’t know if these memories are real or false. I’ve been to shrinks, who can’t really help me if I can’t remember, and almost went to a hypno–whatsit, but that went belly up when she decided (incorrectly) that I had epilepsy and couldn’t help me.
I don’t have full recollections, only flashbacks, which, according to most of what I’ve read up about, imply that this is more real than false. After reading up on false memories of trauma, I find more often they occurred after hypnosis and not before (created through badly phrased questions by hypno–whatsits) and also that those that fabricated memories before hypnosis may be wrong about small things (the colour of the curtains) or big things (the perpetrator), but rarely about the act. It doesn’t quell my uncertainty though. My heart says it happened, my brain says it probably happened and my body has said PTSD for as long as I can remember, but I need to know.
The point I want to make here today is: Talk about it.
Last weekend, in a fit of fury and rage over something as inconsequential as spilt wine (ok, that’s not inconsequential, it’s a bloody terrible loss), I let loose my feelings and unloaded on someone close to me. I didn’t do it spectacularly well…or even in a dignified way (a screaming car ride is always the best way to deal with your issues, I think), but I did it. And then I went home and I wrote. I told them of my rage, my sorrow, my hurt, my confusion and above all my fear.
Writing about it didn’t take the fear away, but when I showed them the letter, part of my anger and pain melted away. The next morning, I woke up and I just lay in bed for hours (thank god I’m self-employed), because it felt so damned good. The tightness in my chest that had been sitting there for over a year, and probably longer, was finally gone. It was (and still is) like I’m finally free.
I’m still terrified. I’m not terrified of remembering, I’m terrified of not remembering or terrified of the reaction of my friends and family. Most of all, I’m terrified that my brain concocted this story, for whatever warped reason it would have, but I’m better now and able to take steps to deal with it… I hope.
This post is only to urge you to talk. Talk to your friends and family, write anonymously, even talk it out in the room on your tod. Trust me, it feels better.