So I was going to begin this post as normal with a general overview, but another blog (http://evatenter.wordpress.com/) had shared this video:
I thought the video was quite significant to myself (and I’m sure to many others) in showing that not only you can be successful and suffer from mental health problems, but that you can be successful regardless of having a mental health problem. This is something I’ve felt I’ve struggled with. I’ve often felt that because I suffer from depression & anxiety that I’ll never get anywhere in life. I’ve often felt that my life will become a monotonous routine of falling in and out of lackluster occupations. I’ve always felt that my life of the last 10 years has epitomised this. I’ve rarely been in a job longer than a few years. I’ve struggled to see things through to the end, be it college or various other courses. I think I resigned myself to the belief that I’ll never get anywhere. This in itself is actually a symptom of my own depression. Because I believe this, it must be true. It’s almost as if I’ve become fearful of taking big leaps in my life. Granted I have taken chances in my life. Travelling after quitting sixth form is one good example of taking a leap. Even becoming involved in serious relationships is a huge thing for me. I think getting into a relationship is quite possibly the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and I’ve done it twice now. What is it though that makes these things difficult? Fear. With relationships, be it familiar friendships or genuinely physical relationship, there have always been this deepseated notion that I’ll be rejected. This could be to do with being rejected by potential love interests in my past. This could be to do with my uncle’s death 10 years ago (that everyone I love will leave me and die). I think it truly goes back to my formative years as a child.
In psychology they say that that there is this battle between nature and nurture. Naturally we cling to the grown ups around us, who then nurture us into becoming the adults we are today. If I remember correctly it was Freud who said something along the lines of, “Becoming fixated on ones own genitalia at a young age will generally result in an abnormality in the psyche later in life.” The example I remember of this is something to do with a mother being overly strict on bathroom routines with her child will in some likelihood result in an obsessive compulsive need for over-cleanliness of the genitalia/rectum after voiding. (please don’t take these as complete facts, I’m attempting to recall from books I read approximately 8-10 years ago!).
What I am trying to get at here is that your early years, from the time you are born, until you become a teenager are important in forming your own psyche. It becomes so natural to approach certain situations because it truly has become a natural reaction. You have become conditioned to it.
Example: Whilst my mother has always been loving towards me, I always felt neglected by my father. I think to a greater extent he had psychologically abused me as I grew up. It manifested physically when I was a teenager, either I was going to sit there and accept the abuse, or fight against it. We would clash all the time as I became older, and sometimes we became very violent towards each other. It wasn’t until I attempted suicide at 22 that things changed. I think he realised that he had been partly responsible in how he had treated me. That’s not to say he is the fault of my suicide attempt, nor of my decline in mental health, but that he is at least in some way responsible for being the person who I am today. This also doesn’t mean that our relationship is the picture of health now, but it is certainly better than it has ever been. After my first attempt he understood me, because he had experienced the same things too. He has battled depression through most of his life, and this is because in part his father was a bully to him too. My father, as open minded as he is, still believes that depression isn’t and shouldn’t be hereditary. It is something that is all in the mind that you should be able to overcome simply by willpower. My father, for all the intelligence he has, is stupidly simple minded in this.
Overcoming depression is in part to do with mind over matter, but it is also a physical disease. There is an imbalance in brain chemistry. While those suffering from slight/minor depression can overcome it by dealing with their problems in counseling or overcoming their grief in a battle of wills, those higher up in severity are battling with a chemical problem. While there are psychological issues to face, medication is sometimes required. If the medication is making you numb to emotions it’s not the right medication. Just being on medication isn’t enough. After my initial diagnosis I was only prescribed medication. I refused counseling because I felt it did very little in helping me address my issues after my uncle died, and so there was no alternative support offered. It wasn’t until my second suicide attempt last year that I was offered more support. It really shouldn’t have taken to suicide attempts for the right support to come along, but this is the state of the current NHS inBritain. That’s not to knock the staff; since being referred to CBT (etc) I’ve received some of the best care I have ever experienced. I think I just feel that there is still a stigma over mental health: that it should just be swept under the carpet and because you can’t see it those suffering will just continue to suffer in silence.
So to save this from delving completely into ramble, this is all FEAR related. Depression is fear.
You’re afraid to be judged. You’re afraid others will hate you. You’re afraid that you’ll fail. There’s so much to be afraid of with depression, and it’s all tailored to you. What I feel afraid of is probably different to what you feel. Depression isn’t the same for everyone.
So how can you over come it? I have already commented that depression isn’t easy to conquer. It takes a combination of things to help resolve some of the issues. The most common is medication and counseling, but that doesn’t work for everyone. Sometimes it takes some Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. Sometimes it’s group work. Sometimes it is just sheer willpower. What doesn’t work is doing nothing about it. Being proactive is half the battle. If you can get up and take yourself to your Doctor to get the help what you are doing is fighting back. If you can make yourself attend whatever therapies you get referred to you are taking back control of your life. You’re fighting back against the fear depression paralyses you with. What’s difficult is coming to terms with what it is exactly you are afraid of, and confronting that fear.
I think that if I can confront my fears of being abandoned/rejected, I think I’ll be able to go to all the places I’ve ever wanted with my life. I don’t want to be stuck living with my family for the rest of my life. I don’t want to be working a mindless, dead end job. I want the life I deserve, not the life depression is trying to dictate to me.
I don’t think depression will ever leave me, but I hope that I can push it aside when I need to, to be able to achieve what I want in life.
So what are my goals? I want to work in a job that challenges me, that will make use of my creative skills. I want to be independent, and not need to rely on my family or friends to support me every time something goes wrong. I want to be able to look after myself better, to have control over my mind and my body. I want to have the confidence again to do all these things that I used to be able to do until depression ripped it away from me last year. Finally, I don’t want to be afraid of being rejected or abandoned. This is the most important one. I think this fear that has sat within me throughout my life is what needs to be over come to achieve these goals. I need to learn that it’s ok to be rejected, that it’s ok to be alone. Life is rejection and loneliness, but life can also be acceptance and recognition: its ok for these things to happen.