Since November it is fair to say I have had many moments and moods. Some which I would rather never experience again, and others I wish I could hold onto and live over and over again.
From hope to utter hell, my mind and the life around me have treated me to all kinds of delights and nightmares.
Finding what I think is stable ground, only for it to all fall away from beneath me, dropping me to the depth of depression I have never experienced before. Being forced to reach out in desperation to people to help me keep my head above water, as recently as last week!
Each time I rise again from a drop in mood, as I feel the strength building again to stand up against these feelings and fight back, my mind fools me, pretending that something is the linchpin in the moment, and that without it I will fall apart again.
The truth is, the linchpin is in fact me. Of course I cease up at times, and need friends to get me moving again. But once I am able to, I find myself standing strong and fighting hard to stay afloat for longer each time.
Leading myself into a false sense of hope based around something or someone I find and believe to be hugely beneficial to me and my recovery is in fact detrimental to my recovery. Almost like an addict fighting a habit of drugs and believing that alcohol is helping. It is an easy path to slip into.
One which makes me comfortable, happy and distracts me from the things in life I am trying to avoid or be able to work with again. Instead there is an alternate reality which tempts me away from the path of recovery, and on to a path of temptation and fantasy.
Each time this happens, the longer the self deceit lasts, the further from the path I stray, and the harder it becomes to get back on track.
Realising this is huge, and a great help we of sound mind. As is knowing the signs of a dip on mood, or what your triggers for a mood swing are. However, like over eating for example. Knowing it is bad for you is good, knowing what you should be doing is good.... Actually sticking to it, following what you know to be good for you is very hard at times. Especially when it's brain vs brain.
As the mind gets going, the devil of depression on your shoulder is so good at convincing you that you should turn to an alternative, believe in something false, and throw yourself at it 100%. Sadly the other voice, the one of reason and practicality is muted and has no say until it is all too late.
Opening your eyes, waking from the fantasy which has fast become a nightmare, the failure, self loathing, hatred and anger all comes rushing back. How stupid are you, this is the 3rd time we have done this, when will you learn, why do you keep doing this to us. The voice of logic is once again present, but instead of soothing and guiding you to recovery, it bombards you with negativity. Trying to drum it into your thick head... STOP DOING THIS!
As many will tell you, it's not the only voice to say things like this. People around you will do the same. Get over it, just don't do it, cheer up, it will be ok. All words of amazing wisdom, but which also display a complete lack of understanding. A friend recently very refreshingly said that he wouldn't offer any words of hope or wisdom as he knew they would not help. And that is all others have to do. Nothing is better than something daft, believe me.
So with all this in mind, and my recent blog of Single Forever still being fresh. It seems solo is the way ahead in my life for a number of things and reasons. Not a bad or a sad thing. In fact being in control of my company is a good thing. Right now I have huge lows, and an blessed with people I can turn to for either trivial distraction conversation, or can just open up to. Sounding things out to them has helped me see clearly at times, and has led me to conclusions like this one. That recovery is my responsibility, and others around me have little impact on it. So there is no point in trying to flog a dead horse.
I'm not closing down or shutting people out, just taking the helm and steering this ship the way it needs to go. My posting on Facebook is generally pictures (inc Strava) or blog links like this one. And as a whole it is a happy way to be. I try not to engage with people now, have a lot of feeds turned off these days, and limited friends.
Yesterday I had a very clear realisation that the recovery here is not going to be quick or simple. There are no shortcuts, no escape routes, I just have to weather the storm, and come out of it alone. My doctor warned me at the beginning of this episode that the second is usually worse and longer. Harder to treat, but a determined mind is able to rise up. Finally after 3 months of trying to prove her wrong, trying to fight the truth, I have accepted that I'm pretty much stuck for now.
I can write with ease when my mind is clear. I can engage people in very small numbers (2 is a crowd!) I can have perfectly normal times during the day. Find pride and accomplishment in things I do, like running and cycling for example. But I am also able to turn on myself in a flash, tear down towers of achievement in seconds, and turn into my own worst critic and enemy. Worst part being, it is all done with no explanation or warning. Hence my phrase "mood bombs"
My fight is to control these lows and moments of self loathing, find peace in relaxation, rather than fearing silence. And to find some self respect which I can hold on to on the journey back from the depths of depression.
I have seen lots of stories recently about men dealing with depression, and how it is a hidden killer. Campaigns and appeals for men to rise up and seek the help they need. But at the same time I have also seen the help system from the inside, and still struggle to comprehend how the assessment process really works. Rejecting requests for counselling which I know works for me, and instead placing me on a group CBT course which I find detrimental to my state of mind.
I am seeing my other GP again thankfully, another one who I trust and saw me through my last bout of depression years ago. It will be interesting to hear his take on the matter, and see what he advises.
Thank you for reading this far.