I’m down in the dark place with my dark thoughts.
I know I need to try to climb up and out of here, but it really seems like an impossible task. I’m tired. I have no real inspiration. After all, what is there to look forward to except the endless repetition of work, eat, sleep and getting older?
People who have never experienced clinical depression will snort and tell me to ‘suck it up’ – that I have to learn to be in control of my emotions and not to let my emotions control me.
They may point out that my life really isn’t so bad – and of course they are right. I have a lot to be thankful for. But see that is the mistake they make because they think this is a situational reaction. They think I’m feeling a bit down because I’m under stress – because something bad has happened to send me spiralling down here into the darkness.
Even people close to me – people who have heard the words about how this is to do with a chemical imbalance – they’ve heard the words but unless they have experienced this for themselves then that is what they will remain – just words.
I mean I can imagine how devastating it must be to lose a child or a partner to illness or accident. But imagination and experience can be worlds apart.
Yes, I stopped taking my meds. I’ve embarked upon a quest to lose weight and get fit – not just a diet and exercise plan but a new way of life. And part of that new way of life is to be medication-free if possible. Of course I acknowledged that there might be hurdles to overcome – withdrawals etc. I started talking the medications because I really needed help to cope with the disorders. I knew I couldn’t expect the underlying conditions to have simply evaporated into thin air.
But I guess I had forgotten just how bad it can be. How deep and heavy is the pall of depression and how scary the nights can be when your dreams are full of nonsensical threats – when you’ve woken with a terrible start for the tenth time, heart pounding, drenched in a cold sweat.
Many, many years ago, when I gave up smoking, I kept a packet of cigarettes on top of the kitchen dresser. They were there if I couldn’t resist temptation – if I couldn’t cope with the withdrawals. Do you know that packet of cigarettes was still there, untouched, about five years later when I finally decided to throw them out?
We are such perverse creatures, aren’t we? If I feel I am forbidden to have something, then that is the thing I will crave most in the world. But if it comes down to a matter of my own choice – then I am more likely to stay strong. So the medications are still there in my bedside drawer. I have repeat prescriptions so there is a plentiful supply available if I so desire.
And yes, I fully understand that there is a difference between defeating an addiction, like smoking, and asserting my willpower to regulate a chemical imbalance in my brain. But it is still my body. And if I truly believe in the power of positive thinking, then what better test is there than this?
And, every time I feel on the brink of opening that drawer, I will take a moment to think about the 4.2 kilos, (and the 7 cm from my waist measurement) that I’ve lost so far.
©Lyn Murphy 2011