I was diagnosed with depression at the age of 35 and have constantly battled with trying to be “normal” and having my black periods. I’ve been at crisis point three times over the years, but as I’ve grown older I came to realise that thoughts of taking my own life were not the answer. In some ways that makes it harder, but instead I just keep moving around, or running away as my family see it.
One of the hardest things for people to understand is that I’ve always been able to either maintain or gain a decent job, and many think if I can hold down a good job then things can’t be that bad, can they?
I tend to go through cycles, I get really down, unable to function and go to work, sometimes unable to even get out of bed or shower for days on end. I then seek treatment, get a bit better, then throw myself back into “normality”. Yet I still keep going round and round in circles, it’s like a never ending merry go round without the merry bit.
I functioned by constantly striving to achieve more, be better, earn more. Status and material things became everything to me, but no matter what I did and how hard I worked, in my eyes I was always a failure. Getting a promotion was not a time to be pleased with myself, it was always a case of why did it take me so long, or that I only got it because they felt sorry for me. Yet even though I have what society would deemed to be a decent career with a good wage and all the nice things in life, I’m still so immensely unhappy and still have no real friends (apart from one and even now we are growing apart).
The biggest lesson I learnt whilst away was that all the dreams and ambitions I have strived for over the years are all the things that I believed I should be striving for and not what I wanted to strive for. I soon realised the reason I go round and round in circles is because I keep aiming for the dreams I think I should be aiming for and not the dreams that are in my heart!
Since then, as long as I’m paying my own bills, if I’m happy then who cares!
I think I’ll always struggle with depression, but I feel if I break this cycle of going after dreams that are not really mine then who knows, maybe I’ll be happier more of the time. And even if I’m not, at least I’ll be able to say I’m following my heart and dreams and not those that I imagine I should be doing.
I have no idea what the future holds for me, other than that I’m changing merry go rounds for one that looks much more like mine!