This post was initially published on Firefly.You can see the original here
I have always been a big thinker. I don’t say this out of pride, in my experience it is not necessarily an advantage.
An introvert adolescent and the youngest of three, I spent plenty of time alone growing up. I didn’t mind.
I liked reading. I liked thinking. I very clearly remember saying to my mum when I was about four ” but what is a human being?” The philosophical thoughts of a preschooler are enough to make most parents shudder, but I’m not convinced my thoughts have moved along much.
The main problem of having a mind of your own is that you have no one else’s internal workings to compare it to. Your normal is the normal.
When does being a loner, a thinker, a ponderer, tip over into something pathological?
Are all introverts depressive? In an attempt to resist over thinking this I’ll tell you how it is in the grimy recesses of my brain.
Depression to me is hard to explain and harder to admit to. It colours other people’s perspective of you. Go to the GP and I believe a little flashing link appears on the case note screen.
”I think I’ve torn a ligament Doctor” “And how long have you been on the antidepressants Mrs. Scott?” (I exaggerate but…)
I have long felt that any bad health I experience, physical or mental is a character failing. If only I worked harder, ran faster and was an all-round better person, I would not experience this thing. As my excellent GP really did say “you are extraordinarily driven” Well duh?!Through sheer force of will I can, I will, be better!
Oh dear, that definitely sounds like the workings of a depressive brain. Couple that with the fact that I think I’m probably putting it all on. A double whammy.
Also, if I’m not depressed I’m happy. I don’t really do in between. I feel things extremely intensely, or I’m depressed when I don’t really feel anything at all.
In the absolute grip of it I long, long, for it to be over.
So what is it?
An absence of feeling. An abundance of desolation. A loss of appetite for food, drink, touch, smell, life. A deep hole which seems impossible to scale the walls of. A heavy sadness in my very bones. An utter and total loathing of myself, and a certainty that my family, my friends and indeed the world in general, would be better off without my draining existence.
Where does it come from? I know it comes from a lack of serotonin. I know that. But how, and why, and where has my quotient gone? Does somebody else have my measure? Is my happiness so happy I spent all my serotonin on a good day? Where does it go?
I lie some mornings in bed, sniffing the air. Is it here? Has it gone? It’s gone! I leap up! Oh. No Still there. On days like this I would amputate my own arm with no anaesthetic if someone told me it would make that thing, black dog, cloud, slough of despond, go away.
Sometimes I sense it creeping up on me. If there are too many hospital appointments or LA fights, I keep my wits about me and take action before it settles in.
Occasionally its stealth amazes even me. It quietly whispers into my unconscious brain “you’re worthless” So quietly that it becomes background unquestionable fact.
Most of all it lurks invisibly. People don’t see it in me, I keep it well hidden. Well would you go out in public if you felt like that?
Recently I’ve been naming and shaming. Get it out there in the light, show it up for what it is, in the hope it will burn up and fade.
Mainly at the moment I thank Big Pharma for the little white pills. They contain the right dose of my elusive serontion. I have hated them, I have resisted them, but now I welcome them.
Just now, right at the moment they help. They can’t solve my problems but they can smooth over the rough edges and help me muddle along.
Isn’t that all that any of us can really do?