I’ve been struggling with an episode for the past few days. Sometimes they’re triggered by specific events, but usually it’s a combination of things. I could sit here and list them, but today I’m focusing more on what brings me out.
Depression is an evil, evil thing. Even on a good day you can struggle to see what difference you make to the world. And on a bad day, you can end up curled in a ball on your bed convinced that the world would actually be a better place without you. Or that no one would even notice if you didn’t exist.
Or you can spend an entire day not feeling anything at all. Lost in a vacuum of nothingness and ennui.
Or you can feel helpless, and frustrated, and confused, and wound up, and angry, and distracted, and just generally shit.
But whatever state your depression leaves you in, feeling alone makes that ten times worse. You might want to be ON your own, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t feel alone. Like no one in the world understands what you’re going through, like no one in the world can help you.
I know, intellectually, that isn’t true. But that doesn’t stop the thoughts and the feelings. It doesn’t stop me finding a good reason why I can’t talk to any of my family, or my friends. It doesn’t stop me being convinced that my very closest friends are too busy to deal with me when I’m having yet another another episode. It doesn’t stop me feeling like I’m being a burden again.
And then there’s the internet. Without the internet I think I’d have had so many more suicide attempts in my life that one might just have been successful. Online you can find anonymous strangers to talk to. Whether or not they’ve dealt with the same things as you, or whether or not you intend on ever speaking to them again, you can talk to them now. And that can help.
Having someone to rant to, having a forum to vent your feelings and the frustrations in your head, can help. Not necessarily bring you out of whatever depressive episode you’re stuck in, but it can help you deal with it a little better.
This particular episode I found comfort in the arms of Ravelry.com
Ravelry is (and this is from Wikipedia) “a free social networking website… it functions as an organisational tool for a variety of fiber arts including knitting, crochet, spinning and weaving.” But it’s so so much more than that. There are hundreds and hundreds of groups and forums where you can find people who have similar interests as you. There are forums for any fandom you can think of – Sherlock, Doctor Who, Harry Potter. In fact, I attend Hogwarts several times a year. I’m sure I’ve mentioned that before.
I have friends from all over the world, many of whom I don’t even know the names of, who have chatted to me about all kinds of random rubbish. And in the last day, it’s been my fellow Slytherins at the aforementioned Hogwarts who’ve been helping most. We’re split into groups, and I’m a Mamba Snake. There are a dozen or so of us I think, and we have our own little forum for chatting and support.
Emphasis on support. They’ve listened to me rant, they’ve shared their experiences with depression, they’ve given me advice, they’ve encouraged me to do things that help me feel better, and they’ve encouraged me to keep talking to them when I feel better. All of it has been invaluable.
And although I woke up this morning feeling more optimistic, when I told them that and gave them my plan for the day, they kept encouraging me and kept supporting me and kept giving me advice and comfort. It’s helped pull me through an episode to an optimistic stage, to a point now where I feel almost better.
I’m tired, and struggling with a desire to have a nap even though I’ve told myself I won’t and I know it isn’t the best thing for me. That’s my biggest reason for blogging actually – to keep me going through the uber-tired few minutes. But I’m feeling like I’m coming through the episode.
I explained to my fellow Mamba Snakes that my depression has been sucking away at me for the best part of half my life. I told them that until 18 months ago I was having episodes two or three times a week which could last a few days each. I told them that in the last 18 months I’ve started to feel normal and more like a proper person, and that my episodes have been reduced to once a month or so. I explained to them that during my episodes now I feel like the work I’ve done and the changes I’ve made in the last 18 months have been for nothing. And that I have to keep reminding myself of all the differences and that I’m a completely changed person now.
Yesterday I was stuck in that loop of depression that’s so hard to get out of. But now, it might not last, but at this exact moment right now, I feel normal again. I KNOW that I’m that changed person, who has friends and a social life and a job, and a point in the world, and a talent, and that people care about me and that they support me and don’t think that I’m a complete waste of time.
Although it doesn’t particularly feel like it, this was an small episode and I came through it easily. It won’t always be so easy, but for this particular time, I’m thankful that I’ve come through it, and I’m so very thankful for the people that helped, and that they’re still going to be there for me tomorrow when I feel fine, and next week when I feel fine, and whenever it next happens that I don’t feel fine.