The Black Dog
Depression is a terrible thing. It's, in my case, totally irrational. I go down every year on November 15th and come out of it January 15th. It's like clockwork every year. I can set my calendar by it. It never varies. But every year coming up to November 15th I am ready to fight it. I am feeling positive, firing on all cylinders I have the strength to fight. Then inevitably like night follows day it hits me like a sledge hammer. My world comes crashing down around me. I don't sink into a depression, I plummet head first, uncontrollably. I hit rock bottom.
I am plagued with thoughts of suicide, despair, pointlessness of anything. I just want to give up and die. This is what my mind is telling me. My conscious logical mind tells me otherwise. My life is fun and interesting. My mind is lying to me. This depression isn't real. I try to ignore it.
But I also have a headache that lasts two months. No amount of paracetamol or aspirin will touch it. It's like a steel band is tied around my head and tightened. It's a low grade pressure always there. Stopping my ability to concentrate on anything. Dulling my senses. It's like a fog in my mind. I concentrate on routine and mundane tasks that I don't have to think about too much.
People tell me to "cheer up", to "snap out of it". It doesn't work like that. If I could I would. It's not as if I want to feel like this. Who would?
Years ago I sought medical help. I was given tranquillisers. I felt nothing. It was like living on a flat calm. No movement at all. I stopped taking them because I needed to feel at least something rather than nothing. Even being down was living. It's like a roller coaster when you're that far down you can only go up. When you're flat you're going nowhere. So when I was rock bottom there was hope. I could not get any lower than thoughts of suicide. This spurs me on to make it through to January.
Right now I am half way through. One month to go before release. You can't imagine what that is like. Well maybe you can. Sometime during the 15th of January a switch clicks and it's like someone has turned on the pressure relief tap. All that pressure in my head just flows away. The steel band is removed.
I get into arguments about it frequently. I'm told I'm imagining it. I'm told that these dates are in my head, they are not real. I personally have chosen these dates. One person even asked me if anything traumatic had occurred on that date. Well my daughter was born the day after on the 16th. "Well that's it then daughter being born was too traumatic for you!" Ridiculous. I've heard it all.
So I carry on by myself. Ticking off the days. I don't expect anyone to understand. I accept that people will think I'm being melodramatic, attention seeking, or just downright miserable for the sake of it. I don't ask for help. In fact don't give me advice. I'll be back to normal again soon enough.