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Depression. My silent companion.


Depression, a big word and as stated above, in my life, a silent companion. I felt to write about my experience with depression as it has recently made a revisit into my life and whilst I don't have advice for others, I think that sharing can really help so people don't feel alone or isolated, which is what can happen with depression.


Looking back I have been, to some extent, depressed most of my life. Even when I wasn't feeling that way it was in the background, waiting for a door to open so that it could invade my space and be where it was at it's comfiest, right next to me. In my experience, depression is a conscious energy that feeds off our emotions that it also helps to create. It came at a time when I was experiencing some heavy childhood trauma and then stayed with me, sitting on my shoulder whispering all sorts of intrusive thoughts that over time, I believed.


I think there can be a misconception sometimes about what being depressed means. When I was looking for an image for this blog and searched depression, what came up was people in despair, very obviously something was wrong. Yes, this is a state of depression but there are so many subtleties to this multi layered way of being. For me, when I was younger, they expressed as a belief that life was shit, "what's the point", not wanting to get out of bed in the morning and yes, pulling a sickie at times so I could spend all day in bed. I still find the hardest aspect of depression to be the lack of momentum, the stagnation that just brings you to a halt, a nothingness. That's when I would go into patterns of self sabotage, just to makes things worse because life's shit right? From the outside no one would have known this was going on. After all, I am very english and there is the ingrained culture of having a stiff upper lip. When someone asks you how you are, the standard reply "I'm fine".


Two things are helping me at the moment. The first is finding a little bit of space between myself and this extremely familiar way of being, seeing it as something separate from who I really am. So, if I'm not that, what am I? Also acknowledging that at some point in my life it was a coping mechanism because it enabled me to be numb. Numb to what had happened to me and the emotional fallout that I wasn't mature enough to deal with. Depression is like a very old well worn comfy pair of slippers that are so comfy and so well used that you forget you have stepped into them again. So, a small step out of them can help or even just knowing you are wearing them again. This helps to cultivate the awareness needed to create the space I mention above.


The second thing that is helping me at the moment and this is way harder than the first, compassion for myself. Not beating myself up with all the negative thoughts that are, for me, the first mainline attack of depression. Not spiralling into very familiar thoughts "I'm not good enough, I've done something wrong". Being kind to myself for the pretty hard journey I chose to take in this lifetime, trying to support the child in me that is still hurting rather than judging her as I judge my adult self. Catching myself when I go into this extreme judgement and not reacting to it as if it was the truth.


I have no magic answer to depression but what I know can help is talking to someone you trust, getting things of your chest and being listened to. Something that comes a little bit more easily to women. When I was younger a friend of mine committed suicide in a really violent way as he felt unable to talk about how he was feeling. Maybe, if he had, he would be here now with his wife and two kids. Talking is a massive healing tool and whilst you may not think you are depressed, you're just having a bad day, week, month, year, few years....talk about it. It helps!


Thanks for reading this rather personal blog this week,

Meriel










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