Labelling, so limiting and steeped in the danger of breeding that notion of othering, of pigeon-holing and creating an expectation. These are just some of the reasons I do not label my frequent dark spells as depression-though they bear all the hallmarks.
I find myself trying to link my feelings of such sadness with my hormones or stress or grief-but the truth is; I cannot attribute causes any more than I can control them. To attribute suggests those causes, those triggers could be avoided-this may be so but 25 years on from my first experience of these bouts I can see it’s not that simple.
I am functioning and ironically I am happy for much of the time. This can make it harder to be understood I think-the ability to wear a mask and get through a day unscathed is met with quizzical looks when I talk of my moods-of my days praying for quiet and dark and no interactions.
When I shut down at the end of a day and can loose my self-imposed ties I feel the tension subside. A tension that has been in place all day, from the moment I’ve woken to the moment I’ve stopped having to “be”. And here’s the sad truth; I’m really not keen on me at all, I don’t like me very much. It’s fair to say I like me more than I used to and I do finally believe there are those who love and need me so I try to take care of me.
But the dark times are draining and the dislike for myself surfaces and the bad thoughts flow and the cycle starts again. I wish I’d not learnt to think in this way, I wish I could unlearn it. The best I can manage right now is to keep the feelings and thoughts from view, to hope the little sponge in my home doesn’t learn to think this way too. I just keep trying to see myself differently. It’s all I can do.
Self loathing is a tiring experience. It takes energy and is insidious, chipping at an already fragile confidence. I know I have been worse and I don’t know if I will be better but I do know I’m not alone, it doesn’t change anything, but it does help to know there will be people who on some level can relate. We can’t fix each other-but to be understood, to be heard and believed because the feelings are recognized, it does mean something. It doesn’t fix but it helps to mend.