September 20, 2017, 02:57:39 AM

Author Topic: Depression, Struggles and Light at the End of Every Tunnel  (Read 104369 times)

Offline Jmack

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Although this Forum is and should be mainly about fun and a shared creative passion, we have a community and sometimes real life intrudes. A forum friend sent me the poem below expressing the debilitating impact of depression. We all know that depression is a physical illness, like osteoporosis, if you will - not a disease of lifestyle or personal "issues." But while there shouldn't be any stigma on it, there can tend to be. Fear of this can reinforce the emotional dark night of the soul for the depression sufferer and make the person feel even more isolated.

Here's the poem:

Quote
Do you know what depression is?
Feeling down, black dog, grey clouds…
No. Wrong.
Depression is an illness, a disease. Faulty brain cells.

Do you know what depression feels like?
Feeling down, black dog, grey clouds…
No. Wrong.
Be thankful you don’t know. It’s different for every single person, every single time.

This time, a switch was installed.
It flickers on and off, with neither rhyme nor reason.
One moment you’re ok, the next you’re sobbing uncontrollably. Tears are optional, just the ragged breathing and the feeling are there.
One moment you’re walking, moving, the next you stop. You’re paralysed. Your legs feel heavy, your arms like they belong to someone else. Everything about you is frozen.
One moment the world is normal, the next the smallest decision feels overwhelming. There’s no future beyond the now.
One moment you’re laughing, the next there’s a knot in your throat and you’ve forgotten what it feels to be ok.
Nothing makes sense. There’s no night nor day.

Chemicals mean hope. Repair.
Weeks pass, months pass, a year or more. And you no longer know what depression feels like.
Until next time…

The friend asked me to share this poem, and doesn't want some big outpouring of "OMG! Are you okay?" no matter how heart-felt and well-intended.

But you may know someone - or be someone - who suffers from this disease, and the words here may be a balm or an opening of the eyes. We hope so.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2016, 11:25:10 AM by Jmack »
Change, when it comes, will step lightly before it kicks like thunder. (GRMatthews)
You are being naive if you think that any sweet and light theme cannot be strangled and force fed it's own flesh. (Nora)

Offline Nora

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Re: Depression is a bitch... from a friend
« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2015, 04:17:31 PM »
Interesting.

I'm useless when it comes to poems, couldn't write one to save my life, so I don't know how to comment on that form of expression really, but the idea of making a poetic description of one's depressive state, and beyond that the way it is delivered are quite touching.

I don't know that I would agree that depression is only a matter of brain cells and chemicals. If only because any human emotion is ultimately nothing but a matter of brain cells and chemicals. I think it does depend on the circumstances and the people. Each case, each time being different and always serious.
This poem conveys the very curious impression that the origins, the reasons of the depression are unknown, and as someone who barely made it out of the worst fit of depression of my life, it's a scary idea.

As far as I was concerned, the reasons for my falling slowly into deeper levels of depression were well known.
I was taken by hopelessness, lack of purpose, the sense of losing life, incapable of gaining back what I had lost, and the ever looming prospect of being forced to front a crippling phobia, combined with a negative and oppressive environment, it made me spiral down into obsessive behaviours.
I cut myself off from any friends and contacts and single-mindedly, if not maniacally occupied myself in a attempt to distract me from darker impulses.
When my situation got worse with consistent lack of sleep due to dogs barking all night long 3m out of my window without me having any possibility to make it stop, I seriously entertained ideas of killing some of the dogs (that I all loved). I would spray them in the night with the hose and cry and beg them to shut the heck up.
Sleep deprivation was torture, I think that was the lowest point in my life, that deadly combination.

While I read 10 novels of the Black Dagger Brotherhood in a week during those dark days (which I'm rather not proud of), I also laid my hands on many books that sparked real interest and emotions in me, and at the darkest of moments, it always was the nagging idea that I had more to read, more series of books to finish, stories that had left me hanging, or the prospect of discovering new authors who might hook me even more, and ultimately realising that I had things I wanted to write, that kept me from completely letting go.

I was stranded in complete loneliness with nothing but daily work, compulsive reading and writing when I came on this forum, looking for a shred of human society, of people who shared my interests and might teach me things, advise and entertain.
Forums made of close, active members is certainly a great place to be for someone having personal problems. Who better to talk to than friends that perpetually remain strangers?
More and more research are proving that people create tighter bonds and get more involved and speak up more easily on the internet, precisely because of the anonymity (and you end up with very effective organisations like anonymous, besides the crazy band of Fantasy Faction).

These days I'm working hard, trying to give myself some berth (aka, AUS$), but I still fight moments of hopelessness.
So I definitely understand the writer, when he/she says that sometimes it comes unannounced, this sudden moment of anxious realisation your future is a void and nothing is there but the rotten moment you're going through.
However I hope the writer likewise has some lifeboat reasons to keep from utter despair, things to do or things to see and read, that will keep them out of trouble some time more until laugher and a bit of carelessness comes back, be it the next episode of Supernatural, it doesn't matter.

Hang on tight, and if the smallest window of opportunity to change your life towards a path that you crave opens, lunge.  8)
« Last Edit: May 09, 2015, 04:30:08 PM by Nora »
"She will need coffee soon, or molecular degeneration will set in. Her French phrasing will take over even more strongly, and soon she will dissolve into a puddle of alienation and Kierkegaardian despair."  ~ Jmack

Wishy washy lyricism and maudlin unrequited love are my specialty - so said Lady_Ty

Offline Justan Henner

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Re: Depression is a bitch... from a friend
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2015, 04:25:49 PM »
It feels weird "liking" these things, but thank you guys for sharing. It means a lot.

Offline Eli_Freysson

Re: Depression is a bitch... from a friend
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2015, 08:37:31 PM »
Simple, but moving. Thanks for putting that up.
I'll notify your next of kin... that you sucked!

Offline wakarimasen

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Re: Depression is a bitch... from a friend
« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2015, 10:41:54 AM »
It's good to see a dialogue about this kind of stuff.
It's also interesting to see that the writer puts chemicals as a source of hope at the end. I sympathise entirely. I've been on my "dried frog pills" for a couple of years and others often seem to feel that I should be concerned about being on medication and that it is not a long term cure. Guess they've not had the black dog on them for extended periods (especially ones with sleep deprivation - I empathise entirely @Nora).

Medicine doesn't understand depression fully, or how serotonin reuptake inhibitors work (when they do - which is not for everyone), but medicine can help.
What stops people getting such help is stigma. We forget that when our car is broken we go to a mechanic. When our mind is broken we should go and see the expert in that too.

I for one would never have gone to the doctor, my wife made me. It was the best decision I've never made.

Whilst I still feel a little exposed talking about depression as an illness, I feel almost responsible that I should in order to help break down the stigmas and barriers that almost stopped me getting help. Posts like the poem in this one are part of the discourse we need to do that, so nicely done @Jmack

Offline ScarletBea

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Re: Depression is a bitch... from a friend
« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2015, 01:24:36 PM »
Well, considering I've just outed myself this morning at work by having a 'fit' at my desk in front of everyone and having to come home bawling my eyes out, and seeing how Nora and Wakarimasen were brave enough to share their stories, I might as well come out to you guys here.

I'm the 'friend', I wrote the thing (I don't really like to call it a poem).

Thanks for the 'likes' - you don't imagine the difference it makes to see them there, such a little thing :)

Thanks for your words, Wakarimasen, for understanding. So many people simply decide to ask me out more, as if the illness was caused by a sort of plague/keeping away from people. It's like telling someone with a broken leg to just put some weight on it and you'll feel better ::)
And it's amazing how, when one person is brave enough to talk about it, others will come and say they have it too, and suddenly you don't feel so alone in the universe anymore.

I know I will get better.
I know, because this is the 4th time I have it: regular (almost) as clockwork, it appears every 6 years.
But each time it's slightly different.
Still, the knowledge doesn't make me any more hopeful, it doesn't make the pills work any faster.

So basically I just want to apologise in advance for any posts made while 'under the influence' ;) We can't delete anything here afterwards, even though I tried hehe
And thanks for being here and for F-F being such an amazing place, where I found such amazing people/*friends* :-*
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"There is no way to kill someone mercifully. (...) They may claim that their victims did not suffer. They lie. All they may truly say is that the victim's suffering was invisible to them." Robin Hobb ("Fool's Assassin")

Offline Eclipse

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Re: Depression is a bitch... from a friend
« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2015, 01:41:27 PM »
Thank you for being an amazing friend to us all here,hugs
I'm Saloninus, by the way. And I tell lies, from time to time. Which goes to prove the old rule; never entirely trust a man who talks about himself in the third person.

Blue and Gold by K.J Parker

Offline wakarimasen

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Re: Depression is a bitch... from a friend
« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2015, 02:50:19 PM »
Hey, no problem @ScarletBea - it's a good poem (short and to the point, I've always liked 'em like that)
The fantasy community is a great balm to me as well. Not just the people, who tend to be pretty likeable and liberal, but also the actual fantasy. It's a way of reminding yourself that the world doesn't have to be the way it is. It can be any way we imagine it.

As an aside, I read an article the other day about the positive effects of writing for depression. Turns out it's well documented. So now we've got another excuse to do it. (Not that I'll be stopping my pills any time soon ;) )

Remember the words of Gimli "...the trick is to keep breathing."

Offline Eclipse

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Re: Depression is a bitch... from a friend
« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2015, 06:20:40 PM »
This is Incredibly hard for me to write

I suffer from anxiety. I've always been shy but it it got so bad in my early twenties that I wouldn't leave the house unless I had to (work and shopping) I couldn't even maintain eye contact unless I really know the person (family) and when I did go out I thought strangers were laughing/talking at me behind my back on top of all this I was starting to get eczema on my face it wasn't too bad but my self concious was making it worse. I even worried about my accent thinking people wouldn't understand me  this meant my social life suffered I really wanted to make friends but at same time I was scared of meeting people I throw myself into books

But when I  was really down and feeling lonely and felt I was wasting my life hiding away, I joined a social club on my own called Spice it was one of the bravest thing I've ever done I forced myself to use eye contact and try to talk to people and it was brilliant at first I did zorbing,micro-lighting,paint-balling etc but then disaster a girl who I didn't know very well accused me of stalking her (she split up from her b/f and wanted to be noticed or something) a complete fabrication , I eventually had an apology of her but the damage was done. I left as it had knocked my confidence and trust for a long time

I eventually picked myself up again and forced myself to be brave I wanted to try archery so forced myself to join an archery club. Here I found friends and gained close friendships,  there went to the pub on Friday evenings I joined in which was scary at first but then I got more and more confident which gave me the confidence to join a badminton club

Last year my Dad passed away from bowel cancer to distract me I joined a cycling club. I would never would have had the courage earlier to do this.

Even Fantasy Faction gives me confidence as the people here are so friendly here

I still get scared of meeting new people especially in big groups but I try my best to fight against my anxiety  maybe I should go to the next Grim Gathering

 
I'm Saloninus, by the way. And I tell lies, from time to time. Which goes to prove the old rule; never entirely trust a man who talks about himself in the third person.

Blue and Gold by K.J Parker

Offline Jmack

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Re: Depression is a bitch... from a friend
« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2015, 06:27:04 PM »
There's a great story about perseverance and courage in there @Eclipse. Something to be admired.

But don't think you won't get teased in the next Birthday Cycle story!  ;)
(Just not about any of this. Well, maybe the accent. And the badminton ;D)
« Last Edit: May 11, 2015, 06:28:36 PM by Jmack »
Change, when it comes, will step lightly before it kicks like thunder. (GRMatthews)
You are being naive if you think that any sweet and light theme cannot be strangled and force fed it's own flesh. (Nora)

Offline ScarletBea

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Re: Depression is a bitch... from a friend
« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2015, 07:15:00 PM »
There's a great story about perseverance and courage in there @Eclipse. Something to be admired.
This.

Thank you so much for sharing - and I think you're way braver than me, I keep joining things then never really going, hehe

And definitely come to the next GGathering, I was dead scared at first and had the time of my life! Or if you prefer to start small, if ever you travel up north, we could meet one day :) (when I'm feeling better and ready to face people again hehe - at the moment I fully understand your 'eye contact' comment...)
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Offline Nighteyes

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Re: Depression is a bitch... from a friend
« Reply #11 on: May 11, 2015, 07:21:48 PM »
None of you are alone. Forums are quite a good outlet for people with depression as they are a safe environment - if there is anyone unpleasant you can always log of.  Not that is an issue at FF.  And certainly I know there has been a few posters here who have confessed either privately or in older threads which have been buried away as newer threads have been started. Book clubs are definitely a good idea as they attract often more introverted people.  And hey a lot of great writers have suffered from depression - look at Scott Lynch for example.

keep posting, keep talking.


Love Wolfie x
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Offline xiagan

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Re: Depression is a bitch... from a friend
« Reply #12 on: May 11, 2015, 07:45:50 PM »
Depression is quite common in my gf's family so I understand what you are going through.

Words may help, but maybe comics help more?

Because of what I said above, I collected some beautiful comics about depression. Hope you enjoy them! :)

http://imgur.com/gallery/LQBxL

http://imgur.com/gallery/ZCYSr

http://imgur.com/r/comics/4NqhmxF

http://imgur.com/gallery/qF5iRhV

http://imgur.com/a/5GYkD?gallery

http://i.imgur.com/wZeK2vL.jpg

"Sire, I had no need of that hypothesis." (Laplace)

Offline Eli_Freysson

Re: Depression is a bitch... from a friend
« Reply #13 on: May 11, 2015, 08:56:12 PM »
Depression is quite common in my gf's family so I understand what you are going through.

Words may help, but maybe comics help more?

Because of what I said above, I collected some beautiful comics about depression. Hope you enjoy them! :)

http://imgur.com/gallery/LQBxL

http://imgur.com/gallery/ZCYSr

http://imgur.com/r/comics/4NqhmxF

http://imgur.com/gallery/qF5iRhV

http://imgur.com/a/5GYkD?gallery

http://i.imgur.com/wZeK2vL.jpg

Wow. Those are moving. Especially the last one.

Myself, I've never had to deal with true clinical depression, and put in context my own problems seem rather trivial, but I guess I'll share too:

I have Asperger syndrome, diagnosed when I was sixteen and miserable from loneliness after leaving home for high school. The diagnosis helped and led me to get the support and mindset I needed.

I have made great improvements in the sixteen years since, both in my ability to understand other people and to live with myself. I have a few friends I made through tabletop games and hobbies that don't involve my computer.

But I‘m still a bit of an alien among people. I don‘t deal with chaos and noise well. I‘m stiff and awkward in conversations and I don‘t have much of an ability to form new friendships. There is always this invisible wall around me, and this strange inner blockage that limits my outward emotional expression.

Almost all of my time away from work is spent alone. Seeing a young couple with a baby or a group of friends tends to give me this sting of sadness and yearning, this wish to have been born a bit different. I fully expect to remain single for the rest of my days. Looking at myself I honestly see no realistic chance of any other outcome.
I often have negative thoughts towards myself, just under the surface, denigrating my worth, my accomplishments, where I am in life, my bravery. And for some reason I‘ve been unusually hard on myself this year.

But, as I said, on whole I’ve improved greatly from the miserable boy I once was. The darkest days now are nothing compared to the past. My family is good people and I have learned to manage myself and make the world less sharp and difficult.
I'll notify your next of kin... that you sucked!

Offline Eclipse

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Re: Depression is a bitch... from a friend
« Reply #14 on: May 11, 2015, 09:53:24 PM »
I look forward to you story Jmack ,just remember who gave you credits to get you started haha

Scarletbea I would love to meet up with you one day eventually, you could show me the sites and have cake. Just don't let me make excuse up not to go like I'm scared what happens if I run out of things to say

Eli, I know what you mean about group of friends I sometimes get jealous and wish I had more friends but I wonder how close there really are. I've now got two really close friends I've made who I feel comfortable with
I'm Saloninus, by the way. And I tell lies, from time to time. Which goes to prove the old rule; never entirely trust a man who talks about himself in the third person.

Blue and Gold by K.J Parker