Monday, February 13, 2017

I have been playing with the idea of this post for a while: mostly what I want to say but also whether it needs saying at all.

Some people who read this may already be aware that I have, in the past, been involved with a person who did not treat me very healthily. It has taken many years to actually recognise and correctly name this relationship as abusive. I suspect most people in similar situations have trouble identifying such until later. It's easy enough to dismiss oneself as being silly or oversensitive, but when you are being actively conditioned to do so, it's a lot harder to acknowledge in the moment.

The situation has been on my mind a fair bit recently for a few reasons. Perhaps the most striking to me at the moment is that I am fast approaching the anniversary of our first meeting. A decade has past, and I am so changed from the 'me' that became involved with this person that I am barely able to relate to any old diary entries or blog posts that I read. After moving house, I have been able to dig up old materials of this nature and read back over the period in question.
I don't really want to detail the exact specifics of the abuse, but I have some hindsight, context, and rueful wisdom.

The first thing I want to get off my chest is an apology.

I am sorry to all of my friends and family who were also affected by my relationship with this person.
I know they will say that the apology isn't warranted, but still I feel the need to impress upon them my sincerity: I am so sorry.

I'm sorry I didn't listen; that I dismissed your concerns; that I allowed myself to be shepherded away from your genuine and protective love; that I deprioritised you even in the days when I could see that I was being influenced, but decided to choose the easier path because continuing to fight to keep you by my side drained me of any energy I had left for myself. I remember some of the decisions I made out of self-preservation that hurt you and I still struggle with it.

Secondly, and I cannot stress this enough, I want to implore anyone reading this to make a concerted effort to stay mindful of their situation. There were a lot of warning signs and gut feelings that I ignored. There were also positive things I ignored too, like the concerns tentatively voiced to me by others that I cast aside; I fiercely defended my unhealthy relationship, even against my own inner qualms.

It is only now, with the strength of retrospection that I am able to see that I would have had support, but I had slowly been isolated. I was, whether consciously or not, cut from my herd.

People have often asked me why we got together in the first place, or at least stayed together after the first concerns were raised. The answer is somewhat two-fold itself: I was in a low place when we met, and this person could be very charismatic and good at saying what I wanted to hear. I can even remember a conversation we had after a group outing, whereby they accused my accompanying friends of not caring about me like they do. A case was presented, and I was swayed. Their debate was convincing, their evidence sound. Of course they knew what was best for me, after all they were my partner.

I don't necessarily believe this behaviour was deliberately malicious. I actually believe that they believe they were doing the right thing by me. I was slowly convinced that I owed them my dedication, my defence, my protection; after all isn't that what I also receive from them?

Possibly the most dismantling harm was the effect this had on my sense of self-assurance. Whenever I would gain enough confidence and felt the need to stand up for myself, my partner was very good at martyrdom and victim-playing. Again, I have reason to believe this wasn't a conscious and deliberate action, but simply a result of having no other emotional maturity or capacity to do otherwise.

It meant that I would eventually apologise for my moments of self-defense. They were held against me in a mental ledger, and I was confronted with the tired adage of "If you really loved me..." more than I had prior.

Eventually, this taught me that my indignation at unfair or unhealthy situations was disproportionate. I had been convinced that I was the one overreacting; that my outbursts of emotion or rage, the result of compacted and repressed frustration or a sense of injustice, were standalone incidents: I was the powder-cake.

I was not completely broken down. There was enough resilience in me to occasionally want to rally and say my piece, to voice that I was not happy with our circumstances or relationship. I had the inner fire to defend myself occasionally, but unfortunately in that relationship, and perhaps because of it, I also had an inability to do this more effectively than simply letting all the anger and hurt and frustration pour out of me in verbal and emotional tidal waves.

My partner did not lash out like this, my partner did not rant with a whirring mind and racing heart at me. They were a measured and quiet presence, with a withdrawn and sometimes unwavering air. Surely, of the two of us, it was I who was unstable? If anything, my partner would openly cry and become upset because of something I had done out of momentary inability to emotionally regulate. To the outside world, with my stronger personality and fiery volume once at tipping point, I seemed the dangerous one.

And that's how it felt.

I was singlehandedly being manipulated into believing myself to be the sole instigator of disquiet. I am not claiming, by any means, that the outbursts mentioned above were appropriate, but simply a result of months and eventually years of emotional games, and the need to demand respect when I felt confident enough to do so. As I said, I wasn't as well equipped to emotionally handle the situation more appropriately than to sit on my frustration in an attempt to keep peace until it became too much and resulted in an argument.

My partner was very good at being upset. There was always some issue or problem, whether emotional or functional, in our relationship or just in our home, that needed attention to 'make them happy'. I spent countless hours and immeasurable energy on trying to 'fix things'. I was constantly baffled why the exuberance I was expecting never came. If something in the outside world had gone wrong, I was hysterically and tearfully approached to deal with it. Someone sent you a nasty message? I'll handle this. You lost your job? I'll put your resume together. Can't afford your rent? I'll pay half. Favourite band isn't coming to town? Let's fly interstate to see them.
They were very good at making me feel needed.

And that was half the initial enticement. I was needed and wanted, at a time when I had craved the feeling.

In my diary of the time, the last entry before this person enters my life, is two lines. It reads simply:
I feel so unloved. Unloveable.

I was a sitting duck for any charismatic character to enter my world and begin making me feel these things again. I ended up in a worse place because I started a relationship, with an emotionally immature person, from a bad place.

The diary, and my personal blog at the time, details events that my memory has shelved. It starts positive, written in coloured pens with scrapbook items. Then gradually introduces more and more negative recounts of the days.

Some years later, my diary sees another succinct entry, which is incidentally the last entry in an unfinished notebook that grew less and less embellished and decorated as my creativity and motivation waned over time. It is written in plain black ink, and reads only:
I'm getting very tired of fighting. Very tired.

Judging from the timestamp, that was a few months before I was freed.
But I was not released entirely...

In the years that followed, living in small city meant that we had mutual acquaintances. We also had shared interests which meant occasionally I would find myself at the same event as my former partner. This in itself would be fine, but on numerous times they would seek me out and stand nearby apparently oblivious and coincidental, trying hard to be nonchalant. It happened more often than coincidences would have one believe. I was trying to move on with my life, and they were actively trying to reinsert themselves into it in any manner in which they could pass off as chance if confronted. Plausible deniability.

Another reason I find this topic on my mind lately is new information that has come to light about others who came after me.

I was not the last to be subjected to the manipulation and emotional & psychological abuse of this person. I have discovered other parties who were also subjected to it, some of whom are lucky to still be alive.'

I'm torn by this news.

On the one hand, I want to be proud of myself that I was strong enough and resilient enough to not have my mental health pushed quite this far. Perhaps that fire that would be used against me helped keep me safe?

On the other hand, these other relationships with my former partner and these parties were significantly shorter. Whilst I feel like I may have gotten away unscathed in comparison because I did not require hospitalization or need to be put on suicide watch, these events helped them recognise the unhealthy place they were in.
I feel somewhat stupid to know that I remained in a situation that was hazardous to my mental and physical and social health for so long.

It's challenging to process, because the journey I've been on since having the relationship removed from my life has allowed vast progression and growth, and I keep judging myself in the past by my wisdom of the present. I have to remember to be kind, and forgiving, to the person I was.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Big Anxiety in a Small Person

After reading this link about kids with anxiety, I have some thoughts that have been in the back of mind for a while now.

Firstly, I wish this kind of awareness was around when I was a kid.

I remember my mum telling someone that I 'worried a lot' and I remember 'feeling worried' about random things that I couldn't always articulate.
This was the only word I was ever given for what I felt.

I also remember watching some movie with my family and there was a scene where someone was called to the stand in court and I told my mum that if that ever happened to me I would just cry. Even if I had done nothing wrong and wasn't in trouble, I just knew I'd instantly burst into tears under that scrutiny. Even recalling that memory threatens to overwhelm me, I can place myself exactly back into that kid-me's emotion.

Whilst I've come a long way, that 'worried' kid still kicks around sometimes. I had no idea that it was anything real; I always thought I must be broken for worrying... about nothing. I was always wise enough to know that these were irrational anxieties, even if those 2 words were unknown to me at the time.
On the flipside, we always (lovingly) tease my dad for being a 'worry-wart'... So I guess the argument of genetics vs learned behaviour can kick in there. I've always maintained that it's a little bit of both - especially evidenced by the fact that as I grew older, I've stumbled and learnt my way around my anxiety depression. At least to (more recently) lessen its grip on me than the incapacitation I vaguely recall as a smaller person. But the DNA is still there, and it still raises its head when my methods fail.
Dad was/is prone to anxiety (over being late especially) and we all just learnt to accept that if there was a crisis, he was not the person to count on because he would simply panic. He would visibly reduce into a muddled, flustered being full of breathy exasperation. Meanwhile, precious seconds could be ticking by. Writing that, I am thinking of an instance when I wrenched the phone from him as he struggled to relay information from my mother, bent over the crumpled unconscious frame of my grandmother on the floor, to the 000 operator on the other end.

I also remember when I was very small, I slipped outside and lacerated my leg on a piece of metal. It was bad. I still carry the thick, fat scar on my upper thigh. 
I called out for my brother to help, since my mother was not home and knew Dad would rapidly turn into a useless ball of stress. I was young but sensible enough to have recognised this (and to know that walking inside was probably a bad idea since I'd get blood everywhere!). I was in shock and pain but I tried to keep my voice relatively even so Dad did not know there was any kind of emergency. My brother did a brilliant job of patching me up and although neither of us mentioned it, we knew to keep it from Dad. 
Even when he came into the living room later, as I laid on the couch, bandaged up under the blanket I was wrapped in, resting... He asked what was wrong (had he heard me in distress after all?) and I simply said "Nothing" as innocently as I could. My brother and I went back to watching TV. Mum came home after I went to bed that night and she was informed when I woke up in the middle of the night due to bad dreams, and I went to the doctor in the morning.
This. This is in my blood, my genes. And whilst I ruefully comment that today's kids have more resources than I did growing up, I am suddenly struck with the fact that he had less. None, even.

I don't envy the increased anxiety in our young people in this world, but I do envy the fact that due to its (ever increasing) widespread reach, at least anxiety (and depression) is slowly becoming more recognised, treated, and reduced in stigma. I may have missed out on the early help that I would've perhaps gotten (or not, who knows?) but at least I know that before we teeter too far on the border of becoming too much of an over-sensitive, coddling bunch -as the media an others would like to paint us as a society- there are other kids in pain who are getting help.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

long time between drinks

I remember the last time I was about to write here, it had already been quite a while between posts.

Ironically, the reason I never got around to writing that positivity-filled post updating you all on my world is because suddenly the fragility of it all became apparent and the mind-world crumbled for a few days or a week and my motivation to check in subsequently died.

And here I am, between smooth sailing once again; caught in the shifting of tectonic plates as I try to calm my racing thoughts and stay grounded amongst my erratic emotions. Right now I am a little down. Winter is officially here and I'm cold and tired and it doesn't help things. I sit with a mindful smile and try to keep the negativity from sinking in.

This the most important part: knowing that how I feel right now is but temporary.
It too shall pass.

This is just a wave and I will ride it out.
It's a long way from where I started. And I guess that's something to be proud of in itself.

On that note, I will update you on one thing: I recently just passed my first year of working in a steady job. That's a big accomplishment for me in recent days. I am lucky. I have good people around me and am part of an understanding team there.

Customer service is involved too. Who'd have thunk it? Me back in the saddle.

So I guess amongst these dreary feelings I nurture a small flame against the wind. It is a tiny, ember of hope and pride and sanity. I am stronger than I ever suspected.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

the dark is where the demons are...

It's nearly 3am and I have work 'tomorrow.'
I sit here on the couch in the darkness, thinking about nothing and everything; just a still, quiet meandering mind in the night.

It conjures up two memories, which revisit me not infrequently.

The first: a brief, fleeting image of being holed up years ago in a roadhouse motel alone by some interstate highway, listening to the trucks drone past as sleep escaped me. I stared into the moonlight and took dark 'artsy' photographs to pass the time, waiting for morning and the new workday, a sentence repeating over and over in my head - the answer to a question I hadn't bothered asking about why I could always sleep better in the daytime:
"The dark is where the demons are..."

The second memory is one from childhood.
I'm at a friend's birthday party. We're all perhaps about eight years old. Maybe younger. We've been playing in the backyard, and I've not been hugely interested in the games but joining in regardless.

Presently we're called inside: the party food is ready, probably cake too.

The other kids, maybe another 5 or 6 children, bustle through the back door to the kitchen and I linger at the back of the single file line. When I get to the door I let it shut in front of me and veer to a chair propped just alongside. I sit and I ponder without pondering - as I am right now - looking out over the now empty yard drenched in sun, and listening to the clamour of munching juveniles just within.

Someone notices I'm missing - the birthday girl, or perhaps her mother, and she opens the door to look for me. Seemingly startled to find me just outside, she asked "What are you doing??"

I reply, distracted "I'm just ...thinking".

Before she can respond her mother calls out to find out what's going on, and my friend relays over her shoulder: "She's thinking"
"Thinking!? What about?" the mother hollers, and my memory lets the rest of her words trail back into my mind and as the image fades to black I recall that I got up then and joined them, embarrassed.

Just being. Just seeing and feeling and thinking without thought. Numb, without the hopeless undertones, - though, she's still there somewhere.

Earlier this evening my partner and I had argued, and I suspect I am simply drained as always after such a challenging time. So I just sit. And am. My body claiming to want sleep, but my mind not surrendering to it, and my body only mildly convincing anyway.
I am not exhausted, I am just being. Just thinking.

A third commonly recounted memory surfaces:
I am in early highschool and the deputy principal has become a sort of mediator between another student and I in the midst of an emotional quarrel. She asks me what I do when I go home, after the conflict at school, and I reply that I do nothing: I do my homework and what tasks needs doing, but otherwise I just sit and think about things. Perhaps I include that I stare at the ceiling and think, I don't remember.
"Hmm" She nods slightly as she considers this. "That's dangerous."

I didn't reply at the time, and don't recall anything else as clearly from that conversation in her office.

"Is it?" my head still asks her today.

Are the quiet moments like this really dangerous? Do they really cause me as much harm as being emotionally heightened sprawled on the floor? Or kicking furniture and yelling?

Usually this type of quiet is the shell that's left when I'm tired and I've spent all the fight in me. I'm not depleted of anything but some energy, and lots of fight.
I'm submissive, passive, pliable.

If my partner is patient enough to wait for the objection to burn out of me in the form of tears and fists into floors, sometimes for hours... in this quiet time, even after the flares of shame and guilt if there's any to spare, I will do whatever it was I was rebelling against to begin with. Whatever tiny, insignificant last camel straw set my balanced brain on fire in the first place.
I become obedient, for the sheer reason that there's nothing left in me in this moment.


Sometimes I agree with her. But this is not one of those times.
I think she means those times when the darkness is like a vacuum. When your head is not quiet, but full and noisy and repetitive. When the broken record tells you how hopeless and useless you are, and how selfish you are for feeling hopeless and useless. When the dark is where the demons are.

But this is not one of those times.

The demons are still here on nights like this, but they sit beside me. Not tormenting me, but not ignoring me either. We sit together and gaze out into the shadows like two strangers watching the same sunset on the same park bench, in polite silence.

Quietly appraising and respecting each other.

It's as though we have a truce this night: I don't try to stifle my demons, and they don't try to suffocate me.
This must be a sample of what living in peace with your inner demons must feel like.

I pause from finishing this post on that note as one last thought strikes me:
It's not as though I am scared of the dark, but quite the opposite. The night makes no demands. It is peaceful and quiet, and so, so many people are asleep. The day, however, brings harsh light to renewed worries. People and their demands awake. The world stirs.
It's easier to sleep past it all. With a bonus of a soul-lifting charge that only sleeping in sunlight can bring.

Perhaps I've had it wrong all these years, where my demons sleep.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Today it hailed.
I ran straight outside to be in it, and to take a photo.

The shower was intense but short. Soon there was an even smattering on the ground outside.

I watched the ice melt into the earth, losing its shape and colour, before becoming absorbed entirely.


On the weekend we camped at a holiday park for a couple of nights. It was part of a retreat organised by my partner's 'church group' (their Facebook group description reads: "A gathering of same-sex attracted Christian, Post-Christian, Not-Christian-but-not-opposed and etc. Womyn - for social, spiritual, educational, meaningful, nutritional, conversational and "otheral" stuff.").

So they're a pretty open and inclusive bunch, and calling them a 'church group' doesn't really seem to fit, but I don't know what else to call them. Whilst not being hugely religious these days (I've always identified more as 'spiritual' as I became more my own person) I decided to go with her as I'm friends with some of the others, and we both needed another short time-away.

A bonus was that the rural area was close to an old friend's area, and we were able to catch up with her for lunch in the nearby township. My friend occasionally can be reclusive and it meant a lot that she made the effort to meet with us. I love her and miss her often, and I hope to make our catch-ups more frequent after a couple years of 'estrangement'.
I managed to meet with another long lost friend after camping, and I'll touch on that later.

After lunch we walked around the small town and spoke with some of the local shopkeepers. Our favourite was perhaps a new age store offering readings, healings, crystals etc. It was the kind of store that I (ashamedly) would ridicule whilst I was a blind, over-zealous, religious teenager.

As I grew older and slowly began living my own life and making my own thoughts and belief-systems, I was fortunate enough to meet some wonderful people who opened my eyes to a more spiritual and holistic way of thinking. This is where my 'spiritual' identity was born, although in the recent past as I've struggled with these various mental barriers noted in this blog, I admit that my soul needs a refresher. I wish I could keep on studying Complementary Health on the other side of the city, the staff there were pretty in-tune and I liked their approach of the mind, body and soul being interlinked. Perhaps one day when I can commit to on-campus learning again, I will pick it up.
I also think this is why I like my psychologist and chiropractors - folks who understand energies and that I am sensitive to them.

Anyway I digress as usual...

It was a lovely store, and the ladies there were lovely and nearly made me cry a couple times with their kindness and intuition. We bought some gemstones (2 or 3 each) and my partner also picked up some spirit cards which sound nice too: I'm looking forward to flicking through them.

It got me thinking about stones again and how I haven't really picked up any of mine for some time (excluding when I put them on my windowsill amongst my piratey things which would have charged them nicely, but it wasn't really 'using' them). I remembered I had maybe 4 at home on my bookshelf.

When we got home from campy times I set about looking up how to cleanse our new stones of their energies (since folks handling them instore would leave residual energy. We were advised to hold them under running water) and thought I should do the same for the few I knew I still had.

After refreshing my memory from Crystal Gems I decided I would gather my old stones and do a deep cleanse in saltwater before rinsing in the running water and smudging, since I knew I had a couple stones somewhere and they'd been on a shelf for a long time.

I went around my study collecting my stones and found out that I actually have 14 in total!
So between my own buying, and giftage from 3 of my aforementioned in-tune friends, over the last 10years I actually have acquired a heap more than I thought!

Now to go about the task of re-learning what each stone is. I wanted to re-centre, but first I need to re-educate.

This is kinda a testament as to how by-the-wayside I've left my focus on spirit and soul. I've been so concentrated on the mind and occasionally the body that I've forgotten the importance of the whole package.

Even the fact that I was laying in a tent listening to the wind and the birds, warm with my partner beside me, I felt myself loosen and my chest a little less tight.

I've been feeling nostalgic for how things were within me in the past - whilst acknowledging my rose-coloured-glasses-memory could be working against me here. That said, I've been making an effort to make contact with some old friends again. Mostly those who don't have/use social-media often.

The morning we packed up the tent, we drove back into the city to meet with another friend whom I hadn't seen in quite a few years (2 rekindles in 2 days - booyeah!) and it was one of those wonderful moments where the time hasn't diluted your dynamic.

I feel like I'm very slowly re-stitching torn pieces of my tapestry back together.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

My Black Dog

It's been a few months since I've been motivated enough to write here. Even my personal diary hasn't seen a pen for a while.

A quick recap before I get into the flow of what I want to write about.
In the past 3 months:
  • I got the job I was interviewed for last time we spoke. My manager is nice and they are flexible with my hours, since sometimes of late I haven't been up to working (more on that later). The work is simple and repetitive. I excel in the tasks, to the point that it irks me somewhat because I see a lot of coworkers doing the same thing alongside me, but sacrificing good results for speed. It's frustrating to see products going out the door that are woefully put together, yet I've been passive-aggressively told I'm too slow. Sigh. Well, screw you. At least I can see the art in what I'm doing, and I will never be dragged over the coals for creating something sub-standard.
  • My second shift in, I was carpooling a workmate and I home when a man using his mobile phone rear ended  my car and shoved us into the back of the car in front of us. My car was a write-off, and after much back-and-forth between the insurance company and myself, I have finally only now bought myself an acceptable second-hand car.
  • I started anti-depressants, which is much of the reason I will rant later in this post. I have tried 2 variants of pain-killer/anti-depressant drugs, and aside from having my joint pain reduced I am not thrilled with the results.
  • I enrolled in an online course studying Training & Education. It's a field I've been curious about for a while now so with my leftover dollars from the purchase of my new car, I signed myself up to an at-your-own-pace 12month run. The 6month course was cheaper, but I'm a realist. I'm probably already behind schedule.

So that pretty much brings you up to speed.

The weather is slowly turning Springward. I have been feeling the winter a lot more than usual this year: trouble getting and keeping warm, more joint pain than usual, and the to-be-expected Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Today I took the day off work due to a few reasons; my hip is very sore and I need to see my chiro again, plus I had a rough night with a lot of tears and a foot through the wall, plus my partner has had some bad news regarding one of her clients at her work also. So we've declared ourselves unfit for anything too taxing today.
She currently has a workmate over and they are enjoying a cup of tea in the almost-spring weather, talking about the unfortunate events. I took it as a good opportunity to gather my thoughts here, since I was overdue.

When I started working again, we made a game plan. It involved who was responsible for which bills and financial obligations, whilst also outlining what self-care measures we each must apply ourselves to. Mine were to continue to see my chiro, GP and psych, as well as trialling medication to improve my moods and mental state. Aside from the chiro visits, which were on hiatus while I predominantly relied on public transport, I have been keeping up my end of the bargain.

I have never taken anti-depressants before. I was agreeable enough to start taking birth-control pills to counter the PMDD symptoms brought on by my menstrual cycle, but I have been resistant to anti-depressants for as long as I have known about them.

If you had asked me a year ago what I thought was 'wrong with me' I would have listed PMDD, then Social Anxiety, then Anxiety, but I would have bitten your head off if you included Depression in the suggestions.

I was/am swamped in self-stigma about Depression.

"No, I DON'T have Depression"
"I'm just tired/sore"
"I was fine until *insert reason here*"

Depression, in my mind, was/is the unkempt, dressing-gown draped, sad-and-sorry moocher who sits on the couch and watches TV all day. 'Every second person has fucking Depression. I don't have that!' I would spit the word out, as if it were a sour dob of snot on my tongue. My denial would/does frustrate me into a rage, lashing out at the label, fighting with all my strength against being associated with the pathetic images of Depression my brain held.
At the same time, I was ignoring every other day that I had spent in my pyjamas eating biscuits on the couch, staring blankly at the television watching movie after movie after movie. I was raging against an image I was filling nigh perfectly.

Some days are better than others, like the adventures in Depression themselves. Some days I exhaust myself into a sullen acceptance, and I retrospectively recognise all the signs from the past 15 years that undeniably pointed to the black dog* but I had looked the other way. My first clear memory of being depressed I was about 12 or 13, but I'm sure it even pre-dates that.

I came up with a story to cover my inexplicable 'down days' growing up in a close-knit school: Someone had died, it was the birthday of a lost loved one, I had a cold, I didn't sleep well, etc etc etc. I knew that if I just said 'I'm feeling a bit down' the next question would be 'why?'... and I didn't have an honest answer. I knew that was crazy, to be sad for no reason.

Other days I lock myself up, numbing out everyone around me as much as I dared. I kept up the facades to friends and family, so that they wouldn't pry. It's something I've noticed a lot since those years: my motivation for keeping it together was/is simply to avoid all the probing questions that would follow if I didn't.

I ruefully chuckle, even now, and think "What a reason! The only reason I don't snap completely is because I don't want to have to deal with the aftermath? Meaning, were there no aftermath, I would let myself go entirely?"

It's a sad realisation, to know that you're only passing for okay because you're not committed enough to the crazy label.

I feel like I'm in a painful purgatory. The good days taunt me with the possibility that this could be a reality: a happy, normal life, I'm capable of so much. Then the bad days swamp me and my brain laughs at having imagined anything so foolish.

The anti-depressants aren't working, and I go back to the doctor in a few days to discuss another option. They are actually making me worse. I have been lower in these last few months, on these pills supposedly designed to do the opposite, than I have ever managed by myself. I had been reluctant, but had been swayed into giving them a try, if nothing else, to at least write off the possibility that this could be what I need to feel better.

It's horrible, to have to feel so bad before you can say with certainty 'I knew this wasn't the answer.'

I had rebelled against them for so long, and the possibility that I may indeed need them, and now that I had finally been convinced by my partner and my health team to give them a try, they turn out to exactly as I had anticipated: a waste of time, a waste of money, and filling my body and brain with chemicals that alter me.
I have seen too many people I know and love become completely different people whilst taking medications and it had frightened me to think the same could happen to me... and yet here I am, on the end of a 3 month rollercoaster involving meds and withdrawals and moods like any crooked ferris wheel.

I tell myself to snap out of it. The stigma and my self-talk get together and tell me that I'm just weak, and a normal person wouldn't be reacted to the things I do the way that I do. It doesn't matter what anyone else says to me to make me feel better, my spinning thoughts command my attention far more than any outside voice.

My partner tries to help, but her voice simply adds to the constant noise in my head and I am quickly overwhelmed and get snappy. All I want anyone to do is to hug me, regardless of what good advice/intentions they may have.

I am an audience of one to a very loud disharmony. Like trying to listen to a live band play a song while wearing headphone that are playing a different genre of music entirely. The constant duality is tiring, and it's hard to explain thoroughly because no one hears it but me. The word 'hear' doesn't even seem to fit because it's not how I imagine hearing voices to be, just thoughts. Like when you get used to playing a particular album, and you expect the next song before it even starts playing, so much so that your brain actually starts playing it in your head... and then something else starts playing because this is a mix-tape not your favourite album, and for a moment you get confused because your brain is singing one song and your ears are hearing another.


And this is where the exhaustion settles in.

I'm tired of explaining myself, tired of trying to find the magic formula to 'get well', tired of labels, of justifications and explanations, of the black dog and all his friends. I'm tired of battling myself like I have these nearly-two decades.

I forget what my initial point was. Or if I had one.

For now I will simply leave you with the hardest words I have ever spoken:
I have Depression.

Black Dog Institute - What is Depression?