The search for hope

This may be one of the more contentious posts that I’ve ever written.  However the intention behind writing it is to spark discussion around depression, and for us to share our suffering and experiences.

And I would like to STRONGLY preface this post by stressing this is my personal experience and struggle only.   It may be confronting for some.

It’s also a long read.

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I was watching a documentary yesterday about a forest in Japan.  The documentary was voiced by the unfortunate gentleman who searches for the forest for the poor people that enter it with the intention of never coming back out.

He made mention of a sign that has been erected at the entrance of the forest, advising people to consider their family and friends, and to reach out and seek help for depression.  He said that we are never really on our own.

Having struggled my entire life with mental illness (including severe depression and anxiety) this is an emotive issue for me.

Hence my blog post today to talk about it.

My intention for this post is to share my experience, and encourage others to do the same.  In the hope that we can find hope and comfort.

I first started struggling with severe depression when I fell pregnant with my son.  Up until then I had suffered, but not enough for it to impact on my life.  I had however struggled with anxiety, and that certainly did impact my life greatly.

Before I fell pregnant with my son I was on medication for that anxiety, but I stopped it so that I could have a baby.  I felt okay, and felt that I was able to do that (stop the medication).  And having a baby was something I so badly wanted.

A combination of factors led to severe depression then setting in.  I suffered 4 successive miscarriages in my attempt to have a child.  I didn’t deal with them at the time as I should have, but just pressed on in the hope of having a successful pregnancy.  Once I became pregnant with my son I had very severe morning sickness the entire pregnancy.  I was unable to work, and unable to function at all.  I should have been in hospital, but I was too sick and wretched to even get myself there.  Then there were issues with the pregnancy as it progressed, and the scans revealed growth problems indicate of ASD (which did indeed up being diagnosed at a later date).  There were also severe growth restrictions, and concerns with baby.

Include with that a very traumatic birth, and I finally cracked.

2 days after leaving the maternity hospital I ended up in a mental hospital.  I went back on my medication and received counselling and pulled myself back together.

At the same time  my (then husband) fell apart with severe depression as well.

He’d also suffered his entire life, and after I became pregnant (the 5th time) he decided that he didn’t want a child after all.  Once baby was born he had thoughts of taking both of their lives.  So he went on very high level medication which he remains on to this day.

That was my first experience with severe clinical depression.

Life went on (in some fashion) for the next 4 years until my husband left.

That in itself is another blog post.  But he left to find his own happiness with someone else.

I however fell apart.

We’d been together from the time I left home.  He was my first and only boyfriend, and it was all that I knew.  In a short space of time he walked out, I lost my home, my son was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, I had a cancer scare, I wrapped my car around a tree (accidentally), and so on.

And I found myself utterly and completely on my own.

I realised – too late – that I had not put time into establishing strong friendships, and was devastated to learn that my family didn’t want to get involved in any great way.

I won’t go into details about what happened during that time, but I sunk as low as it’s possible to do so.

And this is where my thoughts on depression have been formed.

Naturally as a society we are urged to get help for depression and to speak out and ask for help.  (And I stress this is NOT something that I am advising against in any way).

I however did that, and found no real help.

And believe me I have done it all – when it comes to depression I am a walking encyclopaedia.  I’ve seen 3 psychiatrists and at least 8 psychologists.  I’ve been on every depression medication there is.  (some of which turned me into a literal non-responsive vegetable).  That was a scary time for both myself and my parents.

I’ve done CBT therapy, and ABC therapy.  I’ve tried the Buddhist approach to CBT.  I’ve read about every self help book there is.  I’ve called the emergency helplines.  I’ve spoken to friends and family.  I radically changed my diet (no gluten or dairy).  I became an exercise fanatic.

But the one thing I found was that at the end of the day nothing really helped, and I was on my own.

My family didn’t want to get involved.  The friends I had sympathised, but didn’t want to get dragged into my black hole.  Which is understandable.

I find personally there is limited help when it comes to depression.

I am on medication still (which I will never come off).  And it helps, to a limited extent.  It certainly helps to feel numb.

But to be honest each and every single day is a struggle.

I have wondered at length whether there is any real hope for suffers of severe clinical depression like myself?

And this is where I would really value any stories from people that have found an answer to this suffering.

I would love to feel that there is hope, and that I won’t spend the next 10/20/30/40 years suffering each and every day.

As I said, an emotive post from me today, but one on which I would very much welcome comment.

Meg ♥

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About istopforsuffering

A page created to help spread love and kindness and positivity. Dedicated to making this world a better place, and making a difference in people's lives.

6 responses to “The search for hope

  1. Meg–

    You ask powerful, heartfelt questions, and they stir up more questions and tentative answers. I need to let the questions work on me for a while. But I also want to say something, so that your words aren’t left hanging out there unacknowledged.

    So I will say a few things. First to note how sometimes the most precious thing we can offer is our own suffering, struggle, and beautiful confusion. I thank you for your courage in sharing your deepest heart.

    Almost as quickly as people began to speak openly and honestly about depression, there followed a certain type of discussion–seemingly everywhere, and also seemingly to be part of the conversation. But I see in it another variation of the “just get over it” response, a reaction against the honesty of pain revealed and meant to shut down the real discussion. This is especially prevalent on the internet–all these articles from people who “beat” depression through whatever their solution is, whether it’s diet, or meditation, or right thinking. It’s almost an industry of hope, offering the promise of constant joy and certainty. And to continue to sell it they have to also continue to show their newfound happiness, their ongoing cure. It serves to make those of us who still struggle feel once again like failures. And if we raise a question as you do, and dare to say we haven’t found the solution, we are told we’re attached to our suffering or too closed minded.

    This is not to say that there aren’t people whose depression may lessen, or disappear. But as with most anything in this life, there are causes and conditions that we aren’t aware of, and no one can be certain why their depression changed.

    My first response to pain and struggle is usually to first attempt to understand it, so this may seem to be too analytical. But my other response to you is to simply offer that though I have found ways to deal with my depression, it is still a part of my life that comes and goes, and still requires me to meet it as best I can. There’s a short poem by W. S. Merwin called “Separation:”

    Your absence has gone through me
    Like thread through a needle.
    Everything I do is stitched with its color.

    I think for many of us, that stitch of color describes how our lives are shot through with depression, a presence also woven into all. I have more I would like to say, but will have to wait until it becomes clear.
    For now, thank you again. Please treasure yourself.

    Phil

  2. judygi

    Oh Meg, my heart breaks for you – I had absolutely no idea of the extent of the pain you’ve been in. I wish there was something I could do to help but I have no experiences to share – all I can do is offer my awe and admiration for the courage you show in this blog post and in your efforts to improve. Maybe if we talk and share then we can all learn more about mental health issues?

  3. Steve

    Hi Meg,

    My friend Judy posted this on her facebook page and I was interested to read your story. I’ve often felt on the edge of a life similar to yours so many times in my life. However, I’ve managed to always stay, only just sometimes, on the better side of pretty bad. All I can say is how touched I am at your bravery and the strength that you seem to show in just continuing putting one foot in front of the other.

    It’s mostly impossible to explain to many (but not all) people how debilitating these conditions can be. I have a friend who just recently emerged from her room… She’d been there nearly 15 years, struggling with depression, anxiety and addictions. She has chosen to go and study formally (Psych and Addiction Studies) and that seems to be helping her.

    Maybe in just doing what you have done, write about it, maybe that will help just a little bit, and maybe if you continue to write about it, then perhaps (I’m totes guessing here) maybe that will be in a weird sort of way a way of casting off some of that horrible stuff. Whatever the case, I think this is an incredibly brave blog post and I wish you well.

    Steve 🙂

    • Thank you so much for your lovely post Steve, there is so much wisdom there. I do really find it helps to put my thoughts down on paper (so to speak). And the encouragement of everyone who reads has helped so much as well. Thank you again, I wish you much happiness, Meg

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