But it’s raining. No one has noticed that I haven’t got dressed or been outside because the weather allows me to hide. Not only allows it but deems it socially acceptable to stay in bed and hide from the world. And though I wish for better weather, to see the sunshine instead of rain, I am thankful for the tears the clouds shed. Thankful that I have an acceptable reason to spend my days in bed watching TV instead of being forced to face a world I don’t have the strength to interact with. Forced to smile and laugh when I want to hide and cry.
I’m tired. Too tired and apathetic about myself and this world to do anything about my thoughts. Thoughts that recycle themselves as though they’re horses on a merry-go-round. It’s hard to break the cycle, to achieve anything so your thoughts remain forefront in your mind. Thoughts that do nothing but make you feel worse for doing nothing.
Should you make a cup of tea? No. That requires movement. Should you put the lights on? No. You don’t have the energy. Speak to a friend? Not likely. It takes effort to hide your emotions and you don’t have that right now.
But I have books. New books. 8 of them to be exact. I have words waiting for me to pour over and not a single desire to pick them up which pains me.
I’m severely depressed but I’m lying to everyone. On purpose. I don’t do it often. In fact, I haven’t truly lied about and hidden my depression to this extent in years but I just can’t face being honest. I can’t face telling people that, right now, when I am truly forced to think about it, realising that I can no longer call Bondi Beach home brings me physical pain. My chest tightens, my eyes well with tears and my muscles tense as though my body is preparing itself to break.
So when they ask how I am, I ignore it. I ask them another question, talk about something random or simply don’t reply. It’s an omission of truth in the strongest sense but I’m lying and pushing people away. On purpose. Because lying to others is much simpler than lying to myself. I know my truth but it doesn’t mean that others have to; especially when my thoughts are this dark. They will offer me nothing but well-meaning and loving platitudes but sadly and frustratingly, their words will not stop my thoughts or make me feel better even if that is their intention.
So I stay quiet because it’s easier than explaining myself. Easier than explaining how a simple walk through town makes me feel suicidal because it’s not the shopping centre I’m used to back home in Sydney. Easier than explaining how, looking at the ocean no longer heals me but hurts me. Reminds me that the water that surrounds me is no longer the ocean I love because it’s not Bondi. It is not filled with surfers or breaching whales. There is nothing. Nothing but an expanse of sea that I used to treasure and now loathe. I can’t listen to certain music playlists because they remind me of my daily run along the beautiful coastal trail. Even my running shoes are too emotionally painful to wear. It hurts they’re not pounding the sea view that brought me so much physical and emotional strength so I haven’t ran since i came back. I have no friends to meet up with for breakfasts or dinners or spend hours in the blissful sunshine connecting with. No fun activities to take part in or a social life on any level anymore. There are no words to take my pain away so I lie. On purpose.
I am grieving in waves. The pain ebbs and flows. For the most part I am on autopilot. The rest? The rest of the time the pain of no longer calling Bondi home hits me like a breaking wave that I am unprepared for. I can’t bring myself to update Facebook and change my hometown because doing so means my time calling Bondi Beach home is truly over and I don’t want people to ‘like’ that update. I’m not ready to face that demon of reality just yet.
People say you should never grieve over a ‘thing’ or place but that is simply not true; my emotions tell me so. Right now I am grieving not just for Bondi but the life I had there. The life that I had spent so very many years chasing because it was one of my making and I was content. I no longer feel any semblance of that emotion and it physically hurts to come to that realisation.
I am supposed to be grateful. Society tells me so. And I am. But I can’t be grateful that my time in Bondi has to come to an end. I’m angry. So incredibly angry. And every time someone asks why I didn’t get sponsored or came back, I feel like a failure. Logically, they don’t understand how difficult it is to get the visa, but every time someone asks, it chips away at me. Makes me feel as though it is my fault I couldn’t stay out there.
I stay quiet because I can’t bear the thought of having to justify my thoughts and emotions to people who won’t understand. I can’t tell anyone because they’ll reply with ‘but other people have come home and they’re fine’ or ‘everyone gets holiday blues’. It is more than that. It’s about spending 16 years living with depression and anxiety, finally becoming happy and having it taken away from me. It’s about believing I will never have a family of my own. That I will never be a success or find a job I can cope with but I have no want or energy to explain my emotions. It’s too hard. Too hard, feeling everything that I do, to explain why I am the way I am and why I am going through what I’m going through. I stay quiet because it’s easier than being myself in front of everyone. I have lost the will to live.
So I’ve lied.
To protect myself but mainly everyone else. To prevent them the forcible pain of having to watch me break knowing they were powerless to stop it.
If the question is “if a tree falls over in the forest and no one is around to hear it does it still make a sound?”
My answer is:
I fell over.
And nobody heard.”
The above 1127 words started off as an article with no real direction. They then merged into a piece of creative writing and eventually, a letter to the Universe that I had no intention of sharing.
I am quietly devastated. I say quietly because there are no tears. No extreme outbursts of anger. No reckless decisions. I have simply, very quietly, slipped away from the world and protected myself as I did.
When asked I have not answered questions about how I am or feeling because I couldn’t. I couldn’t because once I say the words out loud, they are real and I have to do something about them.
So here is the truth…
Right now, I’m suffering a major depressive episode and have been for almost two months. I don’t believe I will ever lead a life I am truly okay with. I don’t believe I will be a success, have a husband or a child of my own. I fear I will be ‘stuck’ in a job I hate in a place or country I don’t belong for the rest of my life. That I still live with my mum. If my thoughts sound old and repetitive, it’s because they are. No-one ever said depression was ruminating over new thoughts. Very often it is the tortuous thoughts of the past that hurt us the most when we are so mentally fragile.
And though I recognise that it is the depressive dementor who lives in my head speaking, he lives because these fears in my head are real.
There is a saying in Italian; ‘with wine, comes truth’. Its meaning that though we say drunk words out of haste, the seed to speak those truths was there before the alcohol. I believe it is the same for depression. Though I recognise that many of my thoughts are not my own, they stem from them. I do fear I won’t have a husband or child, live a life I have made for myself and not be stuck in someone else’s or make this website a success. Those are my truths. However, it is the depression that holds me in the grip of those thoughts. Taunts me until they are all consuming and choking.
And part of me wants to allow that. Part of me never wants to allow the suffocation and never fight again. Part of me wants to lie down and never get up.
I have not spoken my truth for the very reason I wrote about what brings everyone to suicide; I don’t want to talk about it or have people offer me platitudes I have heard for years. Don’t want anyone to tell me to get help and live because I didn’t (and don’t) feel I have a future life I want to participate in. I have lost my will to live.
We say that phrase so often don’t we?! We get bored watching a movie and joke that we’ve ‘lost the will to live’ doing so. But how often, when we say those words, do we stop and really pay attention to what they mean?! I have lost. my will. to live. And I don’t know how to get it back again.
I am usually so honest; an open book. I pride myself for doing so because, however brutal it may be, it allows others to see that they’re not alone but this time, at some point I just stopped talking to everyone; my closest friends and you. I stopped talking because after 16 years with this illness, I’m fed up with feeling this way. I’m tired of fighting.
Since returning to the UK, I’ve been offered 3 jobs. I have ‘wowed’ at every interview I have attended and allowed my skills to shine. One job wanted to hire me on top of hiring someone else because they wanted me so much and another, not only overlooked the fact that I had zero of their 2 years of necessary experience but gave me a £1000 salary raise before I began. But I turned them all down. I had my logical reasons. But I also had my mental ones too because truthfully, whilst I have had the energy to ‘wow’ at the interviews, I couldn’t (and can’t) even get myself out of bed the rest of the time and when I did, I didn’t, and still don’t, have the ability to read one sentence of a book. And very sadly, despite all the wonderfully unexpected feedback I have received over the last few weeks, I have lost all confidence in myself. Correction, my depression has allowed me to lose my confidence. My PTSD from my breakdown caused by a previous workplace has reared its ugly head once more and combined with the severe depression, I can’t cope with the thought of working and concentrating so hard on learning a new job.
I fell in love with myself last year. Moving to Bondi I found myself with the biggest and strongest social circle I’ve ever encountered with many event entries in my diary and now I come home to no-one and nothing but have no energy or desire to go out and meet new people. I became a runner which gave me a mental peace I can’t even describe and now I can’t even wear my runners because their memories are too emotionally painful and I can’t get out of bed. I took part in lots of activities that Sydney had to offer with everything from open air cinemas to nude swims and I now find myself back in a town where the most exciting event is a Zumba class. Despite my liver illness and bouts of severe depression, I LOVED my life. Not in a superficial, materialistic manner but one that I breathed with every fibre of my being. I am not that person anymore and I am not home. I have lost every ounce of that woman and I am lost in every conceivable way. People say ‘at least you have the memories’ but the memories are killing me right now. I am grieving for the place, the people and the person I was and I don’t know how I’m supposed to get through that or pretend that I don’t feel crushed by the absolute weight of my heartbreak.
And I tell you all this for no other reason than I’m tired of lying. It’s exhausting but I have done it for the simple reason that I’m tired of hearing cliches. People offering me platitudes and ‘helpful suggestions’ to fix myself. People telling me they understand then saying ‘everyone goes through it, don’t be so ungrateful…’. Because the point is that many ‘sane’ people may go through what I am but I am not them and they are not me. After 29 years on this planet, I had finally found a place my heart called home.
I am not asking for sympathy but that doesn’t mean we, who suffer, don’t deserve it. We offer sympathy for each others’ flu but god forbid I’m entitled to any as my entire brain tells me to eat packets of pills and pretend that it’s not the most ridiculously fucking painful thing in the world.
I dread going to sleep each night and fight the tiredness so hard because the moment I turn the TV off, I am left with nothing but my thoughts. No distractions from torturing myself over my current feelings, past mistakes and future fears. It is incredibly hard not to believe your thoughts so late at night when you have no choice than to listen to them. But because of that and how I’m feeling, I’m exhausted. I sleep for over 9 hours at a time and I’m still tired. I spent an hour in the supermarket helping to buy Christmas food and I was so tired I felt I had been for a run. It is not laziness, I genuinely feel exhausted walking anywhere. Even a flight of stairs feels like an impossible mountain to climb. I can’t even bring myself to tidy up a chair or pack up some parcels to post. But every time I try and explain it, I’m told to do it anyway, as though I’m just a lazy person who ‘can’t be bothered’. As though their words (another way of saying ‘cheer up’) will magically make me able to find an everlasting source of desire or energy that I just don’t have right now.
So I write this huge confessional to simply ‘tell it like it is’. I can’t, and never have, offered hope that it ‘gets better’ (even though I proved it does) because truthfully, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes we die. But I’m trying my best to stay alive even though I don’t want to.
Everyone from friends and family and even you guys credit me with such strength which is heart-warming but I’m really not as strong as I appear. I cry, I have panic attacks, I try and kill myself. I am not inspirational. I am a woman who, on an almost daily basis, tells herself to keep going but I do give up. I HAVE given up. If I was a real fighter, I would have taken one of those jobs instead of spending my days in bed but I’m human and right now my human heart is dealing with more pain than I know what to do with.
So, for the first time in almost 7 years, I am back on medication and have been referred to therapy despite not believing they will do much for me. And sadly that comes with its own issues because not only do I have to deal with the side effects but the judgement of them too. I recently told someone that I was on them & listed some side effects and they asked me why I was taking them. And that, right there, is the issue. Because when you ask someone why they have to take anti-depressants, what you are subconsciously suggesting to that person is that they’re not ill. That is IS all in our minds and not real at all. And though that may not be your intention, that’s how it feels. I didn’t have to justify a thing when I needed steroids for my liver and had to deal with all the side effects but now that I’m on the anti-depressants I’m questioned why I’m even taking them.
I haven’t told anyone how I’m feeling because I have no energy to and almost anything someone will say will inevitably hurt me further since I’m currently so sensitive. I’ve been struggling for almost 2 months alone because I simply don’t know how to explain how bad my head is. I can barely talk and slur my words when I do, I can’t write, struggle to eat and drink can’t concentrate enough to read and recently took 6 days just to work up the will required to take a shower.
My friend recently tagged me in a Facebook post and said that she was glad that I had ‘moved back home’ and I wanted to scream and shout that I didn’t move back home; I came back because my visa ran out and this isn’t home for me. When my friend asks if I’m feeling better, I realise that they truly don’t understand how bad it is. And so, to avoid becoming hated, I stay quiet about everything because I can’t cope with the fact that even their well-meaning words hurt me deeply.
It’s times like these where I hate who I am. That I’m highly sensitive. An introvert. A thinker because my own head hurts me so intensely. I feel so depressed but then guilty because even though I know it’s not true, I still feel lazy. And useless. Ungrateful. The problem is that when you feel this awful, your brain hits the ‘self destruct’ button and you stop caring about everything especially yourself. So though I have medication and I’ve been referred to therapy, I still have to take part and that’s a struggle in itself right now but I’m trying.
Writing this has been one of the hardest things I’ve done and I know that I will hurt the people I love by doing so, both because I didn’t tell them on a personal level, despite them asking, but also because there’s nothing they can say or do to really help me.
So I’ve lied and stayed quiet knowing that I have to continue living despite feeling as though my world has come to an end.
I have lost the will to live and right now I have no idea how to find it again.
If the question is “if a tree falls over in the forest and no one is around to hear it does it still make a sound?”
My answer is:
I fell over.
And nobody heard.