I am currently going through one of my worst depressions I have had in a few years. I have, against all advice, isolated myself from practically everyone I know. I go to work, I wear my happy-face mask and I go home to bed.
Depression is, as far as I am concerned, a very selfish disease. It becomes all about you. Your pain, your apathy, you, you, you. In my case – me me me.
I have tried to reach out, to talk about what I am going through but the people around me seem to either not get it, or make me feel even worse than I did before I opened my mouth.
I know that emotions lie. I am living a huge lie at the moment. The lie that says I can’t cope, and yet I get up every day and go to work. The lie that says I am worthless, and yet I have friends that I can regularly keep in touch with. The lie that I am all alone, and yet I get texts now and then from friends.
Rationally, I know and recognise the lie… my heart hears it though, and it believes it. And so I fight, minute for minute – to exist – to not give up – to make it through the day.
I don’t know if I am going to make it out this one. But I have decided to not think too far ahead. I will live minute by minute until maybe, one day I will wake up and realise that this dark cloud has left.
Maybe one day I will feel something other than pain again…
My last post was about acceptance and how it brings peace. Maybe I was speaking more to myself than to anyone else. You see, there is something I need to accept. In fact, there are a few things I need to accept.
Living in a small town, without any living family, I get lonely but age 38, I have started to realise that there is quite a big and distinct possibility that I will spend the rest of my life alone.
I find this thought daunting to say the least. My biggest desire since I can remember, was/is to have a family of my own. You know? Husband and kids, throw in a labrador and a picket fence and there we go.
Somewhere inside me lives a little bitch called hope that rears her head constantly while I struggle to accept the facts. The facts are as follows – the town I live in does not have good decent men my age. Most guys are much younger or married or gay.
I have visited churches and they all cater for the following types: young families and young working people and students. No catering for singles of my age! It is like we just don’t exist… or even sadder – that there are none, with the exception of myself.
Most of my friends are married. I went through the stage in my late 20s and early 30s where everybody my age got married. Always the bridesmaid, never the bride, as they say.
Now I am at the stage where all my younger friends are getting married. I have been invited (in one week) to 4 weddings. that’s right. 4 weddings. Weddings of people much younger than me.
Sometimes I try to sit and figure out what I am doing wrong. I tried online dating and was stalked so that is not an option for me. I tried joining a photography club – everyone was in their 50s and married and though I enjoyed it, I had to give it up when my camera was stolen.
Sometimes the thought crosses my mind that maybe God is punishing me for the bad choices I made in the past, or that God is protecting people from me. Because who would want someone overweight that suffers with depression?
Even the therapist I see now and then has told me that the chances of meeting someone in this town are slim. Coming from an expert, that says a lot.
My prayer at the moment is that I would be able to accept being alone, that I wouldn’t be so lonely that I cry myself to sleep each night, that I wouldn’t have to go to sleep at 6pm so I won’t be depressed about being so so alone.
I don’t know if God is listening. I sometimes wonder if I have wasted over 10 years of my life serving someone who either doesn’t care, or doesn’t exist… but that is a post for another day.
Some days, like today, I am overwhelmed by sadness and defeat. Other days it is bearable. In the Bible it speaks of Paul having a thorn in his flesh. Maybe this is mine. Maybe I need to wrestle like Jacob until I can accept it.
As TD Jakes once said – never trust a man without a limp!
I like structure in my life. I need to know where I stand and I hate surprises. Unfortunately life doesn’t work like that. My friend didn’t expect her car to break down last week. I am sure nobody welcomes cancer. But life happens.
I recently wrote a piece about a little boy I knew with cancer. At that stage, they gave him a few days to live.
I hate that feeling of powerlessness. The feeling that there is absolutely nothing you can do to change anything. I always want to fix things.
I have the knack of questioning everything. I want answers and explanations. I want to understand. But understanding can’t change what has already happened.
I once read a true story of a woman who was involved in a car accident. She always wanted to be in control of everything. As she was driving she turned her head to see a truck hurdling towards the side of her car.
She knew she was going to die so she just relaxed and closed her eyes. Relaxing was what saved her life. She climbed out of the wreckage without a scratch. That was when she realised that she couldn’t control everything. The accident changed her life. She learned to let go.
I don’t accept negative change very well. Spiritually, I was taught that we have authority over evil and we have to exercise that authority. But sometimes it doesn’t work. All of my prayers and fasting have not saved that little boy, just as it didn’t save my mom. I am slowly learning to let go.
Sometimes there is nothing we can do to change a situation. I didn’t ask to be attacked and sometimes I still wonder where God was. No super-spiritual answer anyone gives me seems to suffice. It is something I wrestle with but maybe it’s time I let it go.
There are times when it is good to fight and not give in. Jacob wrestled with God even though he had a dislocated hip and God eventually blessed him because of it. His life and even his name was changed. I once heard someone say “never trust a man without a limp” and I tend to agree but…
Sometimes fear holds us back. It could be fear of the unknown or fear of losing something precious. I know that fear too well.
The last stage of the cycle of grief is acceptance. Without acceptance, we can’t move on. Sometimes acceptance brings us the peace we are fighting for. Sometimes it is the giving over that saves us and sets us free.
I wish I had an “A-B-C” plan to follow but I guess that would be too easy. I want to make a list of the things I can’t let go of, the lost battles I am fighting. I don’t know when I will get to it and I don’t know if I am ready for it or if I ever will. Maybe one day…
I have been sitting here all morning, wondering if I should write about it or not.
I am in a period of transition and change in my life, which I am sad to say I am not very good at coping with.
I took study leave on Friday so that I could finish an assignment for my part time studies, but by 12:00 I was so depressed that I packed up my laptop and climbed into bed with the covers over my head, telling myself that tomorrow would be better. I texted two friends to ask them to please pray for me as I wasn’t doing well and they said they would. Good enough.
Saturday dawned and the first 30 minutes I was fine until the grey turning to black cloud descended once more and I climbed back into bed. One of my friends convinced me to go out with her for lunch to get out of the house, which I did. What she didn’t mention is that her sister would be there and that they would lecture me for an hour about what I should be doing different with my depression. After that, I went home, climbed into bed, listened to music and kept telling myself to just ride it out, that it would go over, that tomorrow would be better and then I would be able to do my assignment….
By 16:00 I lost the battle. It was as though something in my head clicked off kilter. As if a setting went wrong. So I started googling the most painless ways of killing yourself. Turns out there aren’t many… When I sat with a long scarf in my hands, I realised I needed to talk to someone. Just talk. That always makes me feel better.
I didn’t want to bother my therapist as I know he is busy, so I did the next best thing. I called the crisis line that is run by my work. I spoke to a nice girl, didn’t give my name, just gave my telephone number and we spoke and hung up. Then she phoned me back and before I knew it, she tells me that the paramedics and the police are outside my gate and I must let them in. They had taken my cell number and contacted somebody at security to get my details… I only figured this out when the policeman called me by my name.
So I went out in the dark, in my pajamas to talk to them at the gate, while all the neighbours came out of their houses to gawk while I pretended to be okay so that I wouldn’t be dragged off to some mental hospital in front of the whole neighbourhood.
I was so humiliated. Especially since one of my neighbours is a policeman and seems to have found out the whole story. And it looks as though it has spread.
My secret shame was revealed and now everyone in the street knows how fucked-up I really am.
To say I am angry, is an understatement. I am livid. My trust was betrayed and I was handled like a piece of meat. I was just a number to them. And they never thought to phone me back the next day to find out if I was really okay.
The fact that they thought it was okay to pull my personal files angers me. It is illegal according to South African law.
So I am not sure how to handle this. I am in any case, in the process of moving, so I am trying to speed it up and move out of my place on Saturday already so I can avoid the stares and the glances.
I know one thing. I will never trust anyone again when I am in my dark place. I know now that I am better off alone, wrestling my demons and I would rather go and stand in front of a train than ever trust those “counselors” again.
I have learnt a valuable lesson – right now, I am alone and the only person I can count on is myself.
It gnaws at my mind
As you have preyed on my body
Taunting my sanity
Reality is cold and unfeeling
As pain and denial set in my veins
Like congealed fat
Thought too bloody
Feelings too raw
i lick at my bruises
At the open wounds
Souvenirs of you on my breasts
i am dead
i am nothing
A hollowed out casing
But i have survived the nuclear fallout
Of your savagery
i get up
drive to the doctor
only to be violated
by her clinical eyes
her cold inspection
naked under flashing bulbs of exposure
recalling repeating the
until i scream
until i wail inside
or better yet
why can’t i cover up and
dress in sack and ashes
Why can’t i sit
In a corner
And rock and rock and rock
until i heal
until my soul
this vacant hole
is whole again
Today is not inspirational or deep. It is a rant. You’ve been warned.
So I’ve spent about a week fighting a virus that has kept me in bed and today is my first day back at work. I think I should have rather stayed in bed, to be honest.
Yesterday, I was hit by an incredibly bad depression, a bleakness that just descended out of nowhere and I eventually took a few sleeping pills and crawled into bed and tried to think happy thoughts.
In the midst of this blackness, I didn’t think I was going to make it to see today. It was one of my worst. And then I realised – it came out of rejection. A friend had stood me up and not visited as planned or even let me know they couldn’t make it.
Rejection and the fear thereof, is something I have always struggled with. I don’t know if it gets better – does it? It debilitates me sometimes and makes me oversensitive. But I keep all my emotions hidden from people, in case they judge me, in case… In case I get rejected again. Because unfortunately, that’s what the majority of people, esp religious ppl, do.
I sometimes end up feeling worthless and alone and sometimes hope just fades away. I end up wrestling with God about why my life sucks, why I don’t have family, why I am stuck in this pit that I can’t get out of, and of course why He even decided to make me in the first place if he knew life was going to be so hard.
Sometimes I want to throw something at him and scream and shout. Sometimes it feels like I am stuck in a bad marriage. But I don’t throw things, or scream or shout. I keep quiet, I keep it all inside.
All I do then, is ask that I won’t wake up the next day. That he would let me die in my sleep.
Please note that not all of my days are like this. some are actually good, some days I feel like I am okay… but some days…
I don’t know how I am going to sort this crap out with God. I don’t know how to get out of this constant struggle I seem to be in. All I want to do is sleep. Today I want to sleep and not wake up.
I have not shared any of this with my friends. They don’t even know that I have a new blog. I don’t want lectures, or judgement. I just want to get it out on paper so it can’t suck my soul dry anymore.
I just want to sleep… forever
helplessly I watched
as you were
away from me
I witnessed the steady exodus of your reason
having to gently remind you over and over of
where you were
who I was
even who you were
and at the end I raged as
the remnants of your dignity were stripped away
to reveal the fragility beneath
I watched you leave bit by bit
as I bathed you
and fed you
and changed your soiled nappies
and on that final day I sat by your bedside and read you stories and talked about
memories you had
and I watched all recognition fade
I listened to your breathing slow and still
and only then
I could let go
My life is divided into two parts. Pre-2008 and post-2008. My life changed forever in that year when I was date-raped.
I waited three days before seeing a doctor and the examination was just as much of a violation as the attack. There was no way that I would have emotionally survived an investigation so I chose to not press charges.
I spent three months in and out of bed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. I couldn’t go anywhere alone. I couldn’t sleep. I had panic attacks. I couldn’t cope at work and my colleagues crucified me.
My mother’s death in 2010 was the catalyst that sent me completely over the edge. I sought help and finally received the correct medication. For the first time since the attack, I was me again.
If you are going through something similar, try to remember the following:
- Get to a doctor or a hospital as soon as possible to receive the necessary preventative medication. The last thing you want, is to contract HIV or become pregnant.
- Chose your confidantes carefully. I chose to speak out because I chose to not be a victim. But I soon learnt that many people cannot deal with such things. Many of them didn’t believe me and there was a lot of gossip.
Being a christian I assumed that church-going Christians would support me but it didn’t turn out that way. There were the exceptions however, to whom I am forever grateful. People you least expect might step up to the plate and lend you the support you need.
- Seek professional help. You may need to see a psychologist or counselor or even a psychiatrist. Don’t shun anti-depressants completely. They saved my life.
- Be kind to yourself. Cry and rage as much as you need to. Don’t keep it bottled up.
- Start rebuilding your life. It really does get better in time. By giving up, you let your attacker win.
- Try to remember it is not your fault. It was never about your clothes or how far you let it go before you said no. It was their choice not yours. It was never about you in the first place.
- Embrace your spirituality. Don’t turn your back on God. You are going to need him more than ever.
- Don’t set a time limit on your healing. It’s a very personal journey and each person is unique.
- Lastly, the most important lesson I learnt was to just breathe. When you feel like you can’t make it another minute, just breathe.
I still avoid the topic of rape and I cringe inside whenever I hear that word. When I speak about my experience, I talk about “the attack”. I never call it what it really is. I can’t bring myself to even say the word.
I still carry the scars but the burden is getting lighter. I am through the worst. I have faced it down and I have won. You can too.
There is life on the other side. I promise.
I had a great weekend – went away with two great friends. We did a lot, went everywhere and laughed until we cried… And yet..
There were times that I felt like I was outside looking in. It started with one of them making it plain that they don’t agree with my choice to have a platonic friendship with an older married man whom I have only met once in real life. (Incidentally, he has turned out to be my bestie in the past two years or so that I have known him, albeit via email and text.)
I didn’t quite know how to handle the situation with this critical friend and so I kept quiet and have been bottling it up ever since.
Have you ever had a connection with someone that you can’t explain? That’s how it is with my bestie. We are very much alike and think the same way. I feel like it’s the first time in my life that someone gets me. I mean REALLY gets my soul. I don’t have to pretend to have it altogether. He was there for me when I had a breakdown. When nobody visited me when I got out of hospital, he emailed me each day to encourage me. He is the one who understands my depression and knows the depths I sink to, not her. To her, I am the clown. Always happy and laughing and joking around. She doesn’t know about all the times I think of ending it all, all the times I am so desperately alone in that big house of memories that I cry myself to sleep. She doesn’t know of the fear I have of men in general and the fear that wells up every day when I have to go home to an empty house, esp since someone is targeting my house for break-ins. The police have actually told me to move out, but I can’t afford it yet. She doesn’t see the hurt and sore I carry around with me every day, the pain that is always there. The sadness that seems to saturate my soul. I tried to share my feelings with her once and she got bossy and said I am not allowed to feel like I do. I know she was trying to help, but she doesn’t get it…
But my bestie does – he knows everything. From my religious beliefs (which he doesn’t share) to my fears to all the traumas I have been through. He doesn’t judge. He just loves me as a friend, unconditionally.
We talk about everything from religion to sex and periods to politics and literature. I am safe in this friendship in a way I have never experienced before and I have grown as a person and the way I see men in general is changing. God is using this man to point out to me exactly what I would like in a husband one day, should I ever be lucky enough to marry. To me, this friendship is nothing funny…
Because I have been friends with another married guy and his wife since 1998 and I am also better friends with him than with her. She gets it. She doesn’t feel threatened because she knows my heart and she knows her husband is a good man who adores his family.
I don’t actually know where I am going with this post. My friend’s exact words were “you are having a fling with a married man. Shame on you.” I was really stunned because it isn’t like that at all. I am hurt that that is what she thinks of me. (Later in the weekend she also mentioned that she thinks I could manipulate to get my own way, which is exactly the opposite of what I am.) I realised that I have been friends with someone who really doesn’t know me at all. I realised that my heart is not safe in that friendship. I am contemplating the idea of talking to her about how it made me feel, but I am wary of conflict.
I have decided to withdraw a bit and give the friendship some space for now. Maybe until I feel better… and then I might talk to her. I really don’t know.
What I do know is that I needed to put these words and these feelings onto paper, so to speak and to get them out of me and that is what I have done.
So thanks for reading this rant. The inspirational stuff seems to have dried up today.