Thursday, April 30, 2009

On that old, Black Cloak again.

I'm still suffering from depression. I say 'still', as it's not something that goes away and then you catch it again like flu, but it's always there, lurking in the back of my mind.
This depression is not just having a bad day, it's an illness for which I have to take regular medication to keep me on an even-keel. Most people who say they're feeling 'depressed', do not understand what clinical depression is like.
I do have good days. Sometimes I even have really good days, but even on those days there will always be a little dark cloud that blots out the sunshine for a while and leaves me cold.
On the good days no one would think that I'm a certified 'loony-tune'. I can function just fine, go shopping, talk to people, tell jokes and be as sociable as Santa Claus on lithium, but on the bad days I can't even bear to leave my bedroom, let alone the house.
I'm very fortunate that I have a couple of good friends who understand how depression affects me, and they make sure I get fed and watered when I'm burrowing into my duvet and wishing the world would go away, but even they don't understand how it feels when the big, black cloak falls down on me.
I've described it before; Sometimes I can shrug it off, but at others it's just too heavy and drags me further and further down until I can't even struggle to move, let alone get it off me.
If that happens when I'm out and about, it causes what is delightfully known as a 'Panic Attack'.
'Panic' is a word generally used to describe how a person acts when they can't find their keys or are running late for something important. It does not normally describe how it feels to not be able to breathe properly whilst trying desperately to stop crying as everyone around you is either staring at you or walking away as you are clearly mad, and all you want to do is hide in a dark corner until the all encompassing terror stops one way or another.
Trust me, I'd rather spend an hour looking for my keys any day.
One of my good friends knows how depression feels as she also suffers from it. If we arrange to meet up and then have to cancel as we're simply not up to facing the world, we either talk over the phone or leave each other in peace until we're up it again.
But other people I've known in the past and counted as friends have not been so understanding.
I was told by one person that 'Although they liked being around the happy Misty, they really didn't like it when I was seriously depressed and that although they'd be more than happy to talk to me when I was 'over myself', they didn't want to know me when I was really ill'.
Lovely, eh?
Since then I've learnt to stay well clear of anyone who tells me incredibly 'helpful' things such as to 'Get over it, it's all in your head', or to 'Stop wallowing in self-pity'. I doubt they'd be as insensitive as to tell a paraplegic to 'Get up and walk' as it's just 'Feeling sorry for themselves'.
Thinking about it they probably would.
So if you know someone who is ill with clinical depression, go give them a hug right now.
If you're suffering from it and don't have someone to give you a hug, go talk to an understanding animal about it and give them a cuddle instead.