Hi. Welcome to my blog, Melancholia and then. I’m a little bit nervous, as this is my first post on my first blog. I hope it goes ok. I am Gemma, and I am creating this in the hope that it may be of use to anyone else out there, in that big wide world of ours. Which can also sometimes feel incredibly small, in both good and not so good ways, depending on the day, the angle of the light, or whatever. I digress.
Having grown up with depression and anxiety, I spent many years of my life without much hope. I tried, again and again, to get help, to ‘fix’ myself, or just block the pain out as best I could. I tried a variety of novel ways to do this over the years. Some things appeared to work for a while, until they didn’t, for whatever reason…like, often, it was never going to work in the first place. But if I didn’t know that already, how else was I going to find out? Or every once in a while I might actually hit upon something useful, which would help for a bit. And then, as always, life would at some point get harder and harder again, eventually start to disintegrate…and then collapse, usually with great embarrassment or shame, into some horrendous black hole that was apparently still ‘life’…although not as anyone would want it, Jim*.
I will certainly spill my guts, so to speak. But not all at once. I’m a bit shy, and anyway, it’s good to have a little mystery, otherwise you’d probably get bored. I can’t see any point in making another set of dry ‘fact sheets’ about depression, anxiety and mental health. Also I’m not a scientist/ researcher/psychologist/doctor etc. I do live with it, and that’s what I have to share. I spent many years wishing that I could contribute something, and feeling too broken to. I have been incredibly lucky, or blessed, or whatever, to have a lot of support this year. If sharing my experience and what I have learnt makes someone else’s path a little easier, then it is more than worth it.
I really hit rock bottom, about a year ago. I thought I had before, and I had, but this was further down. Way. And the rocks were way harder, and all jaggered, and it hurt like hell. I smashed so hard, that when I reached the unimaginable bottom of my black hole, basically my entire sense of self and ego was shattered. Shattered into what felt like millions of pieces of mirror, as all my old beliefs and ideas about myself fell away. A bit later, it felt more like millions of stars, once I started to see that, as painful as it was, I was actually seeing myself clearly (in some ways) for the first time in my life. I couldn’t keep pretending to myself anymore. I had spent most of my life pretending to myself, although I didn’t know that. I had been too afraid to see myself, with all the ugly bits I didn’t like, and the bits that didn’t fit my story for myself, which I had created in order to find myself acceptable.
After this intense experience, I was finally in a place in myself where I was willing to change and let go of pretty much everything. I mean, I tried to hold on, pretty desperately, to the old crappy things that never worked, I really gave it a good bash (as if I hadn’t before), but it was now so obvious how lame they were, I was ready to go through the pain of letting go of what I knew. It had become pretty clear that the other option, to keep on going, was going to end me up dead, however long, whatever way. It wasn’t going to be pretty, and it wasn’t looking like much fun either. No thanks my friend.
So, here we go. Melancholia and then? …Hope, hopefully. A journey in life, depression and recovery. Here’s to it.
*to all the other gen y-ers out there, I’m making a little quip/ reference to some old t.v show, I think. No idea what (could it be Thunderbirds…?) …maybe a kind gen x-er could post it? I’m never quite sure if other people know when I’m being funny, or even if it is funny (well, it is to me)…
p.s. I have been sitting on this post for a week, absolutely terrified to post it. So I am just going to do it, otherwise I never will. I give permission to myself for it to be terrible, and that’s ok.