Thursday, November 15, 2012

Through a glass darkly...

An afterthought on my last post.... I'm sure people just think I am being flippant, but it has been on my mind a lot that I really don't enjoy reminiscing about my youth. My old college friends love to relive those days and often come up with annecdotes that involve me and laughing a lot so I guess I must have been having fun?

Errrrr, on the outside maybe, but from late childhood I have suffered from sometimes quite severe bouts of depression, something I have now learned to cope with and even avoid for the most part. I understand myself well enough now to be able to spot the signs and take evasive action (I very rarely have to resort to medication anymore) but it was not always that way and from my late teens to mid thirties, a lot of the happy laughter filled memories they want me to revisit with them in, are actually buried somewhere under the grey, sodden, chilled fog of either my condition or the medication I sometimes took to counteract it. Medication for severe depression often just results in a complete absence of any feeling rather than a lifting of the lows, so maybe all my memories are somehow "fire damaged", "shop soiled" or just otherwise altered out of all recognition. For me the past as a tourist destination is a hall of mirrors, friends wander happily though seeing us all reflected as we were, but my reflection is distorted by my very different emotional experience of the same events.

In case you are wondering why my friends remember me smiling and laughing and assume my memories must be as good as theirs, well, people with depression and many other mental 'anomalies' are often supremely good at hiding their despair from everyone around them. I know I was.


C said...

You write beautifully, Yve.
Depression is such a horrible thing and I don't think there can be a person alive who isn't touched by it at one time or another, if not directly then because of someone they know. As I think I've documented before, I witnessed it, quite seriously, with my mum, and only from that did I learn that it doesn't always have to be caused by specific events at the time. Life can be fine, but that won't stop depression rearing its ugly head when it chooses to. And the medication just numbs it, as you say.

I'm glad there's more openness about it these days - and perhaps better treatment. It must have been so hard for you when you were younger, and more pressure too.

Yve said...

The fact that it doesn't relate to external events is what makes relationships so hard for people with depression. It always impacts on everything, you feel guilty at not being able to pull yourself out of the nosedive and the people around you feel guilty because they can't help you and wonder if they are making things worse.

I'm still here though!