A Wounded Soul
A wounded soul…. well that’s what I am. Life seemed very easy for me growing up, I had everything I could wish for and more, a fantastic loving family, solid home and I needed for nothing. I had a great childhood with many friends and cycled into school on my bike every day without a care in the world. I had no worries only the normal stuff of growing up and being a teenager. I went to college got degree’s and proceeded on with life with a carefree attitude and a naivety that things would be the same for the rest of my life. Get a good job, find a husband and maybe have kids one day. Life was going to be good, the average ups and downs were inevitable but things would work out and I’d find my feet and place in this world. As it turned out I got none of the above with the exception of a good family.
Life was to turn in a total different direction for me and boy was I unprepared about how tough life could be. A whole new world was about to open up and it definitely was one that I hadn’t experienced or wanted. Depression was coming after me like a freight train and there was no escape.
The starting point for change was when I broke up from a ten year relationship with my boyfriend. He asked me to marry him and we were going to set up home together. I got my bags packed and I remember all the luggage at home in the hall. My Mother was laughing at all the stuff I had accumulated and how it was all going to fit in the car. My boyfriend was to collect me and we were moving to a different county to set up shop as it were. I waited excitedly for him that day but he never came. I tried calling him but got no reply. I sat for two days in disbelief that he wasn’t coming for me. He wouldn’t speak to me or explain what had happened, it was over and that was that. I remember falling to my knees in tears something I hadn’t experienced before to such a degree. I was broken hearted and so the story goes. One that we are all familiar with in some shape or form.
As I began recovering from my break up I had good times and bad and realised after five years that it wasn’t to be. I began to get down in myself a lot and uneasy with myself. It was the first time in my life to be single and on my own and a lot of self discovery began. I was becoming more and more anxious and didn’t know why. One day, I had to leave work in tears for no apparent reason and I literally ran out of the place in a state not able to talk. I was scared and didn’t know what was happening to me. Running away in tears became more frequent and I was trying to fight it and pull myself up and move on. I would for a day or two and then the sadness and uneasiness would arise again. This was only the beginning.
I thought my first depression was bad until I got to the third episode. In all I suffered a solid four years of absolute hell on earth. I had heard of depression and was aware of it as I used to comfort a close friend in her hours of pain. I thought I knew what I was talking about but I didn’t have a clue. Not a notion of what the reality of suffering with severe depression could be like. I heard someone once refer to Depression as Darkness of the brain, well I would go further to say that its darkness of the mind, body and soul. I know that there are differing levels of severity but I know mine was definitely up there at the top.
I couldn’t work, sleep or eat properly, basically I had gone from a functioning adult to a depended fearful child. I was in such fear that I would not leave the house at all. The anxiety that came with my depression made it even harder to deal with. I could not switch off at all. I was crying every day all day, I couldn’t get out of bed and I didn’t want too. I hated myself for being so weak that I could not fight this or just brush myself off and move on. I was totally incapable of having one nice thought or to find one thing good about me as a person. I hated what I became, I was ashamed frightened and totally worn out and exhausted as my mind and body felt like it was being taken over by total darkness. I remember the intensity of every minute of every day and it was unbearable. I hated living and hated myself for not being able to sort it out or get better. I refused medication for a long time as I had a lot of negative thoughts towards their use and hated medication as a rule. In the end my sister dragged me into the doctor and they initially helped me to slow down the racing thoughts that were using up so much of my energy. I also got sleeping tablets and a few other things that helped me to sleep. I could not sleep without drug assistance at all. This helped me get some rest but there were many battles to come.
I used to dread every day and hated when I woke up. I wanted to be back asleep, away from the depression a break from it. It was so relentless and intense that I truly believed that I was going mad. This was me mentally disturbed for the rest of my life. I truly 100 percent believed that I would not get well and that I had lost the person I was. I cried for the person I was, I cried for the person I wanted to be and I cried for absolute torture that was and is Depression. I begged and pleaded with God to take me. I couldn’t stand it anymore, I didn’t know how to get well, I was vulnerable and lived in constant and absolute real fear all the time. I had panic attacks, I cried in the shower so nobody could hear me. I was riddled with guilt about how I was affecting my family so negatively. I used to scream out in pain, I used to hide in my room with pain and fear. I didn’t want to see or talk to anyone, not my friends nobody. I didn’t want anyone seeing the state I was in. I had no idea what was happenig to me and I was never so scared in all my life. I was barely able to reach out but it got to the stage where something had to be done. I was not able to help myself and either were my family at that stage, which upset them and me even more. I had little trust in therapists and knew how in such a vulnerable state that the right therapist could be that making of me or the death of me.
I had thoughts of death and thought of ways to kill myself and how I would do it. A friend of mine at college had committed suicide years back and he used the exhaust in his car and I wondered how he did it. I thought of driving to a remote area that I know and what it would be like to drive off the cliffs, would I regret it in mid-flight as the car was falling into the sea. I always knew that deep down that I could never do this to my family but I wanted for myself, to escape the torture, for it all to be over, it was that unbearable. It scared me that I was even thinking that way. I eventually decided that something needed to be done and I decided to check myself into a hospital. I will never forget packing my bags and heading up on the Sligo train to Dublin, not for a day out or a shopping spree but to check into the Lunatic House. When I was brought up to my bed and all was taken from me I began to realise where I was. My Mum left quickly as the nurse went through rules with me and I got a fright. She was gone, I was here in a sterile ward feeling totally alone and scared. I’ll never know how difficult it was for my Mum to leave that day but I felt her pain as well as my own. I checked myself out of the hospital eight days after, it was hell for me and I felt that there was no way that I was going to get well here. That was my wake up call to work my ass off in Cognitive Therapy and be at home with family and friends around me. I couldn’t have done it without them and can never repay them for their patience, care, support and love that they showed me throughout.
The one woman that helped save my life was no doubt my Cognitive Therapist. After a year I began to trust her and she began to explain that all my symptoms were normal and that I was deeply depressed. It was tough work but I got there in the end and made a full recovery as she helped me to understand my illness and how it affected the physiology of the body as well as many other areas. Through the work I did with my Therapist I slowly came round little my little. I discovered things from my past that had wounded me beyond belief and seven years on I am still dealing with hurt from the past. Feelings were suppressed for all my life, buried away deep down. I am still learning still recovering and I am also challenged now with an added illness of Cancer. Luckily my cancer is treatable and I’m on the road to recovery.
Depression destroys lives and never under estimate how severe it can be. Only the people who have experienced this illness can truly understand and relate to how damaging it is and how intense the suffering is. However, if you know somebody that is suffering, be there as best you can, help them to reach out and let them know that they are not alone.