Depression is a sadness that sucks all the life and light out of your existence. A sadness that can even make you question that very existence. At times like that all you can do is hang on. Cling to what you can and do whatever it takes to get through your day.
A dark day that might turn into a dark night and may just be followed by more of the same. When you are in the midst of it, it seems like it’s impossible to get out of. In fact you can’t think a world even exists without it.
I’m writing this post to you because I realised something about my blog today. I realised I started this blog when I was in a good frame of mind. I realised that mostly I’ve written about the things that have helped me. The outlook I now have. The hope I see in the future.
Oh I’ve written about the odd hiccup that has come along. The days I’ve just fumbled through. The days that have been harder than others. There’s a little bit here and there alluding to how I felt before all this.
I think it’s time to give you a bit of clarity on that. I think that in order for anyone who is in a difficult position. Is feeling depressed, lost, or confused. Is in the midst of their own black, seemingly endless, cloud. That can’t see the forest of hope because of those damned depressing trees, then you need to know this.
First off. If you are depressed or grieving get help. I didn’t. But that’s only because I’ve always had a bad habit of not doing so. It’s better if you do. This is only how I dealt with mine.
Secondly. I know when you’re in the middle of it you feel helpless. Someone telling you it’ll be ok doesn’t help at that time. Hearing everything will be ok will probably annoy you (It will be though 🙂 . If you haven’t already read my post: Everything Will Be Ok…Or Will It? https://potheadtoprovidence.com/2019/02/20/everything-will-be-ok-or-will-it/ )
Here’s the reality. Well, here’s what my reality was. The reality before things got better. Before I started working on my mind and body. Before I got myself to the position I’m in now.
A position of hope, belief, and wonder, for what lies ahead. A position were very little depressive thoughts even enter my mind.
That reality was…I cried. I cried a lot. Matter of fact for months all I did was cry. Cry and listen to music. Mostly sad songs by the way.
Thing is, I’m a grown man in his 40s. The society I grew up in puts a stigma on that. It shouldn’t. But it mostly does. Oh it’s alright if it’s at a big sporting event. A favourite team has just won an important game. A famous player has died. But crying out of weakness. Because of emotions. We can’t be having that. Sometimes our hypocrisy stinks.
From the moment my ‘wife’ walked out the door. Leaving her son and I behind. I cried. I cried and carried an emotional hurt that was so bad I felt it. It was a physical pressure on my chest. A tightness that wouldn’t seem to leave. I felt confused…actually, I can’t really explain how I felt.
Let’s just say it sucked. It sucked a lot. It sucked more than the suckiest thing that has ever sucking sucked.
I did my best to make sure my son didn’t hear or see me when I was like that. I always tried to put on a facade for him although I knew he felt it too.
I cried when I was making dinner, when having a shower, when cleaning the house, when driving to work. Frankly I cried every time my son couldn’t see me. There was nothing else I could do. I was consumed by feelings of worthlessness. I felt hollow and empty. A failure of the highest degree.
I worried about how my son felt too. My ‘wife’ had only left me after 13 years together. She had left him after his entire life. It was all his world had known and now it was broken. Shattered into a million depressing pieces.
At that time I was struggling to pick up my pieces nevermind his. Hell, I couldn’t even see where they were.
Oh did I say that I was also smoking serious amounts of marijuana at the time also. I always used to smoke on a regular basis. But this was something else. Snoop Dog wouldn’t have had a look in. If I’d lived in Amsterdam or any of the legalized states in America there would have been none left for anyone else.
From a long time ago I’ve always found solace in music. Whether happy or sad. I’m the type of person to play a song on repeat for a ridiculous amount of time. Whatever catches my mood. The song that just seems right for the time. I will listen to that. Over and over and over again.
During those first couple of months all I could do was smoke and listen to music. There was a period of weeks where the only songs I listened to were the Imagine Dragon’s Nothing Left To Say and Alexiane’s A Million On My Soul. I listened and cried, I listened whilst crying, then I listened and cried some more. At that time those songs spoke to me like no others.
I felt lost, alone, hopeless. The house my son and I lived in, the house that we once called home, contained us in our misery. When I wasn’t off crying we sat together on the sofa. Hours, days, weeks, we spent there sitting close watching tv. Then we went to bed (He had moved into my room the night my ‘wife’ left) and he snuggled tight against me.
I would wait until he fell asleep and would get back up again to smoke and cry some more. Listening to songs that reminded me of her. Songs that spoke of love when I had none.
And the mornings. The mornings when all I wanted to do was pull the duvet back over me and ignore the world. The mornings that made me feel my own sad reality over and over again after a forgetful sleep. The mornings where I would wake to see my son’s face and not my ‘wife’s’ and be reminded of the loneliness that the day would bring for both of us. The mornings that set the tone for the rest of the day. They were the hardest.
I knew I couldn’t live like that. I knew my son deserved better. I deserved better for myself also but I couldn’t see that at the time.
I can’t pinpoint when things changed exactly. There wasn’t an ‘aha’ moment. I didn’t wake up one day feeling bright and happy. Happiness is still a work in progress. Thankfully it’s winning out more often than not.
The important thing is things did change. I made them change. I made them change by focusing on my mind. Being conscious of my thoughts. By changing my mindset. By accepting the negatives and trying to replace them with positives. By starting to exercise. I believe movement is a great help considering that when you are depressed it’s usually a struggle to do anything. You just want to lie about and dwell in your misery.
Get your body moving and your mind will follow.
Of course at the beginning it was only little by little. The crying eventually getting less and less as I learned to focus on what I had to do rather than what I had lost. Focus on making things better for my son which also meant making things better for myself.
Look, the reason why I’m telling you this. The reason I’m baring my soul to you is just to show that no matter how low you feel, no matter how helpless your situation, no matter how dark your days are. There’s always hope. You can’t see through that darkness when you are in it. But just because you can’t see a way out, a way to a better life, doesn’t mean it’s not there.
Sometimes all you can do is cry. Be consumed by that hellish hole of non-existence. If that’s all you can do. Do it. That crying will help the time pass. It will sooth the part of you that’s hurting. It keeps you alive.
As for me and my son now. He’s getting better. His mother and he are rebuilding their relationship. They are waiting to see a counsellor. He seems to be getting a bit happier as time goes on.
And me? I’m not the man I used to be. I’ve never felt as strong, as optimistic, as positive as this ever. And there’s not a drug in sight.
I don’t even recognise the person I was before all this happened. The person I was for decades. For the first time in my life I feel like I’m living. Truly living. If something important scares me. I face it. I’m seeking life’s challenges. Asking it to give me all its got. Gee’s I’ve even got goals and aspirations.
Those dark days have passed away into relative obscurity. They have passed and the light has come shining through. I’m almost blinded by its brilliance. I feel it in me, around me, lighting up my path.
So when it’s dark and you can’t see just do what you can to get through those days. If all you can do is lie in bed. Do that. Just don’t do it forever.
If those dark thoughts are all there is. If they consume your mind. Just remember that your time will come. It won’t always be that way. There will be a moment you say to yourself that this can’t go on. That things have to change.
When that time comes have courage, have faith, have whatever it takes to make you move. Move and keep moving. The miracle won’t happen overnight but that movement will take you forward into a life you have yet to imagine. There is always a way forward. It might be clouded, hidden, concealed. But it’s there waiting to be found.
You can be the person you need to be to find the path to your happiness or at least lift you out of the abyss. It will take time. It will take effort. It will take you to make a decision for yourself. A decision I once heard in a movie that has always resonated with me. The decision to ‘get busy living or get busy dying’.