Sometime it is not easy to figure out why one is depressed.
I love the sun and the sea. I don’t mind the heavy clouds that forecast storms or the thunder and lightning flashing across the darkening, afternoon skies. Remembering the days of my childhood when we foolishly dived into the waters of the Adriatic Sea as the wind blew mammoth waves onto the shore and bright lightning struck somewhere nearby, I wonder how I managed to survive my younger years.
From an outsider’s point of view everything seems stable and life appears to smoothly glide along its predestined path but deep down there is uncertainty, anxiety, a fear of the unknown and a dread of what tomorrow will bring; the effect it will have –that is depression. There are as many ways of handling and overcoming depression as there are people affected by this silent killer. Like alcoholism, the first step towards rehabilitation is the acknowledgement of the problem. I found that to be the hardest part. I perceived it as a weakness never to be admitted. A taboo.
For a long, long time I denied ever being depressed. When I was suddenly struck down with a particularly ferocious bout of this debilitating illness I realized that talking about it was impossible. It was like admitting that suddenly I was sub-human. I could not bear to have another person near me, not even family. I had lost my mother recently, not to death but to dementia, which in my opinion was even worse than death. Death followed shortly after, but I didn’t think that it affected me to the same degree.
So how did I come out of this lengthy depressed state? It took time, a long, long time! Medication I generally forgot to take! People - I didn’t want around me. Food, I didn’t want to be bothered with. The vicarious company of the television annoyed me no end and the news were even more depressing. Time alone, a long, long time alone was the only state I craved.
It was the calm. The quietness after a particularly bad storm that caused a lot of damage to the surrounding areas by flood and wind that finally shook me out of my lethargy. The following morning, I woke to a brilliant sun and the tangy smell of salt and seaweed windblown from the sea nearby. A subtle tickle to my nose made me realise that I was still alive and that my brain was still functioning, more or less! But my body didn’t want to move. Not yet!
I was weak, perplexed and yes, to some degree frightened. How was I going to face the world again?
Do you remember that first hesitant step after an illness, an accident or even a baby’s first few steps? It’s a beginning, the start of a new, if bewildering phase in one’s life. For me it was like learning to walk again, to think again, to reach out to people and overcoming the fear of rejection.
And it was the beginning of a totally new life!