What Even Is Depression?

(Content Warning: Mental Health stuff including mentioning suicidal ideation)

I have been Depressed pretty much as long as I can remember, I have a name for it even, The Swamp. Maybe the stuff pre seven years old wasn’t Depression per se but some of those thoughts are at the very least concerning with hindsight. This year I’ve been discovering that I Disassociate way more than I thought I did so I named that too, if I name it then I can feel the shape of it properly. So it’s The Sky, I already knew the feel of it I just didn’t know really what it was.

When I got ill, well what I mean is when the Glandular Fever/Epstein Barr became Chronic Fatigue I started having to work out when I was actually tired and when I was stuck in the Swamp. It’s harder than you might think, the thing that I learnt to tell is if my upper arms feel weak then it’s Fatigue. When I’m able to I like to get them strong because then it becomes even more obvious that it’s fatigue and not my psychological mud trying to keep me in place. I strongly suspect the upper arms thing might be only in my head but it works.

There’s a relationship between the physical and the mental, the symptoms of Depression and the inability that chronic fatigue leaves me with are remarkably similar. I am far more familiar with my bed and my sofa than the girl who used to declare she could sleep when she was dead would ever have thought she would be.

The thing is, for as long as I remember my Swamp has been bound up with my Suicidal Ideation. This year I’ve been seriously tempted once, and it’s May. Almost June. There’s a couple of things going on there, I really am getting a lot out of deliberately considering my mortality five times a day. Then there’s the therapy, honestly actually feeling shit is great but that’s almost counterproductive to the urge to get it over with because a lot of both the Depression causing the urge to kill myself and the Disassociation I’ve been using to manage it have been causing me to numb myself pretty extensively however that was my last round of therapy. This one is trauma focussed so it’s all about where the feelings come from and recognising them and actually trying to deal with them. A lot of the exercises are about trying to manage remembering the bad stuff by grounding yourself in the here and now. In my case I need to think about the bad stuff because otherwise my brain is off dancing in nonexistent fairylands and I need to come back and force myself to face the reality of any given situation.

I used to say my being prone to fantasism was fine because I was all about doing things in reality too but the less I’ve been physically capable in reality the more that fantasism has looked like escapism and the less and less I’ve been tending to my real life, you know the world in which I actually live. But then there’s the problem, because I’ve used my Disassociative tendencies in the past to deal with my Depression now I’m trying to deal with the former cure the Depression is creeping in or maybe The Sky itself is trying to use my Swamp – after all it’s so much easier to achieve all you want in fantasy land if you believe you’re utterly incapable in the real world and I have to admit chronic fatigue totally lends itself to that. When you can’t do the things you could yesterday or when you’re too tired to do the things your pensioner mother or toddler niblings can do it’s very very easy to believe you’re just a bit rubbish. And oh both The Sky and Swamp are fighting hella back over my trying to get rid of them.

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