With the best will in the world I wanted this blog to be about many things – things that interest me. But as I may have mentioned before, quite a big strand of my life right now is my battle with depression. Actually that’s an odd expression – battle – because right now it feels more like a walkover for the depression. Okay, perhaps not a walkover – that’s not being completely fair to me – but it definitely feels a little one-sided. And for anyone reading my blog, so far, depression related posts are tending to be dominant. Well, every blog needs a central theme I guess.
My reason for writing this post can be ascribed to an experience I had today – one which certainly isn’t unusual in character but which varies in terms of context. I wanted to log this because it exemplifies one of the facets of my depression and hopefully it’s not one that’s exclusive to my own brand.
I’m going to be deliberately vague about the trigger for what transpired in my head today – partly because I want to allow anyone reading this who also suffers from depression to find something to associate with (I want to find an alternative word for ‘depression’ btw because I’m getting frustrated by my own continual use of it – perhaps I may make up a new word for it each post). Partly I also want to remove any specifics in case anyone involved feels in any way guilty – they probably aren’t and they probably wouldn’t, but just in case.
So. The trigger was thus. Someone provided me with some feedback on something I did.
I’m not going to offer any more detail or analysis than that because to do so would detract from how I then processed that event. Which is what now follows.
Okay. So my first reaction to that feedback was that it was absolute criticism of me. I took it personally. Now when I say that, ‘took it personally’, I know very well that that is something everyone – everyone that is except the most conceited among the population – does. And if one did in fact take the feedback as criticism and took it personally, then one would dwell on it for a bit, play the scenario over in one’s head for a while, perhaps even get rather cross about it. But in most cases I think that would be enough time spent.
There are also those who have low self-esteem for whom this scenario plays out over a much longer period. I’m actually one of those people as it happens – it’s something I need to work on at some point (yep – something else). But here’s where the difference occurs between those who can identify with the reactions I’ve addressed above and those who have depression.
The criticism I’ve described above, and the natural thought progression that would follow, also described….well, in my head space, this is magnified to an extreme. More so than my normal low self-esteem would allow for. I left the conversation – and by the way my ‘mask’ means I would probably not have given away too much of my thought process at that point to the person I was speaking to – I left feeling like I’d been dealt a massive body-blow. But here’s the big difference. I then spiralled from dealing with those issues of low self-esteem to, to self-doubt, to then feeling incapable of being able to do anything, to then hating myself, to then feeling absolute sadness and despair. That all happened very quickly – in the time it took to walk out my front door, walk five minutes to my daughter’s school, pick her up and walk with her to the coffee shop. By the time we are sat having a hot chocolate together at the table all I want to do is hug my daughter so so hard. And cry.
But of course I don’t. I can’t.
Now perhaps that’s what’s called coping. I’m good at it for the most part. I bloody have to be. But something has to give. And it did for me earlier this evening – when I was, fortunately for me, able to talk to my wife after the children had gone to bed. And I let all that out in tears.