Saturday, 23 August 2014

Almost a year

I just realised that I am fast approaching a year being employed so I think a little ramble is in order, are you sitting comfortably?

Depression needs fuel and time to grow but it really needs an opportunity to take hold. Sadly depression creeps and gently takes your hand and this is the real danger of this illness, it is always there in a strange perverted way which offers support and answers which are equally distorted and reinforces your view of the world. It becomes a self-supported never ending loop, often you will hear the phrase 'sliding doors' or 'revolving doors'. Issues feel like rooms but as soon as you manage to close one door another opens and so it continues until this rapid triage feels like normality. With normality comes a strange stillness and in the hustle and bustle your mind becomes less yours. With your sleep and eating patterns so wildly off your minds chemistry has changed completely, it is exhausted but still no rest. This is the part people find so alarming and you often hear people way 'if only they had reached out'. In many cases it is too late and your mind has an answer that is it time to leave and is already introducing these thoughts. Slowly at first so not to alarm you too much but with increasing regularity to make sure it sticks.

There are no outward signs and life continues, you smile, laugh and complain about the weather. Inside, you feel nothing.

My fuel was supplied by myself, I am an over thinker and I wish at times I would not commit the little things to memory. I also had three people in my life who all shared similar traits beyond being heavy drinkers. Self-involved, self-centred and were very careful of how others perceived them. They are overly keen to tell you what they believe and stand for although this I found to be just noise. They all had passion and love for things that are quirky, odd. Their friends are random, polarized and have little time for each other. They were the eye of the storm of their respective shit storms; they will question it but not as far as any meaningful self-reflection. They all tried to be unique, all three tattooed with dress sense to make them stand out. Oblivious to the fact that we are all unique, different and special. This more than anything has stayed with me, the need to add chrome to distract from the woefully emptiness that resides within, god I am wary of such people now. If it sounds as if I am sorry for these people, I am. It is the way I am wired, these people have been distanced from me and I wish them no ill will but I certainly want nothing do with them. Therapy, it really is the dogs balls.

Depression also comes with an unexpected cost. If there was ever a test of friendship this is it, it will surprise and disappoint in equal measure. Peoples reactions vary and in these moments a realignment happens, it is brutal but necessary.

To get back on my feet I put myself into situations that I knew would make me feel uncomfortable. I remember traveling through to Forres to attend a WordPress workshop. Little, silly steps when viewed from the outside but they helped me. These little steps were needed to help me get back into employment as I had amassed debt for the first time in my life. I had worked in electronics, logistics, computers, retail and numerous other roles. I found myself applying for night shifts or physical work although given my health that was more than optimistic. My first interview was good, with a Canadian which I think was pivotal to me getting the job. I am unsure that my honestly about my mental health problems would have been well received otherwise. I was under no illusion of the stigma that any mental health issue carries; I had seen this reaction before. When I told my manger in my previous job he said 'well you're fucked then'. Also when visiting Sutherland when telling a woman that I was not fussed and rather pleased that there was no room to attend a dinner. I said I had been suffering from depression; her face was one of understanding, kind. My companion at the time however looked as if I had smeared excrement over her top lip. She would ask me later 'why did you tell her that?' Anyway, I was offered the job and needless to say I hold this Canadian in high esteem. He is no longer with the company and has returned to Canada. I regret not telling him how much of an impact his decision made. My job is not glamorous or comes with a title that would stand out but it is interesting and I enjoy it.

While I work away in the small hours I am often joined by strangers. There is a comfort in speaking to strangers and those of us that have been touched with fire can recognize it in others. I don't know how that works but it does seem to hold true. With these conversations you gain strength as no matter how hard your tale might seem there is always someone who is fighting a far harder battle with demons that dwarf anything you could imagine. The sharing and common ground is like a nod of understanding and at times we can raise a question through common experiences and talk until an answer or conclusion appears. I always ask if they are creative, the answer is yes but the how is always wildly different. What I find the most interesting is that we would all like to sculpt.

So almost a year has passed and I feel content, happy and I am well loved. Depression left me some time ago but it has left me little unexpected gifts but I got off light. To view them otherwise is futile. It no longer defines me although it has shaped me into the person I am now. Strangely I think, for the better.

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