Volume 10, Issue 12
This is for my very dear friend who is embarking on her journey to recovery.
My depression crept up on me in the latter half of 2014. I had just returned home from a month-long intensive in New York, a whirlwind 30 days of contemporary and modern art. This was an incredible experience, but being away was hard; having never spent this long away from Melbourne/friends/family, the trip took some adjusting. I guess I had separation anxiety, if you want to call it that.
I got back home and everything just stopped moving. Like those spinning platforms in playgrounds where you stand on the platform and spin yourself around with the centre plate, I too got that nauseating, confusing sensation when I jumped off – my head was spinning but my body was standing still. Terrible example, but that’s all that comes to mind.
I began seeing someone, which was really helpful. I was pretty sceptical of the effects of therapy (cynical Rosie), but cannot stress just how much she helped. My family was so concerned about my well-being; they would try and help by asking questions mostly with undertones of “why?” which, as well intentioned as they were, were questions I just didn’t know how to answer. I didn’t know why this was happening to me. I couldn’t articulate what it was that would make me randomly break down and feel so, so bad. I didn’t know why I couldn’t go out with friends anymore. I just didn’t know.
As bad as I felt during this whole experience, the greatest pain was how my depression affected others. All but a few of my friends stopped talking to me (they didn’t know what was going on, so that’s a fair enough response to friend-who-never-comes-to-things-or-makes-an-effort). My parents felt they’d failed and blamed themselves. The worst, though, was seeing the person I love struggle with his own anguish. He would lie next to me at night while my body racked with sobs and just not know what to do. I demanded help and was angered and hurt if he didn’t provide it. I expected someone to fix me, and put this all on him. As a problem solving engineer he was faced with a problem he didn’t know how to solve (not for lack of trying). He became distant and would respond less when I was upset. It was really, really hard.
It all came to a head one night when it became apparent that neither of us could do this anymore. Words were uttered and feelings exposed that embodied the deepest and most penetrating pain I have ever felt. I had driven away the person I most cared about. I was angry, hurt, heartbroken - why me? Depression, haven’t you done enough?
Yep, that was enough. I was done. I know depression involves a chemical imbalance in the brain, so I’m not sure how legit this is, but I guess I had a sort of brain snap. I awoke the next day with fresh determination and vigour. I told him I was getting better, starting today. This truly wonderful man accepted my courage and stayed; but for this turnaround I’m not sure where we would be now.
So thank you to everyone who helped me – I couldn’t have done it without you. I want my dear friend (and you, if this applies) to know that no matter how bad it is, how bad you fear it will get, you will spring back. I know it doesn’t feel possible right now but believe me, one day you’ll feel it. Depression really is a battle, and right now you’re just getting your weapons together and planning your attack. Just like everything in life, this too shall pass.
Rosie Francis is a second-year JD student
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