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I have recently been diagnosed with depression and I'm actually happy about it

L

Lions and tigers and bears

New member
Joined
Jun 4, 2020
Messages
4
Location
Bristol
You're probably wondering why I'm happy about that?


Warning: long read. I'm not looking for advice from this, just wanting to share my story in the hope that it may help.


Last year a number of pretty shitty, and stressful, events happened in succession. I won't list them because I don't want people to compare; people react differently to different situations. Before this I just moved in with my partner, we had already supported each other through a lot and it felt so right to us. I have never lived with a partner before and we moved to a new city to start new jobs. I was excited and nervous.


When my partner and I met I was mentally strong, happy within myself and knew exactly how to love and care for her. I felt on top of the world, she came into my life and it was like the cherry on top. There was nothing particularly special going on before we met, I have a normal life but I was actually happy and content within myself, which I hadn't achieved for a few years, and I realise that makes so much difference to how you deal with situations.


After moving in together, these events happened, and I slowly started to lose myself; fading away from who I was. I lost my energy, I couldn't get out of bed (luckily I had flexi hours and could work from home otherwise I would have lost my job a long time ago), my thoughts and body language became so negative and really delayed. My partner became my comfort and I relied on that too much. It makes me so ashamed to admit that.


One of the amazing things about my partner is that she taught me how to open up, but after years of bottling up unknown emotions, they all poured from me onto her! As much as partners are there to support you, they are not your full time therapist; especially when they have their own shit they need support with. She was amazing though; she let me vent, encouraged me to cycle with her, try new things etc. But the longer this went on, with no real improvement, it began to take its toll on her and our relationship - she wanted the old me, the supportive me back and so did I. We both assumed I was grieving or something and it would soon pass. I felt so lazy, so helpless, so ashamed and frustrated with myself - my self confidence hit rock bottom.


I could see she needed me but I felt like I was being weighed down, it was like the real me was observing, screaming 'I'm still here! Please be patient!' But the shell of me hid that and gave nothing away that she could hold on to.


I sought out help from my GP and was advised to go to group CBT. After 6 weeks of 1 hour group sessions I had initial optimism, but unfortunately the dark thoughts soon squeezed that out of me. I started karate, which although I was slow at because of my hazy mind, I really enjoyed and it gave me purpose to leave the house. The physical activity helped me so much and I felt like I was gradually able to do more stuff in my life each day. At the hardest times I struggled to even look after myself, so doing something like house chores became a real struggle to me, but I was determined to contribute. It was my way of reaching out and saying 'I know this is hard. I know I'm a miserable, lazy shit, but I am trying. Please be patient'.


I could feel myself starting to enjoy things more, but the worthless thoughts refused to go away and they were consuming so much of my mind, and energy, that I had little to give my partner. I would be there to listen, but my intuitions, judgement and empathy were not kicking in. I hated myself; she was in pain, struggling and asking for help and all I could do was listen, not take action. Listening to someone is extremely important, but sometimes people need more than that and I couldn't give it, no matter how much I tried, how much i wanted to, I'd somehow lost that side of me. I felt so angry at myself, even more worthless, and like a terrible partner. It was eating away at me so much that I became withdrawn. She deserved better than that, all I wanted to do was help her like she had helped me.


I seeked out one to one therapy to tackle my low self esteem, this helped me to talk through some things and took some of the emotional burden off my partner. I was told that I shouldn't be ashamed for being selfish, because I had been through a lot and I had to work on myself before I could fully support her. This helped. I was able to think to myself 'Okay yeah, those were shitty things. They did have an impact on me, but let's move on and find myself again.' And I did, well I found glimpses of myself. Despite me progressing with my attitude and motivation I could still feel something niggling, pulling me down, holding me back and having bad days.


My partner and I went on several holidays during the positive side of me (I still had shitty days, but more good than bad). They were great but something didn't feel quite right, I lost all belief in myself as a good partner and questioned how she could love me, even unintentionally testing her commitment once. No matter how much I loved her, how much she gave me butterflies, how much I thought she was the love of my life I lost how to love her the right way, tune into her needs and let her open up to me for a change. I thought me listening and being more positive, showing glimpses of me again was enough, but it wasn't. At a time when my partner really needed me she felt like she couldn't rely on me and she let out all her emotions of how, whatever was going on with me, was pushing her away. She felt lonely in a relationship. To hear those words from someone you truly love, and care about, is soul destroying. I had allowed her to feel lonely! I had failed her! I was angry because I felt like I was there and ready for her; I felt so much stronger and couldn't understand why she felt like that. I had worked so hard but it still wasn't enough. The thing is, what I realise now, she was more in tune with me than I was with myself and she could see what I couldn't - something was holding me back from loving myself and her. This frustration became consuming, but the more I fixated on finding out what was wrong and judging myself, the less present I felt.


We both decided that moving out and giving each other space was the best solution. The day we moved out lockdown was announced; we had planned to try and rekindle our romance through dating again, but the lockdown prevented that. I was determined to use this time to workout what was going on with me - for myself, her and the relationship. These events happened a year ago, I didn't feel like they had an emotional hold over me anymore. So why the low self esteem, the frustrations, the feeling that something was constantly hanging over me? I felt positive because I was handling lockdown quite well, feeling fairly positive, but the mental side felt foggy.


Just like last year, a series of events happened. A lot of it occurred to my partner's loved ones and I was determined to be there for her this time. To show her I am reliable, she can trust me. It was my time to hold her close and kiss her pain away! But then, like a tsunami, I was flooded with dark crippling thoughts about how worthless I am, how I'll never make her or anyone happy, how I'm a waste of a life! I spent time in my room crying, telling myself ' Snap out of it! She needs you! Everything she has done for you and you can't even give back! You're pathetic!'


Again, I listened to her, I turned up with a smile, made food, etc. but I had nothing in the mental tank to offer for real support, because I was spending too much time putting myself down and dwelling on what was wrong with me.


She told me she wasn't in love with me anymore and I begged her to see that I was improving, that I just needed more time to figure out what is going on. She told me she had waited long enough, which she had. She stood by me longer than what most people would have tolerated. I know how it feels to be lonely in a relationship so it kills me to know that whatever was hanging over me, despite my efforts of telling it to do one! Meant I had unintentionally pushed the love of my life to that point.


She needed my support, but until I knew what was continuously pushing me down I just had nothing to give and I didn't want her to go through anymore pain because of it. I was causing more damage than good to her and so I chose to take time finding out why the hell I couldn't snap out of it and why it was following me around, preventing true progress and ruining my relationship with the most amazing, passionate, caring, selfless woman who I want to make a life with.


Why did I choose time? Because I was hurting a girl who was already hurting. I had been trying so hard to get that old me back, but glimpses were not enough. Not enough for her or me.


I drove away knowing that I had left the girl of my dreams and it broke me. It broke her. She blames herself and questions why she isn't worth fighting for. Well she is! Any person would be extremely lucky to have this woman in their life and she deserved to have a strong person to break down to. Just like I did when I broke down to her. Asking for time was the hardest thing I've had to do and it hurts me every minute of the day, but this overhanging darkness was like a disease taking the life from the both of us. I didn't want to bring her down with me anymore. So what may seem like a selfish thing - leaving her during her own difficult time - I did it to stop her from hurting and wondering what she's doing wrong. I realise now there was nothing she could have done unless we both had answers. She may not see it, but I really fricking love that woman and she deserves to let herself go and be fully supported in ways I couldn't do anymore, for no known reason.


It has been two weeks since I made that choice, during which I have been frantically watching TED videos, reading articles, taking quizzes to understand what the hell led me to this place, what is wrong with me and how do I make it stop?! A lot of them provided some insight, but still not quite giving me the answers to this constant mind hijacking. I had more counselling, they again told me not to be harsh on myself, that last year was a lot. Okay, it was but I feel like I've moved on from that a long time ago.


Then, I went back to the doctors. We had a lengthy discussion, I told them every method I have tried, the details of what has been happening. He agreed that last year would have impacted me, but I have actually been struggling with depression all this time and probably experienced some less damaging depression episodes earlier in my life!


That's not a surprise to you, because it's in the title. But it was a surprise to me and hard to take. Both my parents had struggled with depression and I didn't want to be affected the way they were. I have started with medication and agreed to go on a treatment plan. I got home and started to research depression, looking at forums and blogs from those who suffer with it and looking at their partners pov too. The more I read, the more I realised that so much of my thoughts, and actions, were because of this and not because I'm a lazy, selfish person.


I learnt things like it affects your ability to think and act clearly, it can slow your motions so much that people can actually see it! It can suck the joy out of your life, it can make you feel like you are a burden to everyone, make you want to hide away in a dark place and not socialise. It can make you absent minded and like you want to sleep forever. It can impact yours and your loved ones lives to breaking point! It can also take, on average, 10 years for people to reach out for help and find the right support.


So why am I so happy to be diagnosed with this seemingly crippling illness? Because I finally have answers! I have reasons for those behaviours... okay, not all of them (some of them can't be excused by depression)... but for the majority of things where I was so harsh on myself for not knowing how to "snap out of it!" I can see that other people have suffered with them too and it's not something you can just snap out of. It doesn't mean I'm weak or was doing anything wrong, which is not what I was telling myself.


I am not alone in this and neither is anyone else who is suffering or has been diagnosed. It feels like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders and I can actually think more clearly now!


This will not be an easy journey, I know that, but this illness will not define me!

I have unknowingly been living with it and even in the times, at my lowest, I was still able to see some light. With the right help I will continue on my journey and will not stop! Now I can stop spending so much time trying to figure out reasons for all my thoughts, and actions, and start learning the best techniques; understanding that it is not out of choice, laziness or selfishness. I will not give in to this illness. I will understand it and fight it! My diagnosis is not the end of me, it is the beginning of a healthier me and my patronus is knowing so many other success stories and believing in myself.


I am also going to fight to get the woman of my dreams back. She deserves the world and I now know I can give her what she needs and more. I want to stand by her side through all of life's rollercoaster events like she has done for me. Depression doesn't have to result in an unhealthy, unbalanced relationship. I believe we can work together as a team and support each other through each other's ups and downs. Wish me luck xxx
 
J

jamraspberry

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 11, 2020
Messages
352
Location
Somewhere
Hi @Lions and tigers and bears, I like how you are positive about having depression. You have a right to feel happy. I know depression is awful when you are in your feelings, I have depression too. But yes, you should be allowed to feel happy in a hopeful way.

Aww I wish you luck in getting back the woman of your dreams. You deserve to be happy.
 
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