Usually I can’t cry. Today I managed to a couple of times. Once was when I tried to write a short message to someone. I couldn’t understand the words well enough to construct a short sentence. I couldn’t write, I couldn’t speak to them. I cried because I’d lost so much. The tears were loud and I was sensitive to noises today, so it sounded like screams ringing in my ears. I lay with my hands clamped against my mouth to stop myself screaming from the pain of the noise and depression. I lay for a long time. After an hour or two I fell asleep. When I woke I felt clearer. It rarely changes after sleeping. I woke up feeling stunned. The worst of the mental pain had lifted. It wasn’t as agonising. I was less confused. I hadn’t realised how severe it was earlier. I hadn’t known what was wrong with me earlier. All I knew was that the depression was making every moment painful, and even though I could walk I felt ridiculously tired inside and out. I felt like I had to be exaggerating the physical symptoms because I was so depressed, given that I could walk relatively easily. The only sign that anything was wrong on the outside was that my skin looked almost grey in the mirror. I didn’t know why my depression was so excruciating – just that it was a lot worse today. Later on I understood why it was so hard to bear. The ways ME/CFS affects my brain alongside severe depression and chronic panic make a terrible combination that’s much worse than all its parts. Physically and mentally, it was worse than anything I can imagine now. All I remember is something so frightening and painful that I could never understand it unless it’s happening to me in that moment.
Yet it’s only lifted slightly. I’m still confused. It’s still very difficult to write. It’s difficult to remember what I’m looking at or where I am. When your brain is constantly trying to understand the things you see and the sounds you hear, you feel all your cognitive abilities slowly dying every time you read, hear, write, speak. Since my anxiety and depression got to their worst several years ago, I’ve been constantly haunted by panic. Not as severe as it used to be, but it’s always there. There used to be glimmers of light, despite the depression being so bad through my teen years. A moment of feeling alive, real laughter, holding onto someone’s hand, watching out the window and seeing the world. Am I going to be haunted by the depression and panic, all the unyielding symptoms, for the rest of my life?
They’ve eaten away at me bit by bit. They’ve taken away everything I am. I almost wish I’d never had that time when I felt the depression slowly start to improve. It wasn’t a huge leap from where I am, but I was starting to feel things I can’t anymore. It never got close to true happiness, but I could feel gratitude. I could feel a little more connected to people. I could feel warmer. I was more hopeful. I cared. I loved. Everything was vague, foggy. It changed day by day, hour to hour. But overall it was changing for the better.
I don’t feel like I’m there for people I love anymore. I can’t understand them most of the time. I don’t know anything about the people I’m closest to. It’s like I forget everything about them. Usually I can’t laugh or joke. It’s becoming awkward and forced again. I can’t feel a connection with anyone. I can hardly feel love. It isn’t me… It isn’t me. This isn’t who I am. Depression is destroying me. I was starting to feel like I might be starting to exist again. I feel like my soul has been ripped apart again.
At the moment I can’t write a comment here without feeling completely drained and confused. This moment, I’m losing grip of everything, what everything is. I’m so sick of always pausing and switching tasks to try to feel just well enough to try to regain some level of consciousness, or to try to remember where I am or what or whether I was going to write. I hardly understand colours anymore. I can hardly bare to see, it brings on such a wave of confusion and exhaustion.
The confusion makes me angry sometimes. Sometimes I can lie down and rest from the world and feel almost peaceful. Lately it’s been so severe and difficult even when I’m having a better day, and worse on top of the depression, especially when it stops me doing anything. I can’t stand it being so relentless. I keep trying to practice being calmer, mainly because the panic is so painful and partly because I keep getting so frustrated or stressed or irritable, but nothing is working at the moment. I need to research more, practice more, but so much of the time I just want to save anything I have in that moment, so I do something different and mentally easier, like talking to someone I love. It makes me feel lazy, but most moments feel like a fight for survival. I told someone I wanted to at least have chosen a treatment programme to sign up for by Christmas, but I’m not any closer yet. There are so many separate issues that affect each other so painfully, I don’t even know which to start with. Out of everything I’m most desperate for the depression to end.
I don’t really remember the things I felt before depression became the way it is now. But part of me must remember, because I want them back. I want to feel people there again. I want to feel safe with them. I want that clarity. Energy. Life. I just want some of this, any of it, to end. I want to be able to live again. To die. Anything.
I feel like such a disappointment. I can’t be who I want to be for anyone. The way depression makes me feel about others makes me feel like a traitor to my family and friends – like I don’t trust them or even love them like I should. Like all the love they give me is wasted. I feel worse around strangers too. I can’t empathise in the same way. A lot of the time I only see the worst parts of people, even though I know it’s distorted in a deeply damaging way and I try to put those thoughts aside. I’m worried that I might be starting to get more afraid of people. A lot of the time I feel like I’m going to be attacked, even when I’m sitting by myself in the middle of the night. This can’t happen again. I won’t let it happen again… when every day was full of panic attacks, one after another. I feel like I can hardly live as it is. I’m feeling much better at the moment, but it’s still so agonising that the suicidal thoughts are screaming through my mind again. I try not to think about it, because the thoughts are stronger than any strength I have when I feel this empty. Somehow they make the pain worse.
Not long ago I was getting ready to finish writing and look over what I’d written, and I felt like crying again because I’d actually managed to write a post. Last time it took a full day and several more where I spent hours writing, and it felt completely exhausting. The times before and after that I just couldn’t write any of the things I needed to. But I’m reaching that intensely forgetful stage… and the depression is agony again.
As soon as I turn away from here, I’ll try to remind myself of everything else there is. I just wish I could feel the things I’ve lost again. I’d do anything to feel alive.