I want to start and open up about what I am going through on a daily basis with my life with depression. I am entering a new chapter in my life – I’ve just completed a three year university course, moved away from everyone I know, including my son, to another town across the country to be with a new partner, where there are better job prospects and I want to get it right this time. I don’t want my depression to affect my life in a negative way ….. anymore.
I am convinced that if I write about it, it will help me get through. It will allow me to successfully manage my illness. Not just for me, but the those around me who are impacted by it daily.
Since the age of twelve, I have lived with, suffered and managed manic depression. An illness which has caused me to have a roller-coaster of an emotional life. I’ve lost relationships, jobs, friends and family because of it. At times, it’s made me mad, sad and isolated from everything that meant anything to me.
In 2011, it seemed to the everyone in my life that I had everything. I was earning over 75k a year, travelling the world with my son. Was looking at buying my second home. Dressed in designer clothes and I was driving around in my dream car. It looked like I had made it. But what people didn’t see was the storm brewing in my mind. A storm so violent it would, rip everything I had worked for out of my life and, leave me with nothing. Or so it felt at the time.
I lost everything that had monetary value and everyone who wanted to be part of that monetary world. Looking back, it’s the best thing that could have happened to me. At the time it most certainly didn’t feel that way.
I was working over 80 hours a week coding and designing websites for a local company. I was the only member of a web department. It was so stressful but I kept it all to myself and worked on. One Saturday afternoon I was sat at my computer coding a website for a client who never said “thank you” while my son played on his X-Box. I looked over and it hit me. I was doing it all wrong. You see, I only saw my ten year old son on a weekend as me and his mother had split when he was only 18 months old.
I watched him for a while and the more I thought about it the more depressed I felt about working when I was supposed to be spending quality time with him.
I began to question everything about my life. What was I working for? Who was benefiting from my hard work? I even began to question what life meant.
The following weeks passed by, I became more and more depressed. I went to work one day, packed all all my belongings into a bag, went downstairs to where my boss worked and told him I was leaving and would never come back.
I spent the following year under my duvet with the curtains closed and ignoring my phone.
It was as very black year.
I was helpless and didn’t know what to do or where to turn.
It was the summer of 2012, my son and his friend were visiting. I was still in a very depressed state, but I had developed the ability to be the comedian when my son was around so he wasn’t aware of what was going on. I always figured it was better to protect him from what was going on in my head.
His friend needed to go home and get some fresh clothes after an accident and I couldn’t afford the petrol for my car to take him …. I broke down in the garden, where my son couldn’t see me.
It was after that breakdown, I decided .. enough-was-enough!!
After making an appointment with my doctor that week, I saw a councillor and began my slow road to bring my depression to a manageable state. I say manageable because I can never fully recover, it’s part of my brains physiology and will always be part of who I am, but most certainly won’t define me, as it has before.
After losing everything monetary in my life, I was left with everything real. Real friends, my family and my son. Those people I needed around me to become a happier person and to make sure my depression didn’t affect my life negatively any more.
As I have mentioned, I have met someone after five years of being single and she is wonderful. I am allowed to open up about my depression to her and she understands when I have my darkest days and she supports me as best she can.
Both, my son and my partner are the reasons I am wanting to create this blog, so they can understand what I have to live with and understand my journey to continue manage my depression through my art and interactions with others.
Obviously, this isn’t my full story – I could go on forever with crazy anecdotes about my life, but this gives you an idea of where I am with the monkeys in my head right now. I am doing everything I can to keep them calm, understand them and not to let them affect others.
This blog is about how I achieve this and, if there’s anything useful in these messages from the monkeys in my head, maybe how you can achieve it too.