Mental health

The ugliness of depression

A black and white photograph of tall trees against a cloudy sky on the horizon - The Ugliness of Depression - Mrs H's favourite things

On Monday the singer Sinead O’Connor posted a heartbreaking video to her Facebook page. O’Connor films the footage in a grotty hotel in New Jersey. And in it she is clearly in the middle of a depressive episode.

She is distraught. Beside herself. Her thoughts tumble into one another. And as you watch you can see and hear her heart break and her soul rip into thousands of tiny pieces.

It is a horrid video to watch. Especially for someone, like me, who has been there.

I’ve been that person who is trying not to die. Who is fighting to stay alive and keep the suicidal thoughts at bay.

My last suicide attempt was in 2002. And this year marks 15 years since that terrible day in November.

Yet, 15 years passing since I last tried to end my life doesn’t mean that I’m better. 

Because I never will be better. I’ll be on a maximum dose of antidepressants for the rest of my life.

I often wonder how every other mum does all they do. And I feel pathetic in comparison. But then I have to remind myself that I can’t keep up with the Joneses because I have an underlying illness that stops me.

And it’s an illness that creeps up on me and knocks me for six.

The Ugly Truth of Depression

This week Mr H is on leave. It should have been a lovely week filled with family time and yet it’s not.

For some reason life has just caught up with me and I’m depressed. I’m finding it hard to do anything. I just want to sleep. I don’t want to go out and I don’t want to see or talk to anyone. I’d prefer to shut myself off from the world.

At the same time, I’m filled with self-hatred and I’m convinced the rest of the world despises me too.

I don’t think anyone is genuinely my friend. Because why would you want to be friends with a person like me?

I don’t think my husband or my children love me because I’m clearly and awful mother and terrible wife. I’m not surprised that I’ve lost touch with friends or that people don’t want to see me anymore. Why would they when I’m so hideous?

This may seem very dramatic. You may think it silly. Ridiculous. Even crazy. Maybe you think it’s attention seeking. Self obsessed. Self absorbed. Selfish. And perhaps in some ways you’re right.

But this is the truth of mental illness. I can’t control these thoughts or feelings.

And it’s these thoughts and feelings that are one of the only constants in my life.

Sometimes I’m able to push them away. Dampen them down. Wear emotional ear defenders so I can’t hear or feel them.

Other times are like this week, when the thoughts and emotions are all consuming.

On these occasions, my body can be filled with uncontrollable sobs. That start and then seem to have no ending in signt. They are often accompanied by actual physical pain. Because emotional pain quite often manifests itself physically. As our bodies are better at coping with physical pain rather than emotional.

This week, there have been no sobs. No hysterical upset. It’s been a quieter despair. More subtle. In some ways, sadder.

Instead, there has been a lot of sleeping. I’ve taken long showers and baths. Locking myself away from the world and concentrating on the details of these little rituals.

I’ve also spent time staring vacantly into space. Willing myself to find the motivation to do something.

But today I’ve felt brighter. And I’ve forced myself to be more Lucy. I’ve come out of my enforced isolation and I’ve attempted to motivate myself. I’ve been proactive about making myself feel better. I even managed to go for a walk in the woods with a friend and the children.

Yet in the background the negative thoughts and emotions remain. And they’re ready to take over and stop me in their tracks the moment I let my guard down.

This is the reality of mental illness.

Sinead O’Connor’s distressing video is the reality of mental illness.

It’s ugly. Messy. Unpleasant. Raw. Heartbreaking. Cruel. Out of control. Emotional. Disturbing. And it doesn’t make any sense.

Hopefully, Sinead O’Connor’s video will help other people who suffer from any mental health problem feel that they don’t need to face the ugliness alone. 

Hugs

Lucy

xxxx

14 Comments

  • Reply
    Everything Mummy
    August 17, 2017 at 8:35 pm

    oh Lucy it really breaks my heart to read this you are not a bad mother, wife or friend at all. I can definitely vouch for this as you have been a great friend to me in the past. I am glad to hear you are having a brighter day xx

  • Reply
    Katie
    August 15, 2017 at 8:56 am

    Oh lucy I’m so sorry you’ve had a bad week. But I’m really pleased you e come out the other side and are feeling a bit better again. I hope that now you can see you are worthy of friends, you’re a wonderful mum and this is all out of your control. Lots of love xxx

  • Reply
    Alex
    August 15, 2017 at 8:49 am

    I may not be a mum – or even a dad – but I, too, want you to know you’re not alone! Depression is a horrible thing, isn’t it, making us feel as though no one truly cares about us and that all our relationships are fake, but they aren’t what depression makes them out to be. I still look at my goddaughter and wonder why she tells me she loves me, but that’s just the depression talking. True, you might have it for the rest of your life but there will still be good days to it. Keep holding on and definitely keep sharing – it’s encouraging to read other people’s struggles! Take care! 🙂

  • Reply
    Sharon Powell
    August 15, 2017 at 7:43 am

    Such a brave post to write my lovely. I don’t talk about depression on my blog (don’t know why) but it’s something that’s been with me for a long time too. Big hugs to you x

  • Reply
    Hannah Fleming
    August 14, 2017 at 10:07 pm

    Oh Lucy <3 I wish I could give you a huge hug and take all of this away – like so many other people do. You're such a strong and inspiring woman to battle on and share all the facets of depression to inform inspire and educate others xxxx

  • Reply
    Caroline
    August 12, 2017 at 9:34 am

    I do not suffer with depression myself and I can only imagine how hard it is for you each and every day. But I wanted to say how brave and honest you have been in this and so many of your posts. You are one gutsy lady xxxx

  • Reply
    Karen Beddow
    August 12, 2017 at 8:54 am

    It’s another brave post to write Lucy and I’m sure you are touching lots of people with it. Take care my lovely and take the time you need. xx

  • Reply
    Rachel @ The Daisy Pages
    August 12, 2017 at 7:24 am

    I’m not sure what to write in the comments, but it is such a heartfelt article that I didn’t want to read and run. I admire you for sharing your story and I hope it will help others out there. Talking about it has to be a good thing, sending hugs and positive thoughts your way xx

  • Reply
    Rebecca | AAUBlog
    August 11, 2017 at 7:48 pm

    Sending hugs! You’re not alone. I have had several people close to me suffer with this, and although I can’t relate completely, I know how important vocalising it can be. Well done for speaking out x

  • Reply
    Cassie
    August 11, 2017 at 7:25 pm

    Thank you for sharing this. I actually suspected I had postnatal depression for a long time but hubbie said I could sort myself out and I thought I could. It went on longer and longer and I pushed people away and felt exactly as you describe. I was so scared they would take George away if I admitted feeling like that. Plus I could still put on “the mask” so I knew turning up at the surgery smiling and not crying they would t believe me.

    I eventually sought some help and they gave me fluoxetine. After three weeks I had felt so nauseous on these tablets I couldn’t enjoy food. The one rare thing I still got enjoyment from. So I checked with the doctor and stopped them.

    I don’t know what changed. Maybe that was all I needed to switch my crossed wires around in there but since then I’ve felt great.

    I still don’t ever say “oh I had depression” because I was only ever told “you might have”. I was so vague about describing how I felt for fear of being told I was an unfit mum.

    Seeing you write it down just confirms for me it was. And I think I would feel confident enough to tell the doctor I had it and I need to be weary when having another child that it may return.

    I’m so sorry you have suffered for so long. But I hope you can give yourself the credit that posts like his really help people. If you just make one person feel like they are not alone.

    Keep doing you

  • Reply
    Abbie - Lilypad & Bow
    August 11, 2017 at 6:20 pm

    I admire how openly you talk about your struggle with depression Lucy, I really really do. I wish I was more open like you. I’ve heard about Sinead O’connors video and it breaks my heart but I just can’t bring myself to watch it because its far too close to home. I really hope she gets the help she needs. x
    Abbie – Lilypad & Bow recently posted…Weekend Watch – Nature Reserves and Poorly ToddlersMy Profile

  • Reply
    joamma
    August 11, 2017 at 12:03 pm

    You are certainly not alone as someone who has struggled for a long time too. It can knock you for six especially when you have been feeling ok ish for awhile. It’s such a horrible feeling and people need to know more about mental health issues.

  • Reply
    Baby Isabella
    August 11, 2017 at 11:18 am

    You are not alone! My mummy is hibernating in bed reading this, not so sure she can face the day (it’s nearly midday). Sinead O’Connor’s video was traumatic and we really feel for her. Sometimes it’s hard to lift yourself out of the hole and you get sucked deeper and deeper. Sinead was right in the pit. Today my mummy is teetering on the edge of falling. Everyone had coping mechanisms and if taking long baths and locking yourself away, sleeping longer until the cloud passes then that’s ok. That’s what my mummy does. It’s when you can’t lift yourself up, pick yourself up and you fall more into despair that people scream for help x

    • Reply
      Mrs H
      August 11, 2017 at 11:35 am

      Oh bless you, I’m so sorry that your Mummy is feeling this way. It is so horrid and I wish I could give her a big hug and let her have a cry on my shoulder. Your Mummy has been through so much recently. It’s not surprising that she’s feeling close to the edge. I hope that she feels better once she’s had a sleep. Sometimes sleep is the most healing thing. Lots of love Lucy xxxx

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