Warning: This is a raw and real encounter of what I went through during a time of pure darkness. It may cause distress.
Today I am experiencing what I like to call a "depressive episode". It happens every now and then to me, perhaps once a fortnight , sometimes more often. I've been down for a few days now but today feels like it's all come crashing down.
What's come crashing down exactly?
I don't know. I guess that's part of the problem.
From the outside I am completely fine, I can function as normal, I can go places and do routine activities but inside I'm burning. I feel like I want to physically claw my face apart with my bare hands. As an ex substance abuser I want to numb everything. I want to fall into a deep sleep where I don't wake up and am at complete peace.
Do I want to kill myself? NO.
But I do want to escape this feeling I have right now. I understand that it is hard to "get", but at the same time I know that there are so many others out there that truly understand what I'm saying. I'm writing this through tears - not sure why I'm even crying though. It's all part of what's going on in my head I guess.
The other day I was talking to someone who was hospitalised due to passing out from anxiety. I messaged her to see what was going on and I said "I like being in hospital" to which she replied "omg me too".
There's some kind of comfort being in a hospital. It feels like you're forced to be somewhere and you have no choice but to lie in bed. While that might sound like jail to some, to an anxious person like me - it is sometimes the perfect place for me to be when going through an episode.
So why am I writing today?
I want to share what it's like being like this. Today I plan on spending the whole day in bed. I had plans to be places today, important places. But I'm cancelling everything as the thought of being around people makes me want to scream. When I'm like this it's best to leave me alone. Often those around me will say "Can I help", "Is there anything I can do" to which my answer is always "no thank you". Nothing anyone can do will help me through this, other than leaving me alone.
Another thing that people will often say is "being around people and doing things will make you feel better" in my experience, this is one of the worst things to say... please don't.
I told my son how I was feeling today and as he left the house he said "I hope you feel better" and was gone without fuss, which is probably the best thing anyone could say to me. God I love that kid.
So what do you do if someone close to you is suffering like this? Perhaps speak to them when they're not in this state, and ask them what the best thing is for them - it will be different for individuals. For me the best thing is to be left alone. I'll eventually come through it.
If you try to reason with a person experiencing a depressive episode it may turn into a fight and be worse for both of you. Feelings will get hurt and things that you don't mean will be said so it's best to try figure this stuff out before hand.
It's not easy to understand mental illness and what can come from it. It's scary, it's uncomfortable and it totally sucks. But I can't explain it to you either. One of the common questions I get is "What happened" as in there must be a reason you feel like this today. There isn't. And if there is, I don't know what it is.
I understand why I have a mental illness, but I don't understand why some days are worse than others. But I live through it and in a weird way it helps me be a better person.
If you need support right now, please phone Lifeline on 13 11 14.