Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Turn Away No More

Nothing is permanent in this wicked world - not even our troubles.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/c/charlie_chaplin.html#tYLqhuYibAiBxoLs.9
Nothing is permanent in this wicked world-not even our troubles. 
Charlie Chaplin. 

I've always liked how determined I am. The majority of what I've accomplished in life has been due to how stubborn I've been in my pursuit. It's why I have a hard time dealing with my depression.

It's the one thing I can't change just by convincing myself I'm going to. From the ages of 13-17, I was diagnosed with depression. I took medication and traveled 4 hours every week to see a counselor in order to deal with it. My depression manifested as being unable to sleep, feeling apathetic, feeling anxious over nothing, having intense crying fits, and angry outbursts. I also felt that I was observing my life from behind glass with the person living my life not caring about what I wanted. I was suicidal and would think of ways to end my life that would look accidental. It was a dark time and I still feel apologetic over how I mistreated my parents when I was at my worst.

At 17, I moved away to university and after a few months, I felt ready enough to stop taking the pills. A counselor told me when I was a teenager that my depression was the sort that would manifest all my life. For years after I stopped taking the pills, I was afraid I'd be needing them again.

Me at 16/17, thinking I was the definition of "cool". Not shown is the kilt I wore over jeans.

I understand being upset when things are going badly. It took me about a year to get over the worst of my mourning over the death of my grandparents. When my father had a heart attack, I would cry often during the days when we waited to see if he'd be ok.

I don't understand being upset for no reason. Late last year and early this year, I would go days without sleep whenever I had an assignment due even if I was prepared for it. I went to my finals in April with only a half hour of sleep, anxious the whole time that I'd faint in the middle of the exam. I would be overcome with intense bouts of rage where I'd lash out at family over nothing. And I became so apathetic that I thought about leaving school after I lost my focus and thought I didn't like film making any longer. Worst of all, I thought about hurting myself to get back at everyone who I had perceived had wronged me.

After the last thought appeared, I decided it was time to go back to the pills. But I was terrified of being weak, of admitting I needed help, and scared that the pills weren't going to have an effect. I always saw my depression as a weakness in myself because I couldn't deal with it on my own. I've pulled myself out of so many other things yet I felt so powerless over my depression because it wouldn't bend to my will. It kept me locked up inside my head while it screwed around with my life.
I was scared about needing the pills to help me deal with it but I hated how my depression took away my enjoyment of everything I cared about. I couldn't live not caring and so, despite my fear, I decided to talk to my doctor and get the medication I needed.

The doctor told me I'd start feeling the effects of the medication in about a month but I started feeling better almost immediately. Maybe it was the placebo effect but it was probably related to my decision to finally do something about the depression that had slowly been creeping its way back into my mind like ink in water. My depression sucks away my love of and amplifies the worst bits of my favourite things until I'm asking myself why I'm bothering with it if it is so horrible. The pills don't eliminate the symptoms entirely but, as my friend Bryan told me, they allow me to see things clearly when my depression tries to cloud my judgement.

Sometimes I'm still stuck in my teenaged mindset that this whole thing is going to haunt me forever and what's the point of anything. As an adult, I realize I can and have been happy even in the worst bits of my depression as a teenager. As a teen, I couldn't see anything happy in my future but now I know that things get better. They always do. There's always someone there to hug, someone there to say "Hi", someone to smile at me, to laugh with, cons to go to, places to see, music to hear. 

The good wouldn't be as awesome without the bad. And I know, eventually, I will deal with the bad.

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