Sunday, September 14, 2008

Recovering from depression

Trying to construct a post but it's very late or early (4 am) and though this is often the time I do most thinking the thinking achieved is not always coherent. I have yet to sleep.

Recovery - It's the word we all strive towards. It's the reason we attend therapy, bare our souls to strangers, keep going when all odds are stacked against us and the reason we faithfully take numerous different medications in the hope we will find the one correct pill that will push us on this journey. And yet, does recovery in itself exhist?. Can you ever really truly recover?. It has been five months since my diagnosis of depression though I have been depressed for much longer. In that time I have had some ups but mostly downs. I have gone through all the stages of depression- I have denied I am ill, I have blamed other things, I have hated myself I have wanted to die and took steps to kill myself, and I have have spent hours, days weeks in silent contemplation staring blankly into space or at the ceiling. I have gone through these things and yet I return to these thoughts and actions unable to stop 'it' and unable to recover.

In the whole nature versus nurture argument I tend to favour nurture. What I mean by this is that I think the experiences we have in life shape and mould the person we are and change us forever. Anyone, who has ever experienced any mental illness will know what it feels like to be in such a dark place, to not know who you are, even why you are, not understanding what your purpose is and reaching out trying to hold on to sanity and life itself. To have something intagible and yet so real, which on the outside seems like nothing but becomes absolutely everything.
Once you have been in that place, it will never be forgotten. And so it is inevitable that it changes us forever. If you ask someone who is depressed 'what is the thing they most want' they will often say ' I want to be back to the person I used to be' and yet as I have explained this is usually impossible. It is a person and a time that no longer exhists. You might as well say 'I want to be a child again' or 'I want to believe in santa ' , you now know the dark side of yourself and what emotion you are capable of and that is knowledge which can;t be un-learned.

So what is recovery then?. I believe it is an individual thing. For many it lies in acceptance. Accepting that perhaps you weren't as strong and inpenetrable as you may have thought and perhaps there are parts of the 'inner you' that might be due a service. Some would say it lies in being able to recognise what may be the driving force behind those dark and chaotic times in order to avoid them or cut them short as they're building. For others just being able to cope with mundane daily tasks and somehow put together something of a life is a sense of 'recovery'.What I do know is that you need to be able to define what it is your aiming for. Until you can say what it is you want to achieve and how you'll know when you get there you can't begin to recover. This is where I'm stuck I don't know what I want from recovery an don't believe I can recover

I'm sorry if this post is a bit rambling, (it's late) or if you're reading this having done a search for the answers to recovering from depression. I don't have the answers, I wish I did. But what I think might be a start is to see it as 'moving on' as opposed to recovering. Taking all this crappy experience and allowing it to inevitably shape who you are now, but not define you.I am able to write this but not carry through. Incedentally if anyone does have a sure proof method of recovery, then I would gratefully receive.


Pink Floyd said...

I agree that many depressed people want to get back to what they used to field like - almost their childhood. That is where I am. I constantly look to and long for the past, I was so happy as a child. The future only brings darkness.

La-reve said...

Hi pink-floyd
thanks for reading and commenting. It is easy to be filled with a kind of nostalgia for the past, but by living in days gone by I think it is difficult to be happy in the here and now. Agian that is only my view and I am in no way an expert on recovery etc.

mandy lifeboats appeal said...

In so many ways I can relate to Pink Floyd's post.

I am trying, with little success, to follow the Buddhist path of living in the now. Only the now is crap.

That is the fatal flaw for me. the present is more appropriate to be in when I am, or feel, somewhere in the okay to great spectrum!

Yuk and more yuk really doesn't cut it as a semi spiritual state of being, for me.

La-reve said...

Thanks for comment Mandy

Know things aren't that great for you at moment. If living in the past temporarily provides some relief from present then think this is ok as a short-term respite. But unfortunately such present day avoidance won;t do anything to change the yuckiness. again I perhaps should practice what I preach- but so hard. x