About 6 weeks ago, I began to experience a deep sadness, unwelcome and uninvited. I have had the odd time of sadness before, and always managed to shake it off by getting into work, going for a run or other exercise or talking myself out of it.
Eventually, this sadness would turn on me in cruel ways and the chatter in my head turned from an unwelcome guest into, well to use a metaphor, a violent home invasion. My wife began to become very concerned as my moods turned darker and I lost all motivation. In turn, my lack of motivation turned into a debilitating failure to even function normal everyday tasks. After a week, I could not get out of bed to go to work. I would wake up at midnight and cry non-stop until 4am, sobbing like a little baby - as Forrest Gump says, 'for no particular reason'.
On one occasion, my wife frantically rang a friend who came over at 2am and climbed into bed with me. He had just got out of the army reserve basic training and talked me out of the spiralling grief in military metaphors. It will go down as one of the more comical moments in this difficult time.
I went to work one morning, my mind froze up and I had a mental breakdown and was sent home for two weeks.
A few things about depression - this chooses you - you don't choose it. I have a lot more compassion for people who experience this sickness now. I confess I did not understand it and thought that people who suffered it needed to get a bit more mental or emotional resolve. I know now that this is a sickness. It is debilitating. After a few weeks on the medication, I have began to stabilise. With the love and support of my wife and daughter, I have tackled this - with medication, exercise, meditation, psychologists and a great GP.
Without the love and support of family and friends - I am blessed with many many loving friends - , it is a very short step to the street methinks. I see jabbering people with mental illness on the street these days and wonder where their loved ones are. Where are their friends?
Has anyone else experienced depression? I am still in the middle of the fight ... so I hope I don't bum anyone out ... but the cloud is slowly lifting.