Yes, I Get Depressed. But I Always Bounce Back. It's been a while since I blogged.....I orginally wrote this in 2012, but often reflect on it especially in a New Year.
I suffer from depression. It visits me now and then. Sometimes when you least expect it; sometimes you can feel it coming on.
It’s with me now. I know because my mind wanders more than usual. I play back the years in the screen of my mind. Certain moments. Did I really allow that to happen? Specific decisions. Was it there that things started to go wrong?
My life seems to be my favourite film. It must be, because I’ve watched it so often.
I’m rewinding it again now. Sit down and watch it with me….
The teenage years
You’re young. So young. And your hormones are playing ballyhack. You’re falling in love at the drop of a hat. You’re trying to find the authentic you; your place and who you want to be. And all the while, you’re rebelling against your parents who know nothing.
You reach your twenties, and you can rule the world. You’re going to live forever and your whole, long life is way ahead of you. There’s plenty of time to do everything: to finish college, get that degree, party all the way with your new life-long friends, and travel the world. You rarely see your parents because you haven’t time. Life is living. Relationships? They don’t last. Maybe you’re trying too hard. Or maybe you just didn’t feel the spark. Never mind. You move on.
Before you know it, you’re in your late twenties. You’ve graduated from a bedsit to a two-bed apartment in the city. Your finances are reasonable, though you have credit-card debt like most people, and no savings worth talking about. You either have no relationship, or you’re with the wrong person who sucks the life out of you. Oh, and you’re not in the job you should be. Suddenly, panic sets in.
Before you know it, you’ve met the ‘one’. You get in there in quick: open a join bank account, get a mortgage, and now you have a house together and responsibilities. At last. You even learn to drive, because before you never needed to drive anywhere. All those weekends of parties and fun are traded for garden centres and B&Q. Naturally you must get engaged because your joint set of friends are doing the same. You’re at that age now: wedding planning, family planning. You’d best get a move on, so much to do, biological clock ticking away, you’re not getting any younger. You try on dresses; pick wedding rings; book the venue; choose a honeymoon; arrange invitations; and yes, all this before you’re even thirty-three.
Yes, life couldn’t be better. It’s all going to plan again. You’ve so many friends you can’t cope. You need to divide them into more sets: work friends, his friends, my friends, our friends. Now it’s parties and BBQs, every other weekend in someone’s house, holidays with other couples, christenings, First Communions, weddings. Soon it will be your turn and, did I mention, everything really is just going your way. What could possibly go wrong?
What indeed. All I know is that whoever first said, “Life begins at forty” didn’t have a clue. First, they didn’t mention that to live that life you need the energy of a five-year-old. Second, they probably weren’t on the wrong end of two failed engagements and a very short-lived rebound marriage. You’re on your own again, and the recession is biting your behind. You change career and move abroad to sunnier climes, assuming that the promised life – sunshine, partying, and making your fortune – will now materialise. It doesn’t appear that it will though. So you carry on regardless, full of positive mental attitude. It will work for you. It must work for you. You have to believe. You can’t give up, Have those at home say ‘I told you so’ or even be pleased that you failed. I have to stay. Find another job. Do whatever it takes to stay.
You find work with a ‘major international financial institution’. You work twelve-hour days. It’s commission only and the targets are unattainable. They offer a cash advance on your pay until you are earning and eventually it’s like you just owe them money for the privilege of working there. Your friend comes to visit. ‘Surprise!’ he says. It is a surprise. You’ve no food in the fridge. Or money to buy any. He bails you out. Things pick up. You get a real paying job. It’s nothing major but it’s enough to live on and fund the odd flight home to visit your family. You continue to relay stories of how wonderful and exciting it all is. You’re too proud or stupid to admit the truth – that you are not the authentic ‘me’ that you hoped to be.
You throw a birthday party and ‘friends” travel over. They see things for what they are. It’s humiliating. You realise the eighteen months of misery and heartache abroad are enough, and you come home. This time for good. Only now, the friends all seem to have dwindled away. No invites to go out anymore. Yes, some people come round once, but just for a nose; to see how far you’ve fallen.
So now, all these years later, I sit here. Alone. Older and wiser? Certainly older.
How did it all come to this? And who’ll really miss me when I’m gone? I’ve no children of your own and no one is exactly knocking down my door with dinner invitations. I’ve ever-mounting debt, and the rooms could be warmer, the fridge could be fuller, and I’ve no one to put an arm around me and say everything will be alright.
Where did those years go? What happened to that authentic self I set out to be? Right now, I feel a fake - the most inauthentic person you could meet. What I’d give to be that bubbly, carefree life-loving teenager again.
In the real world though, I’m starting again. From where I am now. Another beginning.
You go now. I’ll be fine. I’ve had a look back, and you were kind enough to do it with me.
Yes, I get depressed. But I bounce back. And I do feel better for sharing this; for writing it down.
Good health to you!