Mental Illness

DEPRESSION AND HOPE (or rather the lack of it)

It is with some trepidation that I write about my long term relationship with depression.

Recently, I have been drawn to people who talk of happiness as a matter of attitude.  People who have had their fair share of struggle, but have looked that struggle square in the face and said “Fuck you!”  Their souls, whilst changed, have not been broken. It is a matter of attitude they say.

I read these blogs, books and articles in magazines and my heart breaks a little bit more.

I think, perhaps, I am beyond help.

My head hurts.

My heart is broken.

I stumble through my day wondering why we exist at all?

It hardly seems fair to be created with sentient awareness, but to have no true purpose.

I have been told that my purpose is to write.  And it is true, I do feel it in my bones.

But I am ruled by fear.  People afflicted with this hideous disease are ruled by fear.

That is the truth of depression.

Some hard wiring has gone astray and we live in a perpetual state of fear.

The voices in our head, that nasty little creature that revels in our misery, tells us, constantly, how it is all going to go wrong, how we will make a laughing stock of ourselves, how we are arrogant to believe that we could be talented in anything, how our lives, really, are just a waste of the space we inhabit, how we just need to die.

And so we sit.  We wait.  To die.

We don’t really want to die, of course.  We just feel incapacitated.  We feel isolated and we feel hopeless.  And hopelessness is the killer.

I once watched an episode of Bones where the serial killer would brick women up into a room with no food nor water.  He would stream video footage of their families to them and then he would watch them as they would scream.  But no-one would come.  And eventually they would lie down and wait for death, all hope lost.  At the end of the episode, when he had been captured, he said that it was this hopelessness, so all encompassing that they would willingly lie down and wait to die, that he could induce in these women that gave him the thrill.  Pretty awful really, but a very good mirror on the human condition.

We need hope to survive.

Survival is dependent on hope.  Hope for a better future, hope that tomorrow will be better, hope that life will be okay in the end.

People who end their lives no longer have hope.

To have no hope is to be empty, to have nothing left.

To have no hope is to die.

I fight for hope.  Every day I wake up and pray for hope.  Depression and hope are interdependent.

It is not self pity.  Many people think it is.  Many people think it is a case of wallowing in our own misery.  Which is why mental illness is still so badly stigmatised, why it is underfunded and why it is now touted that not 1 in 5 but 1 in 2 people will be afflicted with a diagnosable mental illness in their lifetime, and only a fraction of those will seek help, and only a fraction of those again will receive the help that will set them on the path to recovery.  That is to say, on a path that will enable them to see hope.

At this point in time I see no hope.

It’s horrible.  Shocking even.  I am a middle aged housewife living in a beautiful home with a beautiful family.  I have no right to feel depressed.  Or so they say.

But the reality is that I do have a right.  I have a right, because it is my reality.  It is a reality I wish didn’t exist.  It is a reality that I suspect will be a part of who I am for the rest of my life.  I will always struggle with finding the joy in a simple day, finding the happiness in a bird’s song.  I will always struggle to ignore the voices in my head that tell me I am not good enough, a waste of space, not worthy of love.

It is reconciling that reality, marrying it to a life of less pain, more vitality, less anguish, more evenness, that is the key.

Today, I am losing the battle.  But as of this day, I am winning the war, for I am alive.


Much love,

SHW Signature

6 replies on “DEPRESSION AND HOPE (or rather the lack of it)”

I’m hoping there is no need for me to say this – I’m hoping you already know that in Australia, you can see your GP and organise a mental health care plan, and then you can get 10 free sessions with a psychologist.

If your doctor thinks it necessary anti depressants can be prescribed – and to anyone who wants to claim they are not needed, would you tell a diabetic they don’t need insulin, or an organ recipient they don’t need to take anti-rejection drugs? Of course you wouldn’t. Sometimes there is something medically wrong and it needs medication to fix it.

This time last year I was feeling very much the same as what you wrote here, in fact this time last year my voices were telling me terrible things – none of which were true. I went and sought help, and unlike previous efforts where crawling out of that black hole was painful and lengthy and took years, I got out very quickly, plus I was able to make a plan for getting out of a bad work situation and moving on.

This year I’m heading back to school and I wouldn’t be doing that without my psychologist and I working out what I need going forwards – I really need to be my own boss for a multitude of reasons. 😉

I hope the voices shut up soonest for you. They are telling lies, but you clearly know that from what you’ve said here, which is a big and excellent step towards telling them to drink a big cup of STFU.

Anyway in case I haven’t commented before, I found you in October last year and I love your blog. 🙂

Dearest Snoskred, thank you. Thank you for taking the time to comment, thank you for your lovely words. Thank you for being a reader since October! I have tried antidepressants and psychologists. To date we have not found common ground, but I intend to give it another go. I know someone who said it took them 10 years of clinical depression to find the right person. We have to have hope of a brighter tomorrow, or we are lost. Onward I will go. I am so thrilled you are going back to school. Such a positive thing to do. I totally identify with needing to be your own boss thing. Much love xx

Big hugs to you. Yes you have a right to your reality. Never forget that just as strong, is your right to health. If hope is not helping you, than perhaps persistence in searching for the right health care professional will be your key. Please persist, because the world’s people need your writing. We hear you, understand you and feel for your reality. x

Dear Sarah,

I didn’t see this post until today and hope that you are OK.

I think you are right about fear. The original founders of AA said years after writing the 12 Steps that they wished they had more attention to fear in the recovery program. It is a more powerful impediment to recovery than anything else.

I know you are surrounded by family and friends (including on-line people like me) who care about you.

One day you might believe you are all the lovely things that they see you to be.

I no longer have your phone number but would love to catch up and bring you up to date with my new job and hear about your degree and other news. Send me a message via Facebook and I’m sure we could arrange something quite quickly.

Take care –


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