Fri, Nov 8, 2013
Preamble: This post is about my encounter with depression. This is 100% honest and truthful. The reason I’m writing this is to raise money for Movember (http://au.movember.com/mospace/7219109) which supports several mental health programs (http://au.movember.com/programs/mental-health) along with raising awareness. I may not be able to grow a decent mo, so hopefully this suffices.
I think depression has been with me for most of my life. From a fairly young age I had my first encounters with suicidal thoughts and being around 6 or 7 at the time, I didn’t really know how to cope with it. Eventually I reached a breaking point, and I wanted to hurt family members that were trying to stop me from hurting myself. By the end of that incident there were two paramedics, my grandparents, my dad (who was called home), my mum and the next door neighbour trying to stop me. Thankfully neither my family members nor myself were hurt in that incident, but it is my first memory of having suicidal thoughts. After the incident I remember having an EEG test (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electroencephalography) and another test which did not reveal anything out of the ordinary.
Over the next several years, I went on my life thinking that the thoughts in my head were normal and most of the time I just ignored them. During primary school I found that making and maintaining friendships was more of an annoyance than a comfort.
Apart from the forced social interactions of school, I started to distance myself from most people. I only enjoyed being around a few people, and it felt like a chore to spend time with others. By grade 10 and 11, I had constant thoughts about taking my own life, which I never acted upon, or told anyone about. I suspected that this may have been to do with the pressure of planning my adult life and setting myself up for a good future. At this point, I found it very hard to meet new people and I could only hold a conversation with a few close friends.
After finishing school and starting a job, I started thinking about the future and what I would do next. Life was going well, but I had no goals or targets to aim for. It was around this time that I started to believe that I would never find a partner or want one, for that matter. This didn’t worry me as I was happy to go about my life trying not to disturb others as much as possible.
Thoughts about how I would take my own life still occurred, but less frequently now. Most of the time, the reason I did not take my life was that it would make my parents’ life miserable. At the same time I would think of how I would cope if they were to pass away, and ask myself questions like “If they were gone, maybe I should just let go as well?”.
After several years of not worrying about being alone, something changed in my life. At around the start of 2013, I suddenly realised that I didn’t want to die alone. By this time, I actively hated meeting new people, talking to others, and generally going out. If I was in public, I would always want to be back home. These factors made it really difficult to find new friends, let alone a life partner. This also coupled with various other stresses (such as work, uncertainty about sexual orientation, and a lack of life goals) and made me think more and more seriously about committing suicide. It was about 6-8 months ago that I figured out, that my suicidal thoughts were probably a bigger problem than I had originally thought and started trying to find solutions.
I started exercising more, trying to take in more sunlight and also forcing my sleeping pattern into a consistent rhythm, I stopped drinking caffeine and reduced my alcohol intake. There have been several times where I have decided to drink away my problems, but luckily nothing too bad has come from that terrible idea. While these changes have helped a little, they haven’t enough to stop some very, very close calls where I considered throwing myself in front of oncoming traffic.
It basically hit a downwards spiral though, which resulted in me not getting any help because I didn’t want to continue living, I was in stasis.
Around 3 months ago, I eventually got the help I desperately needed from my GP in the form of anti-depressant drugs and counseling. I’m currently finding this combination is helping me a lot. This type of help feels barely noticeable to me, but when I look back at the last two months, I see how far I’ve come and I can definitely see the difference it has made in my life.
The future looks bright for me and I’m more eager than ever to meet new people. I’ve had some great support from my family, friends and colleagues and without any one of them, I don’t think I could have made it this far, for that, I thank them.
If you have a small amount of time please consider donating to Movember (http://au.movember.com/mospace/7219109). Many men are living with similar mental health issues and unaware that there is a help out there for them.