• Mike Douglas

Christmas with Depression


'Happy Christmas' Strangely I already feel the sadness slipping away. Sitting here on a little mini sand pile on Bournemouth Beach at 5.45am Christmas morning.

I have been planning on doing something different this Christmas for a while. Unfortunately the original plan of a European hostel became unworkable as I changed jobs and had bills to pay. So camping was my next idea. I thought it sounded great, I already have all the things I would need; tent, sleeping bag, many jumpers and a borrowed camping stove. Additionally I thought this would require very little planning and a last minute decision could be made. As time passed I did come to realise that this wouldn't be quite as cost free as I had first thought. Petrol and possibly / probably pitch fees. However it was not just the cost that in the end led to me reconsidering this, eventually deciding against camping. Those that have seen my previous blog posts will be aware that I am struggling with depression and have had thoughts of self harm. These thoughts have become more regular occupants of my mind. Because of this the idea of spending two days alone in a tent reading and writing started to seem more like a dangerous idea rather than a pleasant one. This is when I came up with the (next great) idea of sleeping at home and then coming to the beach early in the morning; spending some time here and seeing the sun rise. I can still read and write, I just will not be sat in the protective bubble of a tent. Despite having four layers on and tucking my jeans into my socks, its pretty flipping cold at this time of the day at the beach! But I am loving it, and as I said for the moment at least it has allowed me to be happy. Christmas, it is a time of year I have always loved. More than any birthday, Christmas was the best time of the year. The lights, the songs, the films, seeing friends; it was the best...It was. This year is different, yes it is my first really as a single adult and the first since the end of a long term relationship. That is what those around me are thinking I can see, I know it. This year Christmas was always going to be hard. But, it is not that, it, this, is different... its more. I can and could be on my own. I quite like my own company and I have loved Christmas all my life. It is this depression, I have not wanted to acknowledge it. But I see it clearer now. I see what it has taken from me. How it has changed me. There are many reasons, known and unknown which will have led to this happening I suppose. But the things that I once enjoyed are now torture. The music and lights that have always brought a smile to my face, now bring tears to my eyes and sadness to my soul. I recently saw an image trying to depict depression. There where two bodies, one with sadness inside, the second had sadness, anxiety and a lot of other words (Ive looked for the image but can't find it again). Under the first image the caption reads "This is what you think depression is". Then under the second image the caption is "This is what depression is". I agree it can be and include a lot of different things. But for me, most of the time I am feeling depressed, it is that first body. I feel filled with deep sadness. There is no reason, nothing in my mind the emotion just takes over my body and my mind. Its 'funny' writing how you feel can be a tricky one, especially when your not sure how you feel. At the moment I guess I feel almost like there are two of me. The first person is the person that everyone knows and recognises. The happy smiley me. The me that I feel less often, the me that I struggle to hold on too. The second is someone I have kept hidden, but they are intruding on more of my life. I still keep them hidden from others, I think, they are unhappy, sad, depressed, unsure and has thoughts of self harm. This is the internal struggle that has become my life. In the last two days I would say I have also experienced anxiety, because of Christmas related activities and commitments. I feel the effect it has on my body. I feel my breathing change, I feel my heart beat much faster, I feel the unsteadiness in my step, I feel my hand shake. I feel the effect. I would say that anxiety has not been part of my depression until now. So I am hoping that after Christmas has passed this will subside. At the start of December I visited my GP who prescribed me antidepressants. I have been apprehensive about taking them, and continue to battle without them. However I think that the recent changes in my thought processes have made me rethink this. I have phone consultation on the 29th and at that point I think it will be good to re-evaluate where I am. I may write a separate post about my medication thoughts and fears. Well, that's it from the beach, although Ill type this up at home... I hope you have / had a Merry Christmas and found your own happiness in there somewhere.

OK, so I have since noticed that I have missed a 'T', but at the time (around 6-7am) I thought it looked great. Links that you may find useful; MIND The Dark Place Podcast - @darkplacepod

#MentalHealth #Depression

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