What’s the point of depression?

 

**If you’re feeling low, you might not want to read on. No detail but the reality of depression means suicidal thoughts and you need to look after yourself if you’re concerned about triggering**

A few weeks after my 7th birthday, a blood transfusion saved my life. I hadn’t finished the school term, and I liked school then. My younger sister was at school, nearing the end of her first year. My youngest sister was barely 3 months old and needed all the baby stuff doing that a baby needs.  It took me many years before I was able to reflect on what type of emotional hell my parents must have been through. Very sadly, my family had experienced a death before I was born, a very young cousin I never met. And neither of these events were because of poverty, war, hunger, accident, but because for some evolutionary reason – keeping population under control? – the human body is under attack from diseases and illnesses that it cannot always recover from.

This illness I now suffer from has no rhyme or reason to it – an illness that causes the mind to convince a person that they should end their life. I can see it has a purpose of maintaining population but it is a very inefficient approach. On the face of I guess most illness isn’t efficient as there’s no care as to whether the person who gets sick is a mass murderer or a doctor. Evolutionary theory tells us of the strongest surviving the fittest, or those who have adapted to a genetic quirk that causes us to live longer will survive and pass on that genetic quirk. Depression simply makes no sense in that context. It is what fascinates me and what makes it a horror story. Mind control horror. It’s a B-movie plot of the 1960s, but that’s what depression is. And you know it’s happening. At age 7, I don’t recall that I had much experience of mortality. No precious grandparent had died (yet), the one pet we had was alive (and continued to be for several more years), I lived in no warzone, hadn’t experienced a sick friend. And I don’t know that I understood the concept of death, and certainly wasn’t in a state of understanding when I was in a ward in the middle of the night without my parents to hold my hand. I would imagine that if you had asked me if I wanted to wake up the next day to see my mummy, daddy and little sisters, I would very definitely have said yes. I would have asked to leave hospital and have the extraordinarily painful needle in the back of my hand removed as well, but that’s a different point.

Depression at its absolute worst meant that if you had asked me if I wanted to wake up the next day, I would have said no. With every episode, the question is asked again and again. I know it is a horrible thing to hear, the person suffering it and those who are living with someone who is hearing it. I can only speak for my experience, and it is a feeling of such tiredness that you want to be away from that. I cannot emphasise this enough: I didn’t not want to live life, I didn’t want to live mine at that moment, because it was full of the depression voice. And it is always in that moment. The next moment is a new one and the depression voice fades.

But I am still here, and I intend to be for many more years. It is hard work convincing yourself that the depression voice is lying to you, but it is necessary and important, and you are a brave person to tell it to piss off. Well done if you have or are doing that right now. You are brilliant.

Links in About for help.

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