1. The Downward Spiral
I wrote the blog below on fighting depression just before I had a nervous breakdown at the end of last month (March 2017). I’ve been unable to edit it, so please forgive the quality of writing. It might be helpful or interesting to glean something of a person’s state of mind at this moment.
I’ve gone away to undergo some new, interesting treatments on the island of Samui in Thailand. There are already signs of progress, and I’m working on physical, emotional and mental aspects.
I see the breakdown as the best thing that could have happened. I was going backwards. The first breakdown I had 15 years ago was a shock to me and resulted in my spending six months in bed. This is different. After this, I shall be stronger and healthier than I’ve ever been.
Anyway, here’s that blog, written on 12 February 2017 but which I was unable to edit and publish.
One of the toughest things about fighting depression is breaking the vicious circles that are such a lethal part of the condition’s armoury.
A week ago, I was doing well. I launched my website, was three weeks into a powerful detox, and exercising three times weekly. I even did a huge clearance of my office and was making some spiritual progress.
But in a second and after one mistimed remark from someone close to me, everything fell apart. Within hours, I was eating junk, drinking coffee and alcohol, and work has ground to a halt.
I’m still trying to work out why my reaction to the comment ( it wasn’t that bad) should have caused such a breakdown.
A terrifying part of depression
What is maddening is the way I have let it plunge me into a downward spiral that went something like this:
- The remark made me angry, which led to:
- Fear and panic about my emotions, which resulted in:
- My feeling useless and hopeless, which caused me to:
- Stop doing anything and getting stuck on the sofa, which had the effect of:
- Making me eat rubbish and stop exercising.
Then I repeat steps 2-5, adding extra guilt and plummeting self-esteem along the way. This is a terrifying part of fighting depression for me because I feel I have lost control.
And so, here I am, eight days after the innocent remark that pushed me from the best place I have been in for years back into the darkness. I admit I’ve returned to feeling that being alive just isn’t a great option.
This vicous circle can turn into a brutal spiral
lasting weeks, months…
Does this make sense to anyone?
I know two things:
First (and scary) piece of useful knowledge: This vicious circle can turn into a brutal spiral, lasting weeks and months. It can wreak terrible damage on my health, sabotage my writing aspirations and hurt people around me.
Second (and hopeful) piece of useful knowledge: If I can start eating well, do a little exercise and manage to do just an hour of writing, I can at least slow and maybe even halt the downward spiral.
And this, to me, is at the heart of fighting depression, Why, when faced with this knowledge, am I more likely to follow the negative path?
Fighting depression means fighting myself
The answer seems to lie in my thoughts and feelings, and the reasons behind them. But I fear there are external influences at work.
Internal factors include:
- Long experience of repeated “failure” to achieve anything or to make a contribution to our household income or people’s lives.
- Eating and drinking rubbish that causes inflammation in the body and omitting nutrition that would improve brain function and mood.
- Denying myself sunlight, fresh air and exercise that would have a positive impact on my physical, emotional and mental well-being.
- Lack of meditation and spiritual practice.
- A sense of loneliness.
External influences may be some or all of:
- Entities and negative energies.
- Isolation from living in a place where I know just a few people and none of them very well.
- Financial pressure.
- Physical health issues.
It would seem I realise most of the answers lie within. And I know what action I need to take. But I don’t do the right thing. Why?
Internal fear and panic cause havoc
in the real world…
When I don’t take the positive actions, I add another layer of guilt and self-loathing. And so the spiral becomes an ever worsening vortex of negativity. At this stage, I’m not fighting depression. I’m letting it pummel me.
The result is that internal fears and panic start to cause havoc in the real external world. Paralysis sets in. Things aren’t done. Bills aren’t paid. Books aren’t written. People are let down.
I’m not sure how helpful it has been to express these feelings; for me, or for anyone experiencing similar issues.
I want these blogs to be helpful and positive.
But this is the way it is, today.
I’m hoping these observations will somehow lead to some progress. I’ve been looking into the effectiveness of writing as therapy.
Let’s see what happens. As it is, I haven’t drunk even a single glass of water in three days and am sitting on my couch wondering if I’ll ever go for a walk or write a sentence for a book ever again.
I have feelings that I wish I’d never been born. I didn’t want to feel like that. Not again. I feel so sad.
My breakdown came six weeks after writing these words. Can anyone relate to these feelings? Have you experienced this or something similar? Did any treatment work for you or a loved one?
Please comment below.