Yes, it felt as if I was handcuffed to my house.
Sounds dramatic, doesn’t it? But for countless years, and at times even today, depression = dark fog and black clouds. Recalling my most difficult years of major depression, that’s the way things were.
My life was filled with such overpowering blackness; the black, muddy life of depression. The massive hands took hold of me and wouldn’t set me free.
Days upon days were spent living in my house, rarely venturing further than the end of the driveway. Appointments with my family doctor or psychiatrist became a major production; organizing what to wear, bus route times, what to discuss. As the months and years progressed, I became a depressive recluse. Outings with my husband for dinner or lunch were a rarity, as well as, a trip to the mall. Life was just too dark.
I lost contact with friends, triggering further feelings of abandonment and isolation; that coupled with not having any energy, just hating life itself, propelled these horrid feelings of “who gives a shit”. I grew comfy in my house. Never a “sleepy” depressive, I forever arose fairly early, however, planted myself onto the sofa and spent the better part of the day there.
One day in particular I recall so vividly. To pass the time, I did tune into a few of my everyday TV programs, but this one morning had me glancing up to the ceiling where I spotted a spider. Typically, I would have jumped out of my chair screaming; instead my eyes were peeled onto this spider. He crawled very leisurely and at first, I glanced from the TV to him. Oddly, I turned the TV off and just monitored this spider make his way across my wall. Thoughts just danced in my head about my illness; depression was consuming my life. Suicidal thoughts were in the picture; scaring me at certain moments, other times reassuring. It’s then I began recognizing – an entire day watching a spider crawl across a wall – what kind of life is this? I am handcuffed to this house, frightened to leave; what a predicament this is. Mental illness is merciless and unjust.
I was hospitalized shortly after the “spider” event, followed by additional hospitalizations, a suicide attempt, ECT and a myriad of meds. The years following weren’t painless, however, hospitalizations became less and less, no more ECT’s and gone were the suicide attempts.
Escaping those horrible years with the correct medications, and a more enthusiastic psychiatrist, life became more manageable. I became well enough to actually return to the workforce after ten years, however, had to terminate employment and now incapable of employment once again due to major depression.
I’m no longer handcuffed to my house, no longer requiring hospitalizations or contemplating suicide, yet do suffer aloneness and isolation at times. Like it or not that’s what it’s like living with depression
I do have this blog though, which I love, and that gives me a purpose to still get the word out about mental illness stigma.