Have you ever felt handcuffed to your house?

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.

~~~ Deb

15 thoughts on “Have you ever felt handcuffed to your house?

  1. Ian McKenzie says:

    Yes I did feel shackled, even today I am far more comfortable in familiar surroundings; but for me it was the constant tiredness, the mind just never stopped, totally exhausting. To maintain my daily working life was all but impossible, there was no respite, like the Adam Lambert song said, ‘Like bombs going off in my head’, I just wanted it to end, to stop, to find peace, comfort. Children, family, friends didn’t matter. The effort to stop was unsuccessful, I found the care of a psychiatrist who experimented with finding the right medication mix. Today I muddle through, thankful for where I managed to come away from; but never forgetting. My best wishes to all those going through this horrible time in their lives, please take care.


    • cherished79 says:

      Thanks for commenting.
      You said it well and I hear you with the ‘comfortable surroundings. My life went down the tubes from the first depressive hospitalization, considering I was an accounting supervisor and one that lead meetings, yet after the years of struggle, I was worn down, suicidal and ended up a piece of fluff. I was fearful of running into anyone from work and going outside took too much effort.
      I’m past all of that today, however, I still tend to isolate myself and lost my self-confidence way back when. Yes, to everyone out there, it’s difficult to understand and explain to people what it feels like to sit under a black cloud day in and day out. All the best to you. 🙂


    • cherished79 says:

      Thanks for your empathetic words. Fortunately those really black days are gone, still struggle with depression, but I’m no longer handcuffed!


  2. Callie Artime says:

    Reblogged this on Manic Mentality and commented:
    This post is one I can very much relate to. When I began to fall into my depression, I made no contact with friends, started calling in sick to work, and just spent my days laying in bed watching TV. Last year, around the beginning of summer I started to show extreme mood shifts and paranoia, along with isolation, irritability, anxiety, anger, and helplessness. I became so paranoid and frightened to leave my house, and the only time I really did was when my Mother would take me to my doctor appointments. It was like I was forbidden to leave my home, yet I wasn’t at all. No where was safe or pleasant for me. As days passed, my mental functioning became much worse. Woaaah. I remember sitting on my bedroom floor, trying to whisper and hide as I called my older brother, convincing him that I was being watched, stalked and had someone breaking into my laptop and cellphone. I was convinced someone was trying to kill me, specifically poison me. I believe this is when my Mother knew something was seriously wrong. And she was right, there was something wrong with me. I was in complete delusion. This was the summer I experienced my first state of psychosis. I now know that the social isolation and hibernating made things much worse for me and my disorder. I am happy to say that I can now focus on understanding and treating my illness.


    • cherished79 says:

      Wow, what a recovery, it ‘aint easy is it. I love when people say, “just go for a walk, go to the mall and walk around at least there are other people there, join a fitness centre”. Yeah, right. Perhaps all of these grand ideas are good ideas, but when you’re in the hole, it’s so difficult to climb the ladder out. When hubby used to drive me to doc’s appointment, I would just stare out the car window and be amazed at how much there was out there and what I was missing, yet so relieved when I returned home to safety. A big muddle.

      Kudos to you, you are so strong. Thanks for sharing your story.


    • cherished79 says:

      You sure aren’t alone, and as my title said “handcuffed” although dramatic, you may as well have been. Until you have walked in our shoes you don’t have a clue what living with a mental illness feels like. So many times I get asked by these students who work with my psychiatrist, how does your depression feel, I’ve described it so many times and now I just say, “it’s hell”.


  3. Greg Mercer, MSN says:

    Reblogged this on Big Red Carpet Nursing and commented:
    Social isolation is both a contributor to mental illness, and a consequence. Stigma adds much difficulty and pain and fear and shame to a life already burdened with an unfair share of all of the above. To the extent that we attack the pervasive isolation in modern life, and erode stigma with open minds and open conversation, we can make countless lives that much better.

    Liked by 1 person

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