I read about a depression memoir named ‘Darkness Visible’ by William Styron. I felt inspired and eager to read it, but as I imagined what it would like to write an explicit, warts-and-all memoir of my own experience I felt terrified at the idea.
I realised my fear is this: if I think about it, it might come back.
Why fear this?
- Because it’s uncontrollable and unpredictable, and it feels impossible to come out of once you’re in.
- You just want to lie in the dark and you can’t make yourself stand or undress or eat. The only impulse you have to obey is going to the toilet.
- You don’t want the night to come because it’s lonely and you lie hour after hour awake and restless, but you don’t want the morning to come either.
- You feel pain all the time. Nothing makes you happy.
- You don’t want to see anyone. You feel you would have nothing to offer them if they saw you. You feel like a burden and an embarrassment and a failure of a daughter.
- You walk in front of a car and hope it will run you down. You hope you don’t wake up.
- You have no hope.
- You can’t escape.
I want to avoid thinking about it and talking about it, in case I somehow invite it back in.
Because I feel my recovery was a trick I pulled. I don’t understand how I beat it, I just got lucky and escaped, I slipped out the back door when its back was turned. And one day it might realise I duped it and come looking for me.
Perhaps this is why I have bad dreams, nearly every night, that I am being chased and killed.
Bad things will happen in life, thus I can’t promise myself depression will never come back.
It’s good to confront the things that frighten you.
- I remember that I got through it before.
- This time I know the signs to look for.
- I remember the first step I took to feel better, the second step, the third.
- I remember who I turned to.
- I remember the mass of positive experiences as a result of sticking around.
- I was at the bottom, and I climbed up.
Whether you are suffering, or have suffered from depression – there is a reason for you to keep going. If you keep going, you will discover it.