Imagine a small, dark room.
The room is half in shadow; the plain white walls look more grey than bright. There are no windows. There are no doors. There is no texture anywhere and no color. You are pale and white and your clothing too–but in this room, everything seems washed out. Colorless.
On the walls of the room like an old projector flicker the scenes of your life. Your memories are played there and you are forced to watch them like some washed out critic. There is no where to go in this room. There is you and this room, and that’s it. Forever.
In this room is a voice. It tells you that you are small and worthless. It tells you that you are an ugly thing, inside and out. This voice, which you do not recognize at first, whispers day and night about every failure you’ve ever had. On the walls the room plays every part of your life where you had fallen, tripped, said angry things, every thing you had never finished, every tear you ever caused, every miss step that you made in vivid detail. It brings them all up, over and over again going through each one with a painstaking energy that should have gone into doing anything else. You can’t find the strength to look away. You can’t find the will power to not watch and re-live these moments day after day, night after night. You wring your hands and feel the anguish and the shame grow inside of you.
The voice whispering in your head never stops. It tears you down and tears you apart. If you smile, the voice says something to remind you that you have no reason to smile. If you laugh, the voice reminds you of sadness. If you feel confident, the voice will whisper that it’s all a lie. That you are fat and disgusting and no amount of diet or food change or walking or effort will ever change that. If you are happy with something you have made, the voice will rise up and begin to pick it apart–until all you see are mistakes and things to be ashamed of, not triumphs.
And eventually you realize that the voice you did not recognize in the beginning, you do now. Because it is now your voice. You find yourself speaking along with it at the same time it whispers. You are one in the same. So long you have listened to that voice and lived in that room of grey memories that you have given up fighting it. You believe the things you once did not: you are worthless, you are ugly, you are gross, you are talent-less, you are nothing, less than nothing, and should be ashamed of everything.
And you believe.
There is no escape from this room because this room is your mind. There’s no running from your own brain.
This is what it was like for me, every single day of my life inside my head. Day or night, my mind was a room that did not let me out. Loops of things played over and over. Self-doubts and hate generated from within in tides. Some days were better than others. You wouldn’t guess how much I hated myself today, because I could smile and laugh and make jokes and be ALL CAPS SILLY and entertain myself until I forgot. But night always comes after the day and in the dark, whenever I tried to lay down and close my eyes–my mind was a room without windows or doors again. Most days were pretty bad. I was always waging a silent war with myself. Telling myself it WILL be better tomorrow and I AM over reacting and OF COURSE I just need to hang on and get through it and I have NOTHING to be sad about! It’s just me being over emotional and hormonal. 😀
That worked ten years ago.
These last few years when I’ve done my best to remind myself of these things it seemed a limping thing. Tired and over used and ready for sleep. I didn’t believe the things I said. But like the self-hate in my head, I’d been saying them for so long that I said them without thought. Without care. One day that voice in my head that had turned into my own said, “well you might as well be dead then.”
And that is when everything in my head stopped.
Like frightened deer scenting the air.
Like children sneaking out of bedrooms fearing they heard their parents.
I felt afraid. I hadn’t thought anything of the like, so clearly and so rationally in my head ever. It scared me to the core. It made me stop everything I was doing at the time and sit myself down and think. Reallly, really, think. I thought about my head and the room and how long I had been in it. I realized that I could not pin point a time it began. I understood that, yes, my mother had just passed and that I was grieving on top of everything else…But that it wasn’t grief that had spoken so sharply in my mind that I should just be dead.
I understood, then, that I had been living in that room so long that my feet had grown into the floor. That I had stopped looking for windows or doors or ways out. I had given up.
I needed help.
I told Shawn everything.
I wrote about it here. I made myself type it and stare at the words.
And then I told a doctor.
I have been on Citalopram, or Celexa since the 19th of march, and the first five days was rough going from the nausea and a few other side effects I’d rather not TMI into.
But something happened between then–such a short time period–and now.
There weren’t any whispers.
Not a single one. Not a single ‘worthless’ has echoed in my head for several months.
The room in my head is just a room, one of many now with windows and doors and memories that come and go–but never on repeat. There are colors now; cold or sad blues or happy warm yellows, pinks and some grey too–but never the same ones over and over again. I am not talented enough to capture the sort of strange joy that is inside my head these days. I am not groggy or underwater. I cry if I am sad and laugh if I am happy, but nothing whispers to me that I do not deserve any of these emotions. I drop a fork to the floor and my brain does not instantly remind me that by doing so, I have obviously proven that I am a worthless human being that cannot do anything right.
My feet carry me freely from room to room in a gait that is natural and not forced. My mind at night picks things like stories and books–sometimes memories, but never the same ones over and over again until they become torturous–to replay. There are other health issues in my life I need to take care of. The low or high blood pressure. The blood sugars and diabetes. Cutting out as much unneeded sugar and starch as possible–but all of them seem so much easier when I can flit from room to room in my head. When my thoughts aren’t ashamed of themselves.
I am alive in a way I haven’t been in so long I don’t even remember the last time I’ve been in this sort of head space.
My one regret is only this: that I listened to those whispers for so long. That I believed that as long as I carried these burdens by myself and told no one–I would be stronger for it. That I lived in a room made by my depression for so long, that I’d rather remain there and that the fear of the effort of truth and change kept me there for years.
I am living.
One pill, one step, one room at a time.
Originally written on April 2nd, 2012. Shared here on 2phatgeeks in hopes to reach out and touch anyone else dealing with, or living with depression.