Perhaps the most difficult aspect of this is that those voices shout loudest when I am lowest & least able to handle them.
My daily battle with depression has been a constant one since February & certainly full or surprises!
I have recently managed to recognise that things are likely to go rapidly downhill when I am having to hold two conversations at the same time: one with the dominant negative thoughts in my head & one with the person to whom I’m speaking.
This is a wearing & often invisible battle due to the air of confidence I add to my voice.
The very time I most need help is the exact same time that I feel least able or motivated to do ask for it!
Talk about self-sabotage! But that often goes with the illness & can be a real contributor to a sense of isolation & helplessness & one of the main reasons we fall below most people’s radar.
The over-riding effect is that I end up believing the negative rubbish that seems to relentlessly assail me when I least need to believe it & also when I have least energy to fight it.
It is at these times when any factions of low self-esteem also seem to join forces & attack as a single unit, with impressively destructive effects.
So is there any way that I can tackle these?
This week I started putting together a network of people who I can text or call when I hit a crisis. At such times I rarely have the energy or inclination to make a personal call to ask for help, though using texts doesn’t seem quite so difficult. After discussions with my lovely counsellor we agreed that it was better to have a larger group so that if some individuals couldn’t respond for whatever reason, there was a greater chance that at least one person could reply (by text, call or visit). By having a larger group of people who have actively agreed to help, it also takes the pressure off just one or two people to provide all of the help.
Interestingly, only one person in this support network is a professional with experience in depressive illness (my counsellor). The rest are mainly people with not even personal experience of depression; just people who are willing to offer the support requested.
What I am after in these situations is not necessarily counselling, but evidence to counter the rubbish that’s happening in my head at a time when I have seemingly little or no control.
It provides me with rapid feedback which challenges the “You don’t matter” loop playing in my head at these times, with “I’m here; I’ve seen your message & I care enough to respond” & that is often all I need to hear.
I have written today’s entry from my personal perspective because it is something I have implemented for my own safety & to assist with my recovery. It was first used just one day after I had set it up & I can honestly say that the benefits were potentially life-saving.
I do not suggest that it will solve all of my problems or win all of my battles, but it is a real weapon as I continue to find the path to full recovery.
If you are struggling in any area of your life, such a network of support may be just what you need to put a safety net beneath you & enable you to move forward; just be careful & wise in whom you choose as members of the network …
Until next time …