Show of hands, who out there suffers from what my doctor once called ‘situational depression’? For those confused about what that means, it’s a depression that is brought on immediately by your surroundings, lifestyle or third-party happenings. It means that if you were removed from the bad situation and placed into a good one, you’d likely make a full recovery.
I believe this; my depression started at the age of twenty-six when life started to quite visibly go downhill for me. I had Cancer through 2010, from January 2013 until May 2014 I was unemployed due to redundancy, the last job I had involved bullying, abusive bosses (who gives an employee a bad review for ‘learning too fast’?) who did everything in their power to hold me back whilst pushing lazier, less enthused employees forward, and finally in 2016 I had to quit work to care for both of my parents. When my dad died it was just me and my narcissistic mother twenty-four seven.
So you can imagine that going from being independent, working a job that paid well to being unable to work and having no money, no good company and whatnot is going to upset the old mental apple-cart somewhat.
The sort of depression I have comes in waves and spikes. Sometimes it slowly builds until I have a little breakdown. I go to bed and wake up feeling much better. Sometimes it spikes; a single encounter, word or intrusive thought and before you know it I feel like I could tear my skin off with the frustration of it all. Again, I go to bed and wake up feeling improved.
Lately, I’ve been learning how to handle it. It’s taken me years to figure out that my mother’s narcissistic attitude, gas-lighting and behavioural problems are neither my fault nor my problem to solve. It’s taken a long time to realise that I have an eating disorder. It’s taken probably my entire life to learn that whilst I’m nowhere near perfect, I’m actually a good person and I’ve just been unfortunate enough to be surrounded by bullies, abusers, liars and bigots my entire life.
Many of my more selfish, ignorant or judgemental traits have been rubbed off on me directly from those abusers and bullies. I went through a phase in my early twenties where I don’t think I was very nice. I would bully people before they could bully me. I would loudly mock, judge and my mouth had no filter. My opinions were never kept to myself at all. Some people loved it (because they were like it and it validated their shitty behaviour), and some people didn’t. Even my good friends had words with me about how I had ‘changed’.
After that I made effort to not become the people who had made it their life’s work to ruin me. The people who had beat me as a child, who made fat jokes at me, told me I wasn’t smart enough, told me I took up too much space or called me lazy despite my hard work.
Right at this moment? I am in a good place. I have switched back to a delicious and healthy low-carb diet, and I have been making exciting life plans, such as section hiking the PCT and living that glorious van-life that I’ve talked about. I can’t explain it, but although it’s taken a few months to reach this point I feel as if I finally know where I am at in my life. Having recently turned 34 I did have a small panic that I was getting ‘too old’ to do certain things, but then I remembered a 70 year old man I read about hiking the PCT as part of his ‘may as well get it done’ list. I’m not just 34, I am ONLY 34!
I am excited about my plans and will take things one step at a time in order to achieve them. First thing’s first, lose some weight. Let’s go!