I received this note recently. A personal account of a dark time.
It happened fairly gradually at first. I did not recognize what was happening, but looking back I can now trace my descent into a very dark place. It began with irritability that seemed normal. Of course I had a reason to be mad, and felt that every angry thought was justified. Impatience. I was becoming more emotionally reactive in a negative way. Critical of others constantly.
Then my thoughts became increasingly flooded with past regrets and resentments. Mistakes I had made. I was at times intensely self critical, so much that I began to feel totally worthless and that I should go ahead and end my life now. Instead I drank more and would watch bad tv for hours. My withdrawal from family, friends and the world in general escalated to the point that I just wanted to be left alone. Mornings were the worst. Waking at 4 am with all these demons in my head was horrible.
Seeing people who were happy was particularly painful. As if everyone in the world was feeling good but me. That is a deep loneliness that I can not really describe. Just emotionally painful.
I finally sought out help even though I was sure it was a waste of time. In that process I learned that this was a mood disorder and finding the origin might or might not be helpful, but I needed to know that most all of my symptoms are felt by others that are depressed. Depression. Some causes are family history. Serious life losses or unresolved grief. Prolonged stress. Medical conditions that might facilitate depression, and in my case, the side effect of a new medicine.
This mood had begun to feel permanent and like I had always felt this way. But then I remembered being relatively happy not that long ago. Around then a small light began to grow and the darkness began to fade a bit. To be able to say to myself “I know what this is” was a big step forward in regaining control of my mood, my thoughts and my life.
I now know how scary this condition can be and feel lucky that my solution was within my control. For me, objective information and awareness was key. I now have a fuller appreciation for the good days and how to manage the difficult ones better.