Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Statement for my consultant psychiatrist

As regular readers will know, I have suffered with depression for almost 36 years now.  Unfortunately, due to a certain fixation on 'common' stressors at my appointments, my consultant psychiatrist believes my depression to be mild.  During a phone call with a member of the duty team, it was suggested that I write down my feelings and give the document to the consultant.  Below, as an exercise in mental health awareness for my readers and anyone else who stumbles upon this blog, I reproduce this statement in full.  It is still missing a great many things but it's a start.  Tomorrow, I will be handing this account to my consultant, together with verbal testamony from my estranged wife, in the hopes that he may reassess my condition.

I have been advised to write down how I am feeling and how my depression has affected me as I always seem to fixate on the day-to-day problems that face me when you ask me at each appointment which has given you the impression that I have a mild case of depression, if that.

For years I have battled with depression.  Every night I go to bed, hoping beyond hope, that I will not wake up the next morning and, every morning, hating the fact that I’ve woken up.

Even when I was working and had a reasonable income, I could not shake the feeling of darkness that surrounds me and my self-loathing built up through years of being ignored and marginalised.  I am almost, although not entirely, incapable of making friends because I feel as though I am beneath them and those that I do make are users who keep me as a friend to do things to them and dump me when my usefulness to them is ended.

I find myself torn between wanting to make friends and hating the human race and, whilst I feel as though I am lower than the dirt people trample underfoot, I also have times when I realise that I am better than most of the people I meet because I see things the way they are and not how others are fooled into thinking. 

I feel as though I cannot achieve anything, despite evidence to the contrary, but there are times when I know that I can do anything I put my mind to and that I could possibly be one of the most intelligent people in the world.

I feel as though the entire Universe is against me, as though it has a personal vendetta against me, because whenever something goes right for me, whenever there is the glimpse of happiness for me, it gets snatched away.

There is an anger within me that is so great that I dare not let it out so I turn it in on myself, giving me something else to draw me to the darkness within.

The older I get, the greater the darkness within me grows and the less I am able I am to find the little snippets of happiness that present themselves.

Over the past three years, my sleep pattern has become increasingly erratic and whatever measures I put in place to rectify it just seem to make matters worse.  I cannot seem to find any interest in the things I used to enjoy because I feel that there is no point in anything anymore.  Things that used to make me laugh out loud barely raise a smile yet I know I find them as funny as I once did.

Over the last 18 months or so, my mood has started to swing violently although it never actually reaches happiness.  I’ve found it harder and harder to maintain control of my emotional state.  I know I have become a nightmare to live with but I cannot seem to help myself and that is hurting my wife.

I have taken to not bathing as often as I once did and only really take a shower if I have somewhere important to go or if I become so itchy that it becomes a problem.  I go through bouts of over-eating and then eating very little.

Since I phoned to arrange this appointment I have been in such a state that I cannot concentrate properly for more than short periods at a time and I have found myself crying for no reason because the black mist of depression has descended upon me.

I have become so mired in depression that I have hardly spent a night in bed, spending most of my nights lying on the sofa so that I don’t have to bother dragging myself into the bathroom for a shower and then dragging myself to bed.  I feel as though I am better off just sitting on the sofa and fall asleep there rather than move.

Despite all this, I still try to achieve something with my miserable life and, although I have not had much in the way of success, I keep on going despite the fact that every time I go to bed wanting to die and hating the fact that I wake up each time into darkness.
This is the first of a series of entries that I will be posting that will, finally and for always, turn my life into an open book.  I will hold nothing back, hide not a single thing.  This series will be my legacy of mental health awareness material in the hope that it will educate the people who read it on the realities of suffering with mental ill health.

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