Depression – slow dance into hell (Part 2)

The slow dance into hell, as I said in the first post here, did not seem so bad in the beginning. At the time, it made sense. It felt right in the wrong way and it drew me, like an irresistibly haunting piece of music.

The familiar pain of living

The chorus was always the same – silent loneliness, broken by a thrumming fear of failure and being noticed like a wrong note somewhere in between. It became familiar and the pain of living this way became almost comforting in its predictability. I say “almost comforting” because I only ever admitted that it wasn’t when I was lying awake at night.

I couldn’t go all the way and kill myself. I couldn’t even express it. I coped by simply working harder and harder. The quote by Emily Dotterer (among other descriptions here) sums it up: “Having depression is being in an abusive relationship with yourself.” When I finally fell apart, it was terrible. It was embarrassing. And it was a relief.

Getting back to “fine”

I never knew the sheer weight of soul-sucking emptiness could be as real as the tears I finally cried out loud. The trouble was, even though everyone now knew I was sinking, no one was sure how to help me. My first experience in trying to overcome depression was as messy and confusing as the struggle with depression itself.

A few friends, some counseling, creative therapy, prayer and the unavoidable demands of normal life helped me stumble back into the land of “I’m fine”. And I was fine. For the most part. It lasted long enough for me to finish high school, move away and hope for the best as I offered my broken self, patched up with plenty of “potential” to new people in a new environment.

A broken pause

That attempt ended on an interrupted hollow note. Yes. Interrupted by nothing. There was no warning, no argument, no real words, no accident. Not even a life-threatening crisis. Yet I never thought ‘nothing’ could end something so brutally.

The haunting refrain began again, this time sung by voices that I wished were less familiar. More voices joined in, jarring whatever sense there was in the tune before. As soon as I could, I tried to escape the noise and fled to another country.

Please flee with me to the next post coming soon …

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4 thoughts on “Depression – slow dance into hell (Part 2)

  1. I can relate, remembering my days like that, the rhythm and cycles, development and crashing of depression. Thanks for writing so expressively about it. I’m sure you’ll help others get in touch with what may be happening for them and find the next step towards healing and wholeness. I’m looking forward to part 3.

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  2. I recognize some parts of my own experience of depression within your writing, especially the experience of “the haunting refrain” returning again. Your expressive writing really captures the experience of it. I know the siren song, the comfort in the familiarity of the discomfort of depression. I know how my own experience has so often been anger (perhaps better directed outward) deeply internalized. I remember what it feels like to despise oneself so fully and to totally lose hope.

    I mention my own experience to offer solidarity and to also applaud your bravery. You write so beautifully, evocatively, and in your 3 part series, I feel you have managed to frame some of your experience in a way that expresses something so bleak with such beauty. If that isn’t transforming the darkness then I don’t know what it. Congrats on the start of your beautiful blog 🙂

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    1. Hi Jayne, thank you for your comments and for sharing how you identify with it. Internalised anger is so destructive, isn’t it! It certainly took time to replace that haunting refrain with more life-giving anthems. How did you overcome in your journey?

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