Deep within each and every one of us is a specter, one of decadence whose intransient nature knows no abyss low enough to sink. Approached from a metaphysical, this “specter” as I not so eloquently put it, can be better understood . Metaphysics, after all, is easier than it sounds and addresses two key question: what is there and what is it like?
What was, and always has been, there for myself was a crippling depression that I was, or never shall be, strong enough to alleviate of my own willpower. It was like a lot of things; poignant, relentless, often at times humiliating, brought about in no uncertain terms by my own actions.
When depression kicks in it becomes a vice that we by nature are incapable of dealing with. A statistic from Mental health Ireland shows that: “one in every three attending the family doctor has a mental health aspect to the medical problem”. As one of them I was told the many forms depression takes and what to do to counter them.
What you will never here is the ugly truth that daily encircles a sufferer. The rigorous relaxation techniques doctors advise when the beast takes hold, I replaced with bottles of whiskey and frightening words directed at the ones I love. Though my father and I have never quite seen eye to eye, he has always held a tremendous dignity when under duress in a given scenario. I cannot say the same for myself, whom at times of deplorable inebriation have directed verbal abuse at a man who wants nothing but the best for an ungrateful son.
Perhaps depression has a mind of it’s own that can use someone somewhat like a medium to manifest it’s nature. It is something I have heard in many help groups that I partook in. The truth is that I whole-heartedly disagree with it.No matter how bad we feel, we should never lose sight of who we are and what we mean to others, something I have on more than a couple of occasions forgotten over the years.
Take it from someone who has degraded himself beyond all recognition when I reiterate my opening statement, there is no low low enough for people landsliding in the abyss. Yet where people who sink so low that they no longer have anything left to lose, hope prevails.
The sad reality of long term depression is that it is bound to get worse before it gets better. For many, like myself, the solution will seem to be at the end of a bottle. I won’t for a second try and convince a person not to take that path, for often a process of trial and error gives you a better understanding of your capacity to combat your ailments.
Collectively, people who suffer from depression can, if nothing else, cleanse their mind for a short period of time. While I may have disagreed with a lot of what was said in some of the support groups I attended, simply being in the company of people I knew to be feeling similar to myself brought about a sense of relaxation. The weekly visit to group sessions became a home away from home, even if on a particular night I barely managed to bring myself to a meeting and did not wish to speak.
No one is capable of beating depression alone, a simple conclusion I derived from attempting, only to become (excuse the colloquialism) the lowliest prick on the planet. I encourage anybody, suffering from any form of mental illness, to find like-minded company, it’s a lot closer than you might think.
I may never be able to fully restore my good name in the eyes of friends, family and friends that I have lost through no ones fault but my own. For all the affliction I carry like Atlas on my shoulders I have reproduced upon others seven fold. If retribution awaits in another life than so be it, no one would deserve it more. As for the here and now, I shall strive on a daily basis to reconcile myself with those I have hurt and willingly offer myself in service of anyone seeking help to carry the burgeoning load of mental illness.
Useful support groups
Aware National Office
72 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2.
tel. 01 661 7211
fax. 01 661 7217
Pieta House (also nationwide, for information visit http://www.pieta.ie)
6 Main Street Upper, Lucan,