Depression, hope and liberation

A week or two ago, I had an enlightening vision. I think I was awake at the time, so it wasn’t a dream, although I suppose you could call it a daydream. Whatever it was, I can recall every moment of it with great clarity. Here’s what happened.

The weather was fine and I was standing alone in a local organic nursery, where there is a pond. I was standing near the pond, but with my back to it, facing back the way I must have walked to get there, where there are vegetables growing on either side of the path.

With no sort of build-up or warning, a thick, black-and-purple mist was sucked out from my middle – somewhere around my belly button – and cast to the ground. I knew immediately that this evil-looking fog was my depression. It had been inside me, controlling me, like some kind of possession, but now it was out – completely out.

As it hit the floor, it became something round and solid, with legs, a bit like a podgy spider, and it scuttled away into the vegetable patches. It kept peeking out at me and cautiously coming nearer, but if I stamped my foot it would scuttle away again. It was still out there, but the most important thing was that it wasn’t inside me, dictating my thoughts and moods. Furthermore, it could be repelled if I kept my wits about me.

I’ve been feeling much better over the past two or three months – so much so that I was finally able to reduce my dose of antidepressants last week and go back to the level of medication I was on before my second big bout of depression kicked off last October. I also made a triumphant exit from my counselling. This funny little vision seems like confirmation that I am indeed heading in the right direction.

I love the idea that depression is physically OUT of my body. It feels that way. For nearly three years, it has ruled the roost and called the shots, but now I’m rid of that nagging feeling of constant irriation and agitation. My memory is noticeably clearer, my thinking is sharper, and the feeling that my brain was enshrouded in a dark fog has gone. After the vision/daydream had passed, I realised that yes, that was exactly what my depression has felt like – an evil fog, not surrounding me, but possessing me.

I wrote a few weeks ago about my depression being like a pirate who’d hijacked my boat, and I invited him to walk the plank. This feels like a similar idea. Depression is out there and may try to get back in, but armed with what I’ve learned while I’ve had this vile, miserable illness, I am better equipped to keep it at bay, whether it’s a persistent pirate or a scuttling spider. It’s definitely better out than in.

In my blog posts about depression, I’ve often referred to this dark force as ‘Paul Brookes’ – a shadowy puppeteer manipulating my mind to do his foul bidding. Now I’ve imagined this wicked mist, I don’t feel it deserves a name. It is a toxic fog, not a person with a face and a personality. I’ve certainly heard it speaking far too often for my liking, as it slyly whispers “you’re not good enough” and encourages me to get angry, take everything personally and re-run imaginary arguments and worse-case scenarios in my mind when I am trying to sleep.

The voice still chirps up from time to time, but it’s easier to silence. The negative thoughts pop up now and again, but they can more readily be banished. This is my resurgence and Brookes’s demise. Still accompanied by my trusty sidekick, Citalopram, I am stepping out into the Promised Land Beyond Depression, and I like it.

Will every day be perfect? Well no, of course it won’t, but I can accept that now – and I know that there will be plenty of good times ahead. Brookes is history. Brook is the future.


13 Comments on “Depression, hope and liberation”

  1. I wish you could bottle this.

  2. I think I need to read through your blog!
    I found this post via a retweet on Twitter and I’m glad that I did. My challenge is building up resiliency and something approaching a tool kit (or a set of battle armor) where I can kick it into touch when it rears it’s head.
    Thanks for such an encouraging read 🙂

  3. Sadly, for those whose moods go up as well as down, the experience of emerging from depression is a rather different one:

    Knowing that one’s mood is going in the other direction, one has to stop something like citalopram, and cannot keep it as a maintenance dose, because it is otherwise just propelling one more quickly in a direction whose other dangers (financial and relationship risks, amongst others) have been experienced before.

    (Yes, lithium helps, but only so far.)

    • paulbrook76 says:

      I can’t really comment on bipolar as it’s not something I’ve experienced. Hoping I won’t need a maintenance dose eventually, but doctor remains keen for me to stay on it for a while, just to make sure I stay stable.

  4. Shawn says:

    breaking news – A mind controlling pirate puppeteer which is an evil black-and-purple podgy spider made of fog named Paul Brookes runs amok in local organic nursery – film at 11.

    I am glad that your grip on hope has remained stronger than this things grip on you. I am glad to read your words. Hope is such a difficult and frightening thing in itself and you have fought hard to maintain it and your sense of self. May you be blessed as you walk away with continued healing, strength and hope.

    But please warn people about what nursery that thing is in cause it sounds brutal.

    • paulbrook76 says:

      Thanks Shawn. Much appreciated. Yeah, I hope the Spider Beast isn’t terrorising any innocent visitors… when you put together all those descriptions, it does sound like a monstrous entity. No wonder it’s given me a hard time!

  5. […] coming off the medication is tough. For an impatient patient, it seems like a never-ending war. But liberation from depression is […]

  6. […] I do still get feelings and moods that have that familiar darkness to them, and I wonder if the black fog is creeping […]

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