When my doctor signed me off from work for two weeks with depression, his words of advice were:
“Some people suffer differently, some will feel better after a couple of weeks, and for some it could take years”.
I remember thinking ‘it’s not going to take that long for me, I had things to do, I had a life to live, I had to work, I was going places… How little I knew then, and here I am 9 years later, still depressed, still on pills, but somehow life is better.
Within the second week, I experienced another panic attack, though not as bad as the first, it was enough to frighten me. Things that I would have been willing to do before, now scared me, and over the years I experienced many more attacks. However, these seemed to be brought on by people and their actions, rather than any self-based anxiety.
Over the next few months, I took a long hard look at myself, and my life to date. During my silent years, I began the healing process. I was still very angry, very anxious and very fragile. This close scrutiny helped me to understand that I hadn’t only been depressed from the date of diagnosis, but instead had been depressed for most of my life. And the shadow of that thought engulfed me for quite a while.
It was a real revelation, recognising that it had sprung from my childhood, continued into my adolescence, and then my adult life, up to now. Rekindled painful reminders of the things that had happened or been said to me, things I had tucked away, resurfaced.
My little demons, that I had hugged so closely, and carried around for so long, had one by one again presented themselves, for me to face, to overcome or deal with. It took me a while to understand, but then I realised that unless I addressed each and every one of them, they would never go away, and would always crop up again at any point in my life.
I had been so angry with my ex employers for the way they had treated me, they had overloaded me with work, and just expected me to cope; in spite of my real tears, and cries for help. They had allowed me to work under extreme pressure, still producing the goods for them, being the honest spokesperson that I was.
But what they had not expected was that I would fight back. The lies they told, and the ignorance they hid behind to protect themselves, astounded me. Each time they called me in for a “back to work” chat, was just another opportunity for them to have another go, and undermine my self-confidence. They knew what they had done and it had been witnessed over and over by my colleagues.
And so though I felt physically weakened, my resolve grew stronger, I was not about to let them off the hook that easily. So after 12 months of this coming & going, I had my last meeting and walked away feeling a minor triumph.
That was indeed the last straw that finally broke my back. But in all fairness, looking back I realised that all my previous employers were equally guilty. As all of them had in one way or another, exploited my ambition, my skills, hardworking attitude, and had abused my good nature.
The trouble was, I always gave 110%, and they fed me with empty promises, which I foolishly kept on eating.
As I chipped away at myself, this anger was in turn also directed to people much closer to me, the one’s who should have noticed. But that in itself, is another story…
Note: Originally written for my previous blog “Journey through a painful body and a depressed mind”. A blog I created as part of my healing process. Sx 🙂