I think one of the traps that people fall into is thinking that if you suffer with depression and anxiety, you will be this miserable person that can’t have any enjoyment in life. Well it’s true that you probably have more than your fair share of sadness but that still doesn’t preclude you from living an enjoyable life. If you are being treated then your chances increase, if you are on medication then even more chance if it is correct and just occasionally your specialist might alter your medication just a little bit too much and for as long as it lasts you can have the best time of your life! Yeah I’ve been there….tragically for me though I just couldn’t handle how good I felt – seems I’m not your average person. I had the unusual sensation that I wanted to be sad and cry, but outwardly all I could do was be happy – I told my shrink that I felt like Jeckle and Hyde. He change the dosage and that put an end to that.
On another occasion when my medication was not right, I had the rather dangerous condition of “blabber mouth”! The stuff just destroyed all my inhibitions, I would tell anybody anything – yes I did get myself into trouble. That all ended though when I ended up in a mental health ward at a nearby hospital. Now that may seem bad but for me it was probably the turning point in my dealing with my condition. Having the opportunity to be separated from the outside world and be with an ever changing group that were all dealing with the same sickness, the same medication ups and downs and some who had been on this journey for many years, put things into perspective. Although I had had the condition all my life, I had not been conscious of all these other issues that now confronted me. I must also say that I owe a number of those people for helping me to see the lighter side of the sickness. Meal times would sometimes be as good as listening to a comedy show as they would relate stories that if heard anywhere else you would say they were just not true. You really learn to laugh at yourself.
Another really good thing you learn when you are in hospital is what an amazing equaliser depression and anxiety are. It doesn’t spare anyone, young, old, rich, poor, etc., nobody is immune. It was also good to see how unlikely mixes would happen, particularly when you would see things like teenagers sharing and supporting older ones or a musician with studs in ears, eyebrows, etc (you know what I mean) sitting having a heart to heart with an eighty two year old patient. It really was an education.
Now from the time I started getting treatment I made the decision that I would not be a closet sufferer. So I have had a lot of “uncomfortable” moments when I have just straight up told people that I am a depression and anxiety sufferer. I have one of those sense of humour where I don’t mind seeing people squirm a bit, can totally lighten your day, but you need to be judicious in picking your targets – hurting people is not cool at all. My favourite was when I had just come out of hospital, people would automatically ask why they hadn’t seen me recently. I would just say that I had spent a month in hospital. They would automatically gasp at the length of time and question what could have been that serious, being all sympathetic. I would just reply, “oh no it was great fun, I was in the mental health ward”. I reckon most people didn’t know where to go with that, or whether to even believe me.
So, you can let it tear you down or you can take the opposite view and make the most of every opportunity to enjoy the moments as they happen – make the most of every day.