There’s nothing quite like a funeral to make you think about your own life. This week I kicked my demons into touch to say goodbye to my friend (see blog post 13), and although it was an incredibly difficult and emotional day, it also forced me to face up to the fact that my depression has been in control of my life for far too long.

My friend was a vibrant, loud and cheerful person and to see her coffin hit me hard. This beautiful woman really had gone, and there would never be any more messages shared about our kids, or reassuring me that demons are liars. Of course my grief is nothing compared to that of her family’s, and I would like to thank them all for allowing me to attend the service to say goodbye to someone who I loved like a second Mum.

The hours following on from the funeral were hard, once I’d got my head around the emotion of the day, I started thinking about my own life and how my family would feel if it was me they were saying farewell to.

This period of darkness has been, as I’ve said before, the most intense I’ve ever experienced. There have been many occasions that I have thought about taking my life. Not in a throw away comment way, not in a “my life is rubbish” way, but in a genuine “I cannot cope anymore” way. The cloud has been suffocating to the point of making me believe my girls would be better off without me. When that feeling consumes you, it doesn’t matter what anyone says, their words just bounce off you like water off a duck’s back. Nothing can penetrate the hold the depression has on you and even if you are told a million times that things will get better, you just cannot see it. I felt like this for a long time, trapped in a place I didn’t want to be and feeling like no one was listening to how desperate I was.

Now the cloud has shifted a bit I can see that everyone was listening, and doing their very best to support me. I feel incredibly guilty for making anyone worry about me. No one could have done anything more. It’s so difficult to explain but when your own head is screaming at you that if you end your life this excruciating, never ending torture will be over, there really is nothing that anyone could ever say that would help. What did I want people to do? To say? I really couldn’t tell you, whatever it was that I needed wasn’t anything that anyone could have offered me. That’s not to say though that friends and strangers alike didn’t try, and I realise now how lucky I am to have people who care so much.

My depression has caused me to become something of a social outcast for many months. Initially I and my family were invited to parties/BBQs/weddings, but I guess after a while I said “no” so many times that friends felt it wasn’t worth asking. I’ve not had cuppas with friends for longer than I can remember. As a family we’ve not done some things our eldest has wanted to do because of my fear of crowded places. The thought of bumping into someone I know locally scared me so much, it prevented normal activities from happening such as visits to the park or trips to town.

My depression has always come and gone for years, normally like a switch flicking on and off, and so I am not able to say that any significant event previously has ever resulted in that switch being activated, in either direction. The funeral of someone I loved dearly is perhaps an extreme reason, but the cloud has definitely become a little lighter and the suicidal thoughts are not consuming my every waking thought currently.

It would be silly to think that after such a long and excessively dark time, that instantly I can go back to being happy, sociable and the demons will just disappear. I’ve fought this illness long enough to know that my annoying demons are always there in my head, there is never a day I am totally free of them, but I can honestly say that having hit that rock bottom that everyone talks about, I’m on my way back up.

It’s going to be a daily fight to keep pulling myself upwards, I’m under no illusions that without pills or counselling I’m making things more difficult for myself, but I’m feeling determined that I will do this – not only for myself, but for my little family, my friends who have remained by my side no matter how hard my demons tried to push them away, and for my lovely buddy Denise, who never doubted I would win this battle.

Every day won’t be a success, I know there will be times that the sneaky demons will try and pull me down again, but I’ve lost enough of my life to them and it’s time to take back control.

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