Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Please Help Me, I'm Falling

This post has been inspired by a friend of mine who suggested that I blog about my experience with depression. Hopefully it will be a cathartic process for me.
I have written about that devilish morbid cloud once before (see ‘Shutting the Doors’), but that was more about how I deal with those darker days. This post is more about the symptoms which can often disguise themselves in cunning and ways. I do not intend for this to be a self-pitying blog, nor do I request sympathy. This is about expressing the signs of that haunting black dog with the small hope that somebody else may benefit from it… or at least have a jolly good laugh.

(You will note that I apply a touch of levity to my words as I am adamant to not depress others – an act of kindness or textbook psychosis?)

Symptom #1
Apathy can be rather contradictory. One moment, I am finding every single human gesture or activity utterly futile and deplorable, making me want to free myself from any connection with the human race; the next, the worry it causes can be quite a burden and I feel the tension burning across my shoulders as though I am bearing the weight of a yolk. Can you picture me as a dairy maid? Do I suit plaits?

Symptom #2
Paranoia! At least I think people say I’m paranoid behind my back (ho, ho). I have always been told to not worry about what others think of me, but that would seem to go against my very nature. Sometimes, I am driven by the very fear of what people may be thinking or assuming about me. I was once rather carefree and flamboyant, but over time I began to repress my natural urges as I realised how others may find them annoying. I spent most of my youth being told to ‘calm down’… either that or ‘cheer up’. I was an adolescent of extremes.
The majority of people feel the need to be liked and admired. I have always desired to be the entertainer. I wanted to be the one who made people laugh, to whom people would gather to hear stories or be the one whose talents could be applauded. Sadly, I feel that I have missed out on a number of ‘talent’ genes and ended up with a bag of neuroses and flaws.
And that leads into symptom number three; lack of self-worth…

Symptom #3
I often feel that I am unskilled, untalented and generally useless. The phrase ‘chocolate fireguard’ comes to mind, but at least that has the advantage of being delicious.
Not only do I feel unqualified to be of worth to anyone, I also lack an appreciation for my own looks and demeanour. Recently somebody pointed out that, as opposed to the ‘Law of Attraction’, I applied the ‘Law of Repulsion’ to myself. I simply do not exude any pheromones or any sexual confidence.
I look in the mirror and I grimace at what I see. (I suppose the fact I am grimacing is not going to help matters.)
Those who swagger with attitude and confidence both annoy me and leave me in awe.
How do they achieve that level of confidence? Does it come naturally? Did they perhaps buy it from an Innovations catalogue alongside a Scare-Cat for their lawn and a pair of lavender in-soles?
I know that one doesn’t need to be externally beautiful to be attractive and loved by others, but somehow I manage to remain deeply ‘unsexy’. (Why hasn’t Microsoft word queried that spelling? Is it actually a word? Seems so…)
I often recall a line written by Victoria Wood and apply it to myself; “…has all the sexual allure of kapok.”
These worrying doubts I have about myself have snowballed over time and now I cannot bear the thought of inflicting myself upon another poor soul, so my barriers rush up like hyper-alert border-security guards and keep me from finding a meaningful relationship. I find myself convinced that it would be a crime against humanity to make anyone suffer the insanity of Ben.


The worst aspect of my depression is the way I can often push people away and force myself to become reclusive and lonely. Unfortunately, this only exacerbates all three symptoms mentioned above. One cannot expect to receive help from those who have been shut out. There will come a time when good friends tire of trying; they may attempt to call through the letterbox for a while but eventually they’ll bugger off and go for a pint down the local and will leave me to my own devices.

This is where I need to go back to my predetermined ploys to shoehorn my way out of the mire (mixed metaphors were on special at the market this week) and try to alleviate my anxieties. No doubt the issues will remain there, bubbling away like a ratatouille in a slow-cooker, but as long as I can keep attempting rational thought and examining the stew, I shan’t let it bubble over and leave burnt bits of veg on the stove.

Oh, and the title of this post... Yeah, it does sound like a cry for help, doesn’t it? It was the closest Kirsty MacColl song to the sensitive issue, so I thought it would do.

In a bizarre segue; I shall leave you with another Victoria Wood moment:

Gail: Why are they called ‘Alps’, Carl?
Carl: Well, people go skiing on them ‘n’ fall off, don’t they? And they go “‘elp! ‘elp” but it sounds like “alp” because they all have earmuffs on.

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