Consensus44

Thinking Your Way Through a Labyrinth of Contemporary Issues

What it feels like to hit depression.

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Hitting depression was not something that I ever believed could happen to me, I had been sad in the past before over many things but depression seemed like something that would be a long way from ever happening to me. A few events would ensure that I knew what depression would mean and what it would feel like to be depressed by the end of 2014.

2014 was a year that started off very well, I had already had two holidays by March – visiting the Shetland Islands and Barbados both within three months of each other. Nothing seemed like it could go disastrously wrong. Sure there had been arguments with my then girlfriend and I wasn’t really sure where I was going with my job, but life was simple, I would walk to the train station, go to work and come back. I had enough money to do everything I was interested in doing.

Yet all of a sudden I had a letter from my job saying that I was at risk of redundancy from current job due to a management restructure. I wasn’t really worried as I believed that the correct thing to do was to start looking for a job elsewhere. After a few months of searching I found a new job at a small company, yet after two weeks the job did not work out. You can read my experiences of the post-job situation here and what it felt like to be out of work here.

Two months passed and my then girlfriend decided to leave the house for the last time. She didn’t want to be with someone who was out of work and was not doing their upmost to look for work. So in the space of two months I had lost my job, my then-girlfriend and a large chunk of my self-esteem. Any job would have helped me to regain my life and I remember thinking if I can get back in to work the rest will follow, I will regain my confidence, my self-esteem and my sense of identity. The ‘new’ job never materialised and the weather was getting worse – we were heading into winter after all.

So three months passed, no work and worse weather made me begin to feel strange inside. I remember waking up, attempting to get out of bed, a cold breeze blew under the bed and I thought ‘what’s the point of jumping out of bed, I have all day to do what I need to do’. It was 11:00am in the morning and I thought I will have a walk down to the shop and get an energy drink as it will boost my energy but as we know the effect of an energy drink has a come-down feeling. So a few hours later I felt more drained than before. Also the weather really was unsuitable for having a walk – to reflect on everything that had happened to me and to clear my mind.

Everybody’s first question to me was ‘Have you heard anything yet?’ Essentially this statement was referring to whether I have heard anything from any of the jobs I was applying for, whilst I appreciated the sentiment, hearing this from one person to the next was very taxing on the mind. I felt that all my worth was measured against whether I was in work. It made me feel worthless as everybody around me worked and the only time I would see people in my position was once a week – at an unpleasant meeting at the Job centre. Yet having no money and nowhere to go made this feel like a ‘day out’ for me – to the Job centre.

While I was out of work I did attend two events through the Model U.N society that I was still part of, one was in Manchester and one was in Cambridge, the one at Manchester was really entertaining and I enjoyed being there. I had a good time in Manchester because I went as part of a delegation from my University.  The events at Cambridge the following week after Manchester though were about to make me feel worse.

I was probably the only person ever in the history of the Model U.N to be attending a conference whilst on Job seekers allowance and to be attending such a prestigious University for a Model U.N conference made things seem strange. It was as though I shouldn’t have been there and when I  then decided to drink alcohol later that evening, the loneliness of my situation began to hit me.

I remember spending nearly all day in bed at my hotel the following day. I had no interest in attending the Model U.N conference after the first evening of it. Being surrounded by students who had all the time in the world to be successful perhaps was not the smartest move on my part and the fact I attended the conference with no delegation made the whole situation worse. There was nobody to speak to and I came back feeling worse than when I had left.

A breakthrough would happen to me though. I was offered some temporary work at the University I studied at and also I was offered a temporary route back in to my old job. I was overjoyed and endorphins surged through my body. It felt great to feel like a human being again. The depression was leaving me as I was back in work and not spending all my time thinking about how bad my life has become. Though I was about to find myself depressed again, only this time much worse.

The temporary work positions came to an end one day after another, I had been finished from the careers centre job the day before Christmas Eve, I had then been finished from my former job at Christmas Eve. Surprisingly though I handled both situations  better than I thought and I was initially okay.

It was in late January 2015 that the foul weather coupled together with having dis-interested employers made me feel much worse than ever before. There was optimism the first time I was depressed, there was a sense that this will one day change and I will look back at it all as just a bad memory.

The depression that hit me in late January was without a doubt the worst I have ever felt in my life. I simply had no energy to do anything, even turning up at the Job centre was becoming a difficult task, there were a few times I was late to my appointment, though fortunately due to the very negative view of the people who work at the Job centre of those who are unemployed – they were not surprised and I wasn’t told off.

Drink this time didn’t actually help. My thoughts were becoming more radical I was seriously contemplating working abroad and elsewhere in the UK. Again though I did not have the energy to be filling out ridiculously long job applications. As well I still felt I was being punished by the people who had finished me from my job after two weeks employment back in 2014. ‘Why should I be looking for work abroad just because I’m having a difficult time looking for jobs in the UK’ – I thought to myself.

During our deliberations of when I would get my remaining items back from my ex- girlfriend’s apartment, she informed me that her new job would be paying £25,000 a year. Meanwhile I was earning £290 a month on Job seekers allowance. It was black and white the difference between where our lives were heading. It must have confirmed in her head that she was too good for me and it confirmed in my head what a waste of time I was. It was confirmation to me that she had made the right choice in ending the relationship.

This at least explained why I was in a depression, everyone else seemed better off. I can emphasize with someone who has critical illness but each situation is unique, and by other people telling you that there is someone else always worse off, you begin to feel even more depressed because that message is thus saying to you that ‘you shouldn’t be depressed in the first place simply because it could always be worse.’

The worst time in my depression was finally coming. I had an argument with my mother who I was living with about searching for an item late at night. I had lost my phone and was frantically looking for it, it was nowhere to be seen and the noise I was making in my bedroom unbeknownst to me was affecting my mother’s sleep. We had a bad argument and I went out of the house late at night in the freezing cold willing to give in to the cold elements outside.

Fortunately, my new acquaintance of whom would become my new girlfriend came for me and gave me a lift to her apartment. I now know because of that one act of help when I needed it, I am able to write this today.

Something I can describe depression as, is like being in a completely white room and wherever you run there is only more white space, there is no apparent ending. The odd good thing may happen in the white room such a job interview whereby you visualize the job interview as a proverbial door to enter, you fail to get the job and you not only take it personally but your back in the white room with nowhere to turn.

I do to this day believe the weather can have an effect on your depression. The cold miserable day that you see day in and day out is what makes the depression all the worse, you wish not to enter outside because you have a cold breeze blowing at you (at least from a UK residents point of view during the cold winter months). You stay in the house and you know your family cannot afford the heating bill so the house remains cold. Every single thing that happens can affect your mental health. Your state of mind is reduced to wishing that you did not exist. At an extreme you may consider suicide as it would end the feeling of emptiness inside of you.

I personally have never attempted anything that would be defined as ‘self-harm’ the thoughts were there for a long time but not for any other reason than to end the misery that is felt day in and day out by feeling you have no place in society. I do though understand why someone could be pushed to take their own life. It seems unthinkable if you are not depressed but suicide offers you a choice, of which you have few.

Like myself I believe many people do not end up turning to this extreme act for two reasons, firstly because of the effect it would have on their friends and family and secondly because of its irreversible effect of taking one’s own life – where there truly is no second chance.

Over a year later and a job better off I now understand what it feels like to hit such a low that you are zapped of all your energy and truly live in a void. Yes, there is light at the end of the tunnel. After all this time I can say I am out of a depressed state. I have at most a depressive realism on how I see the world but it neither upsets me nor does it make me feel worthless. The real depression you can exhibit in yourself is unlike anything you else you could experience. Nobody who is depressed does it for attention, they simply have  hit a real low in their life, that will take all of their remaining energy to get out of. Energy of which friends and family need to help to support people in this terrible situation.

Oliver Wilson, (2016)

8 comments on “What it feels like to hit depression.

  1. avanginhoven
    April 25, 2016

    Thanks for sharing. I can relate to every word you are saying, I would not wish this situation to anyone, it is a lonely place being jobless.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. consensus44
    April 26, 2016

    Thank you. It’s taken alot to admit that’s what happened to me but it is true. Hope you can avoid ever going in to it again.

    Oliver.

    Like

  3. Mike
    April 29, 2016

    A brave and honest post. I used to be one of the workers at what we call “workforce center” here in the states and my job was to work with adults who were out of work. Having been out of work previously, I knew all too well how desperate it can be and the extent to which a man’s psyche is wrapped up in being employed.
    I was quite good at establishing a sincere rapport and made many friends with some very good people, much like yourself.
    Anyhow, I get it, and I’m real glad you are OK now, Oliver.

    Liked by 1 person

    • consensus44
      April 30, 2016

      Thank you Mike. I do feel being out of work is bad for either gender however I believe like you – work is the very foundation of who a man is. It’s good to hear you have been involved with people who hit rock bottom. It is also good you understand what being out of work feels like. Long may our discussion(s) continue.

      Oliver.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mike
        April 30, 2016

        I saw people lose their job, lose their self esteem, become depressed, lose their home, lose their marriage, and then have to rediscover not only who they were, but who they will now become with a new career.
        The advice I always gave when first meeting someone was to stay busy and get out of the house, even if they just go walking or to the library. Get the hell out of the house or it will become like a tomb.
        And Oliver I might suggest that your old girlfriend may have done you a favor by leaving. A better woman would have understood your situation and would have given you all the emotional support she could. Just saying.

        Liked by 1 person

      • consensus44
        May 4, 2016

        I agree with you Mike. Getting out of the house is one of the best courses of action you can do. The problem I had was that the weather was atrocious. It was extremely cold in late 2014 to early 2015 in the UK. The weather conditioned the mood I was in. Essentially walking out of the house with anything less than a coat and thermals made it impossible to go anywhere. Being in the remote part of North East England where I live ensured that I was in the firing line of the worse of the weather.

        Had I been say depressed in the summertime I would have easily been able to cope as that sort of weather makes walking and going anywhere a lot easier (at least for me anyway). So being in a remote village would not in this instance have been a disadvantage, but because it was so cold and miserable it was no pleasure in walking in the fields around where I live. At the time this happened I had not yet passed my driving test (of which I now have!) which again made getting anywhere very difficult. Had I been able to get to a city or town more often, life would have been easier. For example I would have been able to attend free events at museums, libraries, the University or any number of thing’s. So keeping myself busy would have been easier.

        I am glad you mentioned the former girlfriend because I completely agree with you. It was strange that after two months of being out of work – my girlfriend decided to end the relationship, everything she was beginning to do made sense. Essentially she noticed I wasn’t very good a talking to her new friends (one of whom I didn’t like anyway). And I remember her asking ‘why had I not opened a conversation up with the three of her friends’. Life is not a romantic comedy and I was not going to be sat in a Jacuzzi pretending to be Ryan Gosling going ‘hey ladies’. But the point I’m trying to make is that I noticed everything I was doing was assessed by her when I was out of work. My lack of job applications (though there still were a few!) ensured she viewed me in a negative light.

        Finally one day I was at my mothers house and she just said ‘I am too old for this I am going home’. After that she wasn’t messaging me and I rung her up at one point and she said ‘can I help you?’. So much for over three years of a relationship!

        When I got the two jobs as mentioned in Christmas I was finding it easier to speak to her. I was doing 55 hours a week in total and had little concern for what she was doing – I was far too bust and tired. The temporary positions ended one day after another and shortly afterwards I had all this time to think about thing’s again. One thing lead to another and by Mid-January, following Christmas, I was in a worse state of mind than at any other time in my life. The former girlfriend in question was doing well and I believe that my situation (compared to hers) is what made her feel better about ending the relationship.

        I have not been in contact with her for over well over a year ago. I have ceased all contact via social media with her and will never get in contact with her again. Something ironically she wished to continue.

        Overall my theory of this depression was this – Being out of work meant being stuck at home. Bad weather ensured I was stuck at home with no way of leaving my remote village, nor even making me wish to exit the house. Being stuck at home with all this time free ensured my thoughts were doing overtime to what my girlfriend was up to in all manner of respects. This then coupled with extreme lacklustre engagement with potential employers ensured I was feeling worthless.

        I do believe if I had:
        A – lost my gf but kept my job I would have been okay.
        B – lost my job but kept my gf I would be okay.
        C -Lost both but reasonable weather taking place, I would again be okay.

        It was just the worst combination of a variety of factors that all happened to take place in such a short stint of one another over time. This was sending me over the edge and this is why I am proud I have been able to get through it and post this. I am happy that people like yourself have helped people like myself and also because you have taken the time to read my words. For that Mike, I am truly grateful.

        Oliver.

        Like

  4. thomassutcliffe
    April 30, 2016

    A btave and honest post. Also, thank you for following me on aspiblog.

    Like

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This entry was posted on April 25, 2016 by in Personal Experience, Psychology and tagged , , , , , .
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