Behind Closed Doors: An Inner Battle

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You can send your BCD submissions to behindcloseddoors@live.co.uk and we promise that you’ll remain anonymous throughout the entire process.

Where to begin. So many thoughts spiralling around my mind, coursing through my head, tormenting me, teasing me, pulling me relentlessly into the abyss. Silencing my screams, my pleas for help that echo through the empty hallways of my soul until they become instead that mocking voice of doubt, questioning whether anything I feel is really real. Telling me that I don’t matter, that nothing matters anymore.

I don’t know what to do. I am so tired of feeling like this. Of really really just wanting someone to come and give me a hug, to hold onto me whilst I sob into their shoulder, but instead remaining isolated, paralysed. I find myself enveloped by the anguish of never reaching out for help that is so close by. A text that says ‘Do you need support? Let me know if you need to talk, anytime.’  And whilst every fibre of my being is screaming out ‘Yes. Yes I need help. I want support. Please. please,’ I know that I won’t ask. That unless they come and knock on my door when I am falling apart, when the carefully constructed veneer that I am coping has fallen away, I will struggle on. Why? Because I can’t bear to burden anyone with something that is all my fault. I am lazy, I am a fraud. I deserve to be unhappy and anyway I am ok.

Yes, the blanket of terrible fear and despair closes in and suffocates me regularly, and at times I feel like a dark and deadly poison is coursing through my veins tainting every cell in my body, but there are in between times which are not so bad. After all I am still going to work, still smiling, still laughing, sleeping fine. Sometimes things feel okay and the weight upon my chest seems to ease a little. I start to think positively; dare to imagine things I could do to make life better, to become the person I would like to be.

But this glimmer of hope is what my inner demons have been waiting for. They seize upon my transient happiness, transforming relief into guilt as they gleefully brandish at me this clear evidence that I am fine, and I feel so foolish and ashamed for letting myself think I was depressed, for feeling so desperate.

And surely if I really had depression this time, I would be glad when things are not so bad? So perhaps I am cowering behind this illness as an excuse, clinging on to a reason for my failings because I cannot face up to how selfish I really am, always focused on how awful I feel. For although I am so grateful and relieved when the pitch black shifts to something that is all my fault. I am lazy, I am a fraud. I deserve to be unhappy and anyway I am ok.

Yes, the blanket of terrible fear and despair closes in and suffocates me regularly, and at times I feel like a dark and deadly poison is coursing through my veins tainting every cell in my body, but there are in between times which are not so bad. After all I am still going to work, still smiling, still laughing, sleeping fine. Sometimes things feel okay and the weight upon my chest seems to ease a little. I start to think positively; dare to imagine things I could do to make life better, to become the person I would like to be.

But this glimmer of hope is what my inner demons have been waiting for. They seize upon my transient happiness, transforming relief into guilt as they gleefully brandish at me this clear evidence that I am fine, and I feel so foolish and ashamed for letting myself think I was depressed, for feeling so desperate.

And surely if I really had depression this time, I would be glad when things are not so bad? So perhaps I am cowering behind this illness as an excuse, clinging on to a reason for my failings because I cannot face up to how selfish I really am, always focused on how awful I feel. For although I am so grateful and relieved when the pitch black shifts to grey, that crack of light filtering into my void brings with it the harsh, stale sting of reality.

One mindset morphs seamlessly into another. Fear, terror, the gut-wrenching certainty that life cannot go on, that I cannot exist anymore through the pain, give way instead to the terrible guilt that gnaws at me all the time, to the slightly more subtle but constant sense of dread that is so familiar I can’t imagine life without it, to the knowledge that I will just carry on because that’s what I have been doing for so long.

And if I can carry on then I’m not that depressed right? Things must be ok. When I think I can’t get up and face the day, when it is late afternoon and I am still sitting here motionless, having achieved nothing, I am allowing myself to do this because I want to perpetuate what I perceive as depression, because life without it would be unthinkable. Then I would have to be accountable for every mistake, responsible for my part in the world.

I cannot see a way out of this state of existing. I know I should make an effort (not least for the sake of my loving and supportive family) but I am so fed up of trying, so exhausted with the constant inner battle that I can’t bring myself to care enough to want to change. The future hangs oppressively as endless days to be grey, that crack of light filtering into my void brings with it the harsh, stale sting of reality.

One mindset morphs seamlessly into another. Fear, terror, the gut-wrenching certainty that life cannot go on, that I cannot exist anymore through the pain, give way instead to the terrible guilt that gnaws at me all the time, to the slightly more subtle but constant sense of dread that is so familiar I can’t imagine life without it, to the knowledge that I will just carry on because that’s what I have been doing for so long.

And if I can carry on then I’m not that depressed right? Things must be ok. When I think I can’t get up and face the day, when it is late afternoon and I am still sitting here motionless, having achieved nothing, I am allowing myself to do this because I want to perpetuate what I perceive as depression, because life without it would be unthinkable. Then I would have to be accountable for every mistake, responsible for my part in the world.

I cannot see a way out of this state of existing. I know I should make an effort (not least for the sake of my loving and supportive family) but I am so fed up of trying, so exhausted with the constant inner battle that I can’t bring myself to care enough to want to change. The future hangs oppressively as endless days to be got through and I sometimes wonder why I am bothering when it all seems so pointless. I am overwhelmed by the terrible shame of feeling like this; I have so much, I am so lucky. I am wasting a life that someone else could do so much with.

If I were to read these words written by someone else I would probably be the first to say you need help, be kind to yourself. Maybe one day I will be able to truly believe this about myself.

 

All that I know is I’m breathing
All I can do is keep breathing.
All we can do is keep breathing.’

~ from Keep Breathing by Ingrid Michaelson

Categories: Behind Closed Doors
10 interesting thoughts on this

10 Comments

  1. Bex - Ginger Bee
    Posted November 10, 2014 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    Wonderful Anon,
    I don’t have a way with words so I apologise if this comes across as blunt! I absolutely know how you feel – everyone suffers with depression differently but the feeling of hopelessness is universal – I don’t know if I have your phone number or email, but, this is me, one person to another who struggles, texting you saying, I’m here, if you need support say, and all you need to do is reply with cake, or tea, or hug or anything and I will be there – I don’t know where you are but I will travel – its so so so important we support each other – you’re allowed to lean on people – its good for you and for them – we all like to be needed! seriously, if you want to talk or text or email, AOW lovely ladies can give you my details – or they’re not that hard to find! I wish I could knock on your door with cake and a hug and the space and time to just be – you don’t have to talk about anything you don’t want to, but you don’t have to be alone. Its not a burden – its an honour to be able to listen. I’m sorry I’m rambling – I’m here, as I’m sure others are – please use us. thank you for being so brave xxx

  2. deltafoxtrotcharlie
    Posted November 10, 2014 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    If there’s one thing I know, its this

    DEPRESSION LIES

    Depression loves its own company and will do anything to keep it.

    You DO deserve help, you DO deserve to feel better. THIS IS NOT YOUR FAULT.

    Please, please go to your GP.

    • Bex - Ginger Bee
      Posted November 10, 2014 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

      yes! this, depression does lie

    • Posted November 10, 2014 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

      This. Everything here. You deserve help. Please get it x

  3. amy
    Posted November 10, 2014 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    You need help, be kind to yourself.

    (and I always have an ear/shoulder available) x

  4. Beth
    Posted November 10, 2014 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

    I happened to hear about a website today which posts letters from people who have recovered from depression addressed to those currently suffering. It’s called therecoveryletters.com

    Sharing in case it could help you take another step towards believing you need and deserve help.

    Love xxx

  5. kate g
    Posted November 11, 2014 at 12:12 am | Permalink

    The inside unseen things that feel broken are the hardest to acknowledge but you have managed to do this. Writing it down may have helped you. Maybe write a hundred times over “I need help” and it might get you take that next step. I hope you can. Help is there for you . Sending love x

  6. Anon
    Posted November 11, 2014 at 12:43 am | Permalink

    Thank you so much for your lovely responses – I am really moved by your support (esp as I have been panicking all day that I really shouldn’t have submitted this post at all!) I am seeing my gp and he is very supportive, it’s just so hard when the negative voices are so completely all-consuming.

    I am going to read your encouraging replies over and over as they make me feel less like a fraud and more that I do deserve help. This is an incredible community and I am so grateful to AOW for this space where I have been able to say things I can’t say to anyone else – thank you.

  7. Posted November 15, 2014 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    send big hugs from france

  8. Posted April 8, 2016 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    These words, this is *exactly* how I was feeling in Jan/Feb, can you see into my brain?!
    I finally realised I actually wasn’t coping at all and I managed to get some anti depressants and life has radically changed for the better, I function like a normal human being for the first time. I feel like I’ve been living in the black cloud since I was about 13, I’m now 37 and the sun has come out again!
    Please ask for help, don’t think that it’s ‘not really depression, just a bit of low mood’ like I did, the medical profession, your friends and family want to see you well! Xx

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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