A New Diagnosis (and how one size does not fit all…)

I’ve made no secret about being diagnosed with depression. I’m not being flippant at all when I say it’s been easy for me to talk about it. Without that release who knows where I might have ended up. It wasn’t even a choice as such, rather a necessity. Speak up or……..

But something always nagged away at me. I understand we are all different and it therefore follows that each individual’s journey through depression will be different, but. There was this huge ‘but’ hanging over me. Once you open up about depression and taking medication it’s amazing how many others either know of someone or are personally experiencing it for themselves. While much of what they said made sense to me, a lot did not. Which didn’t exactly help the natural feelings of isolation and shame that depression brings with it.

Depression and anxiety are unhappy friends, and yes I have anxiety too. But that as well felt different to me than everything I read or heard from others. It was frightening as well as confusing.

I’ve always been told I ‘feel things deeply’ and ‘I’m highly emotional’. And yes to an extent I am and I do. I’m also quiet, enjoy my own company, loathe crowds and large social occasions. I’m an introvert. But my emotions run away with me. I get very intense and then easily humiliated and ashamed of myself. Why? I thought it was yet another character failing in me, I couldn’t even experience depression and anxiety in the ‘right’ way.

And then I came across a Facebook page called Healing from Complex Trauma and PTSD . I started reading and a light bulb glimmered and then burst into light. CPTSD is when an individual experiences different types of trauma over an elongated period. Often but not always it occurs when children are subjected to abusive situations. It hinders healthy brain development.

I do not have a healthy level of self care or self compassion, I’m having to learn that from scratch. It’s surprisingly difficult. I have high levels of shame. I don’t trust easily. I self harm.  My inner critic is a bitch quite frankly.

I am very easily startled by loud noise, not just making me jump but initiating the ‘fight or flight’ response. This can happen often, even at home. I am tortured by thoughts of dying violently. I can be thrust into childhood trauma merely by a look or tone of voice. My brain is always exhausted as it tries to process day to day life through layers and layers of fear and survival instinct gone awry.

But you know what, even though it’s a nightmare I can’t shut down, it’s a relief. Because now I know what’s going on. I know why I can’t work-I can barely cope with the school run each day. Not because of the organising, but because of the danger I anticipate. From people mostly. I have to argue and reason every day, sometimes from moment to moment. Can you imagine? Yes I feel ashamed of my inability to cope in normal life, yes I am hurting like you wouldn’t believe. But I’m fighting too, battling to get better and not succumb to the darkness.