I still mourn the loss of my most cherished follower who left my blog while I was recounting my last stay at Plum Village, now nearly two years ago. However much this upsets me (incredible that it does at all) I can see why he unfollowed me. My writing and my experience of life, more so of Plum Village, had changed.
It was the start of a new journey for me. Out of the depths of darkness that is depression, into a confusing time of change with medication that I never intended to take. You might as well mourn my death as well, as the person I was and the believes I once held have changed.
It is not so much the medication that did this, contrary to my own popular belief, but simply me, deciding to take the medication in the first place. I was always against medication, believed I could get along just fine with a healthy diet, yoga and complementary therapies. To make the decision to take medication was a last resort, there was not much else left at the time.
After I got out of the initial adjustment phase I enjoyed a few months “normality” where life was good and I got on well with the world. Then I began to feel the anxiety return, triggers hit harder and deeper and when I felt myself return to that dark and exhausting place, I literally begged for a higher dose.
Everything went a little bit lighter and easier again for a while, but never again quite so beautiful as when the medication first worked. Once you have the direct comparison between how beautiful life can be and how bad it can get, you will do almost anything to get back to the good time. Your every addict’s explanation for hitting that next high just one more time.
So up went the dose again but not much changed, the little lighter phase hardly recognisable. Then I had my first proper panic attack with blackout and A&E. All tests returned normal. It is clearly all just in my mind…
Then I got started on a different type of medication with terrible side effects, leaving me even more tired and yet strangely motivated to voice my darker inner world and follow my suicidal ideations, with the only positive, albeit not a positive at all, being that instead of bottling up my anger it now shot out of me at any opportunity, unpredictable like a dragon spits fire. And I still had yet another panic attack.
At my wits end I write a long letter to my GP, explaining what I find difficult to put into spoken words, who finally refers me to the local mental health team. I’m in a very dark place, they think it is not because of the new medication but rather that the dosage isn’t high enough.
“Hang in there, we’ll get you the help you need. You will feel better”, they say.
So I’m hanging in there, half dead, half alive. Live has turned pretty meaningless and it is my job that provides stability and routine to get me out of bed and gives me at least some sort of purpose and sense of meaning, however difficult it is at times to focus and put on a smiley face.
Then someone sais: “It can’t be that bad if one can still go to work…”
And the struggle continues, walking on that tight rope above the deep darkness, one minute hoping to make it to the other end, the next just wanting to give up and let myself fall into the darkness, where I can simply give into the tiredness, to sleep and not having to struggle no more to keep it together for society’s sake.
I have so far avoided to write such dark thoughts onto this blog which was meant to be uplifting and enlightening. But the Sacred Centre was also meant to represent my inner self, to acknowledge what is there and let it come up to be healed. This is my attempt to acknowledge this shitty dark place inside of me. Even though it isn’t a very likeable one, it is still a part of me, and it deserves a voice just like the others do.
Another reason I haven’t posted anything for a while is that I seem to have lost everything I have believed in. So this might well be the biggest personal and spiritual crisis I ever had or simply an undiagnosed mental health condition that I have tried to cover up by focusing on the positives in life with the help of practical self-help solutions, which to be fair did help. But I now feel that I’ve exhausted all avenues of conventional and alternative treatments and still feel worse.
“It’s normal to feel like this at times”, is a common well-meant encouragement.
But it portrays nothing of the very “unnormal” struggle inside myself, or for any other person suffering from a mental health condition. So what’s the solution? Other than simply follow my suicidal thoughts, I’m yet to find out. I will sure keep you updated once I do. In the meantime I’m pondering on the thought that I need to allow myself to fall into the darkness and live it because otherwise I will never be able to truly be myself.