The Downward Spiral


Image : Mary Lock on Flickr

After two months that feel like an eternity, I need to speak out.

Back in April, I moved from Japan to Toronto for a new job. This is it, I thought, the beginning of a real career, at last.

For the first few weeks, I was busy trying to organize my new life and getting used to it.

Then it hit me. Strongly. Cruelly. Without warning. Depression.

I always thought I knew a thing or two about depression. My life has been a roller-coaster, and I’ve had very bad times. But I’ve never experienced this before… not to this extend. Soon, I was cutting myself off from the world. I stopped eating. I stopped using social media, I stopped writing on this blog, I stopped taking pictures, I stopped playing games. I stopped talking to friends (although I could only talk to them virtually – remember, I’m alone in Toronto). How could they understand anyway? I stopped everything.

Living became hell. Despair, worthlessness, guilt. I somehow managed to fake it at work, but I spent my weekends in bed, crying or sleeping. The only thought of setting foot outside was unbearable. Panic attacks became normal.

I couldn’t believe, nor accept, my total inability to fight. I’ve always been strong… what happened? I needed help.

I started seeing a doctor. Being new to the province, I wasn’t covered by the health insurance program so it cost me a lot of money. Money problems added up to my worries. But I had no choice.

After two trials that didn’t work, the doctor tried a different type of medication. It somehow made me able to get out of bed (most of the time) and to do actual work. So that’s an improvement. My mood, however, isn’t better. I considered therapy, but quickly realized it was over my budget. Seems like only rich people can afford to have mental health issues.

So I’m trying to fight on my own. I joined a Facebook group for people like me.  I bought this book (recommended by my doctor) and I am trying hard to learn from it. I started running every morning, little by little. Which is making me hungry, so I started eating again. I contacted a few friends and told them about my situation.

But to be honest, I don’t feel any of this is making me feel better. Or maybe the changes are so tiny and are happening so slowly that I don’t notice them.

All I know is that every day is a battle. And there are so many times I want to give up. But I must fight. I just don’t know for how long I’ll be able to do so.

I want to write on this blog again. I still have posts about Japan that I haven’t been able to complete yet. But right now, just thinking about Japan makes me so unbelievably sad, I might not be ready for that yet.

Depression is a horrible disease. It affects so many people, but it’s still taboo to talk about it. Incomprehension, ignorance, prejudices… these are still the reactions people with mental health problems have to deal with. Or they choose to hide it and suffer in silence. Today, I decided to scream it to the world… on my little unknown blog.

If someone actually read this, thank you. If you recognize yourself in what I wrote and would like to talk, feel free to contact me.

Image : Helen Harrop on Flickr


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