Does this black cloud have a silver lining?
Posted Friday 3 February 2012
Paul describes the "whole weather system" of depression and asks whether there's an upside to his experiences.
Other times, I've spent so long staring at the black cloud that it's got bored of just hanging around above my head and dropped monsoon-like rain straight into my face.
The cloud I'm talking about is depression. It's more than just a cloud - it's a whole weather system, wreaking havoc in countless ways. It follows you around, showing no mercy.
When the cloud descends it's like dense, black fog - a suffocating wall of smog that makes any potential silver lining slip away, deep into the impenetrable gloom. Which is terribly unsporting of it, isn't it? It envelopes its victim and seeps into their brain, controlling their mood, but it doesn't stop there. It tries to infect everyone around that unfortunate person too.
Not content with its cloud-like tendencies, depression can whip up a whirlwind of stress, anger, worry and raw emotions and pelt you with them, like a giant storm smashes windscreens with grapefruit-sized hailstones. You can feel like your head is spinning like a tornado, or you can feel buffeted from all directions by a hurricane that nobody else can sense.
It takes on other sinister forms too. It can be like quicksand (OK, I know it's not a kind of weather, but it's sort of elemental so bear with me), dragging you down, zapping your mental, physical and emotional energy, sucking the lifeforce from you.
But however much it might not like it, my cloud does have a silver lining. More than one, in fact.
For a start, it's given me something to write about. When I started blogging, I had no idea I would end up writing so many posts about depression. Then again, I didn't exactly intend to have depression.
Nobody would choose the wretched thing, would they? I mean, it's... well, depressing. But writing about it has helped me to get to grips with what I'm feeling and to put it into words, and the best thing about it is that it's helped other people too.
The other positive thing to come out of my depression - which, incidentally, is still stalking me - is that so many people, friends and strangers alike, have shown me such kindness and support.
I've learned that there are loads of other people out there who have gone through the same thing, or are still going through it, and we can all help each other. And, despite the misery of depression and the ongoing struggle to overcome it, I've actually learned to like and value myself a bit more than I used to, because the kind words of others have proved to me that I'm really not as bad as I thought I was.
If there's a black cloud hovering over you, chasing you or engulfing you, don't give up on seeing the summer sun. It might take a while to appear, so, in the meantime, grab and appreciate any flashes of silver you can find. They are up there somewhere.
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