I rarely suffer from insomnia, the inability to sleep. But I have it tonight. Rather than toss and turn and wake DH up I decided to be productive and face this aspect of depression. My first bout of insomnia was in high school. It was after I was fourteen and before I finished school at seventeen. I would lie awake for hours wondering when I would go to sleep. I would in turn get frustrated at my lack of sleep. I do also seem to remember that the rest of the family were wise enough not to speak to me in the mornings before school as I was not a receptive to conversation. As I look back now this insomnia was the first sign of depression. I am only realising this now for myself. In my culture the concept of visiting a shrink, therapist or counselor was and is uncommon. Read: you would have to not only think you were crazy but others would too before you stepped foot into an office of the above so called experts. The stigma of mental illness is alive today. Hence the severe reluctance to visit the above offices. I do not want a black mark on my record. I do not want another person to use it as blackmail. I don’t have children but that would also be a good reason not to visit one. Am I being paranoid? Perhaps but that could be another aspect of the black dog. If someone should see you as unfit to perform your duties in a work or home situation then how do you manoeuvre into a better position if your record shows mental illness. Life is not fair. It will not change in a hurry. Mental illness such as depression does not allow for the fact that it may be a hormone imbalance, it could be a mineral deficiency, it could be the result of the bump on the head, seratonin deficiency or something else. Knowledge on the brain and our bodies is still in its infancy and the doctors do not know all the answers. Questioning a doctor’s opinion is a right if you feel that the care is not there. Listening to your own bodies is imperative and a skill that we can learn.
I have woken up to fact that I have depression, or the black dog. I recognise that I have it. I also realise that it will be with me for the rest of my life. I know that I am ready to fight it with knowledge and face it and recognise it when it comes bounding up to me ready to play. I am no longer wanting to play. I am ready to put a leash on the black dog and house train it to know who is master. I hadn’t really been looking at the signs in myself or in those around me. With fresh eyes today and looking back in my past I can unfortunately see many people who had depression and perhaps didn’t know to what degree of seriousness that had it. The symptoms now when I look back were there. I didn’t see or recognise them. Now I am alert. I am ready to take notes and learn from my experiences and become the master of the dog.
Different cultures face depression different ways. I hope to take notes from cultures that handle it best and put it into practise.
Depression itself means to press down. Originating from Middle English 1350-1400. Winston Churchill described it as “the black dog”. Japanese describe it as “a cold of the heart.” Some call it “the abyss.” I think those that have it would rather not. Depression doesn’t not discriminate through culture, race or class. I do believe that once you have depression it will reappear again later in life.
I do believe we are our own worst enemy when it comes to depression. I believe that the person who wishes us not to recover from depression is ourselves. Wait. Hear me out. Think of a large black dog sitting on your shoulder or on your back whispering into your ear that you are worthless, and no matter what you do you will never be anything. We sit there and take it and stupidly believe what we say to ourselves. We hear this over and over again and believe every negative irrational thought and believe it to be true. We cannot see the end in sight to this awful situation. We no longer want to partake in activities that bring us joy. We not longer look after ourselves as we would like, we prefer to shun social occasions and withdraw from life, thinking that we just need space to ourselves but in truth the depression is winning the battle is master over us and not the other way around. Depending on how light or heavy our depression maybe, even an early night can make the world of difference between master and dog.
Kava is supposed to be good to help you to sleep.
You know what? I updated this blog and then found that I couldn’t sleep. I checked my watch. Lying in bed an hour after lights out and still couldn’t sleep. I estimate that it took another half hour to an hour to sleep after that. I woke up feeling like I had a hangover. I had one coffee in the morning the day before and no wine with dinner. So I can’t blame either for the insomnia. Computer screen time could be a factor but I’m not sure.
Faithless – Insomnia