Sometimes, I like to reflect on my life to date. I like to analyze the journeys I’ve gone through, my achievements, my struggles and my life-altering experiences. Actually, this is a lie. I do not do this sometimes. I do this quite frequently, in fact. It also does not seem apt to describe this analysis and constant over-thinking as something I do. It is more something that my mind, a somewhat separate entity, does without my consent.
My mind and I have always quarreled. This was not a new development that occurred once I hit puberty. Since as long as I can remember in fact, my mind has played tricks on me. I do not mean that my imagination causes me to see something that isn’t there. I mean that my mind causes me to question my very reality and worth in this world. My mind plays tricks on me because it causes me to have false beliefs.
Hallucinations are something that I have only experienced once in my life. This was several years ago, when I was 17, and alcohol, a lack of sleep and severe sadness and stress caused me to momentarily hear false chatter between a man and a woman. I cannot even recall what they were saying, but it was not angry or threatening, they were just having general chatter.
Thankfully, I was instantly aware that I was hallucinating, and I did not harbor the false belief that this chatter was real. It is because of this, and because this was an isolated experience, that I can confidently declare that I do not have a mental illness such as schizophrenia.
I do however, have depression. And sadly, I have for several years. It’s very hard for me to pinpoint when exactly I first became depressed. I recall feeling very lost and uncomfortable and useless throughout my childhood. I recall assuming the “class clown” role around my family; probably because I didn’t really have another role; at least not one that I could see.
Depression is a really complex problem, and one which I still don’t really understand. Medical professionals have referred to depression as “a chemical imbalance”. This is probably true to an extent. But for me, depression is a hell of a lot more than that.
You see, my depression clogs my brain’s pores forbidding any true beauty from fully shining through. My depression bullies, humiliates, undermines and uses me. She is a cowardly, mean-spirited evil spirit plagued with negativity and self destruction and poison.
When I feel truly and absolutely depressed, it often does not feel like it is truly me that is experiencing it. It feels like an outer body experience. Because when I am in modes of severe depression, the world around me stops. And all of a sudden I’m watching myself plagued with guilt, emptiness and pain.
And depression is a really fucked up thing. Because it doesn’t make sense when you really think about it. When somebody describes a bad mood as “being depressed”, you discover after you speak with them a little bit more that they’re agitated because they had car trouble or they’re stressed out about a relationship or a social event, or they’re just really tired and aren’t interested in doing anything productive because of that. And after they tell you all of this you realise that this is an isolated instance of being depressed and is situational, and once their fight with their Mam or their other half is resolved they’ll be fine again especially after they get a long hard nap.
But it’s not like that for me. My depression isn’t situational because even when I was a little kid and magic and wonder were real, and things like finances and relationships were shallow and meant nothing, even then I felt depressed. And I can’t pinpoint exactly why this is.
There have been points in my life when things have been going really well for me, and still I lay awake at night having intense anxiety about saying something stupid or embarrassing myself. And the vicious bitch that is my depression won’t shut the fuck up and allow me to be happy. Because for as long as I can remember, I’ve been plagued with complete and utter non-sensical guilt over often very stupid things that nobody cares about anyway.
I often see my mind as utterly paranoid and self-doubting. And when I think of who I am as a person, I do not see myself as having those characteristics.
Obviously, because I’ve only ever been me, I can’t comment on my unhealthy thinking habits as being normal or abnormal. I do however get the impression from the world around me that thinking this way is not normal; or at least, it’s not supposed to be normal. But maybe, most people experience this negative thinking but they hide it so well that people around them won’t notice.
My mind has always been fucked up, basically. And by extension, maybe I too have always been fucked up. However, I do think that creative or artistic people are more inclined to experience the mental turmoil which I’m trying to describe. And because I am naturally that way inclined, I think I’m more prone to it.
My mind is my worst enemy because she’s troubled and negative. But she is also my best friend. Without her, I wouldn’t be able to write, create, film or express myself. It is because of her, that I overthink and overdo and over-analyze.
She is part of me, often much to my dismay.