Mental Health
June 9, 2017

Story on depression, substance use

Compiled by: SNO Bailey

Mental Health Rehabilitation Centre

Depression was like being a deep, dark, hole when I woke up in the mornings. I crawled out of bed hoping that I wouldn’t have to face another day shaded by clouds of sadness. It was as though everything around me that was good didn’t mean anything, as my desire to engage and enjoy the things I liked no longer held my interest. They were meaningless. My world came crashing down, so many years ago, when my marriage became a nightmare. I lived in fear and helplessness, shame and guilt. I felt doomed and troubled by the dark clouds that surrounded me.

To help me cope, I began to consume the liquor in my home bar. This was my escape from the horror of the problems with my partner, my reduced self-esteem and feelings of worthlessness. The elation from the intoxication was short-lived. I found out later that harmful use of alcohol also caused depression. The deep, dark, hole I found myself in got darker and deeper. My nights were no longer fulfilled by restful and sweet sleep. Insomnia had taken over; my sleeplessness made my days difficult, chronic fatigue and irritability were my companions. To make matters worse, I had little desire for food and I began to lose weight. I had difficulties in carrying out my usual activities; I had no interest in work.

I thought I was going out of my mind. I felt like death was upon me. Weighed down by burdened feelings. I couldn’t smile when there was a reason to smile. Whenever I had to interact with others, my friends and family, it was pain to do so. I stopped calling my mom, my other relatives and friends; I didn’t have the drive to stay in touch. I love my children, but it was so hard to take care of them. My seven-year-old daughter thought I did not love her anymore, because I didn’t smile with her anymore. I cried many lonely tears. I didn’t want to hurt my family. I wanted to feel better.

Friends and family were concerned and began to ask questions. They wondered what was wrong with me. I didn’t trust anyone to tell them that I felt like the ground under my feet had moved away. I didn’t feel like life was worth living anymore. Yes, suicidal thoughts I have had. I couldn’t stop the unhappiness, the mood swings and on the days I felt overwhelmed, I felt suicidal. Somehow, I never attempted to take my life; the ideas of jumping off my roof were just fleeting thoughts. I was so scared I couldn’t believe that I could have had those thoughts. I thought how could a strong-minded person like me, with good coping skills, and lots of friends, get depression. I thought I could overcome any problem, but I couldn’t, on my own, overcome depression. My best friend persuaded me to speak with a counsellor. And so I did; it took awhile before I started feeling better. Hope was renewed and my journey to recovering from depression began.