My last post was in early February. Since the middle of that month I have been a patient in the wonderful care of the psychiatric ward in the Mid-Argyll Hospital. I have severe clinical depression, an affliction that has dogged me much of my adult life. This time though, this particular bout has been unusually tortuous and I have struggled at times to make sense of the world and my place in it. Suicide is a subject many of us find challenging to openly speak about which is why depression can be such an insidiously serious illness. For me, suicide is not a simple 'get out' clause, it is the seemingly obvious resolution to my inner turmoil. The struggle I have in believing that I have value to offer and I am valuable to the important people in my life. My desire for completing suicide offers me a sense of deep and timeless peace - a peace that I often struggle to find in my life.
Thankfully, despite the emotional anguish I experience, there is within me a strong desire to continue living. This is why in mid-February I was able to seek the assistance first from my GP and then the psychiatric team of the Mid-Argyll Hospital. The sense of safety I experienced once I was admitted to the ward was an overwhelming one. At the point of admission there was the usual tussle within myself to follow or not to follow the advice of the GP and the ward staff. However once I made the decision to accept admission, I was able to relax (somewhat) and allow the pent up emotional tensions within me to be slowly expunged. This process has not been straightforward nor particularly pleasant. I have time and again slumped to the depths of my soul and faced my demons head on, believing at times that these would ultimately triumph. These demons continue to combat me and my sense of self as a worthwhile individual is far from complete. My recovery from this depression is slow and tenuous to say the least.
In a few days time I begin a course of ECT (Electro-convulsive Therapy) in the hope that this approach will knock my depression on the head - pardon the pun. It is not known how many sessions I will require but it is generally thought that six to twelve are the normal amount. From all accounts I understand this to be a safe and effective approach to curing severe clinical depression with odd renewal sessions from time to time as required. For me, the prospect of no longer feeling and experiencing the deep emotional anguish I have been is of course hugely attractive. It means quite simply that I will be able to smile with the world again.
I am not ashamed of my depression though I do feel shame when I recall some of interactions with people while deeply depressed. I am happy to speak of my condition in the hope that it helps others who may be experiencing depression or living with a loved one who is. As I have always been told - it's good to talk.