My first SSRI for aaages. Like it says, I’ve just finished 20 weeks of therapy at Strathclyde, for social anxiety, but dealing with broader issues too. And it’s been a real uphill journey – each time I’ve thought I was getting somewhere, along would come some family issue or another to throw a spanner in the works.
But generally, my anxiety’s improved. The only thing is that right at the end of the course, I realised that underneath it all, I have bad depression. I’ve had it pretty much unbroken since I was 14, but I think in my mid-20s I found a way to just ignore it, and pretend it wasn’t an issue. But it is an issue – it leaves me without motivation, willpower, and makes small problems seem big, it encourages prevarication, and when it’s at its worst, I basically become comatose and can’t really do anything.
But all that said, I’m glad I know. I think the anxiety is the sort of outward manifestation of it – it’s the part of me that gets nervous that people will know underneath that I’m depressed. The part of me that is depressed, and wants to stay at home, screaming inside my head that the world is a bad, fearful place. It’s all inextricably linked. And now that the screaming has died down, I’ve had an opportunity to look this place inside me head on, and recognised it as something I’ve had for twenty (TWENTY!) years, and never dealt with…
I’m pretty excited to share this guest post with you from SICBA Award Winner John Lees, a writer from Glasgow.
He was undertaking the free MOOC (online course) called Gender Through Comic Books (which I started but gave up due to not being able to give it the time it needed), and one of the tasks was to make your own comic strip. Here’s what John says about it:
“The big assignment for the course was to create your own comic about your experiences with gender. I was stumped on what to do for the longest time. What had happened in my life regarding my experiences with my straight-white-male gender that would be noteworthy enough to make a comic out of? My longtime enjoyment of TV seriesDesperate Housewives? In the end, I ended up cheating a bit by writing something that may not quite have actually happened to me, but hopefully speaks to my experience with masculinity and the stereotypes and conventions that come with it. As ever, apologies for the ropey art!”
I really like the art!
Utterly brilliant eh?
…but thankfully it’s still not as bad as it’s been in the past. Self awareness is a hard journey, but it helps you put things in perspective when the black dog does return. For instance, while I’m feeling this shitty way, I know it’s temporary, and that I can ride it out if I just have patience. In the past, it felt all-consuming, and like it would never end.
Some links if this is something you experience yourself:
Living Life to the Full
The single best thing you can do if you’re feeling shitty is to get it dealt with. Go see your GP, contact a local counselling service, or even just talk to a friend or family member. The worst thing you can do with depression is to bottle it up – it will get worse. Feelings of isolation are worsened by depression, but talking about it does help.
Person Centred Counselling tends to be more suited to depression and anxiety, while CBT is best for short term anxiety problems, although it also depends on your own personality type, so talk it over with a GP or free counselling telephone service.
Feel free to comment too or send a message if you want to share.
If you’re into weird, 70s influenced electronic music mixed with folk (and let’s face it, who isn’t? ) you should check out Belbury Poly from Ghost Box Records. This piece is a lift from their song “My Hands”, a short, fantastic piece with possibly a sample from somewhere I don’t know.
This is a kind of precursor to me talking more about some spiritual stuff I want to cover – God does leave a space to be filled in our lives, and in the West, when we decondition from religion, we’re not provided with easily available ways to deal with that. Hence spiritual crisis etc.
More on that topic later…
Please don’t call the p’lice. I’m not a knife wielding murderer, honest. It’s a visual metaphor!
This is literally to most honest thing I’ve ever drawn or posted in my life, the deepest I’ve ever gone, and potentially the most self pitying I’ve ever been in public but fuck it, it needed to come out. All you cool and groovy straight guys I know, don’t think this in any way diminishes your importance to me – I’m talking about groups, that’s when I feel it most. The social structures of heterosexuality, that kind of thing. The same doesn’t apply in more structured groups either, by the way.
And if you’re at all unsure of what all this means, or want to know, I’m totally down with you leaving a comment, tweeting, FB’ing or ‘ask’ing me depending on what method of social transportation you’re using to read this 🙂