THE BLOG

Drowning, Not Waving

17/12/2014 16:41 | Updated 16 February 2015
  • Ruby Wax Popular comedian and bestselling author of 'Sane New World'

I remember why depression is so awful now that I'm back in that land; there is no specific sharp, jabbing or throbbing pain, there is no feeling. This is the sensation people are after when they take certain drugs to forget but even then they know it'll wear off. This isn't recreational it's terrifying. There is no one in your body to even register pain. There is nothing, empty space, whoever you were who lived in your skin has left the building, vanished. I can recall back in a fog that I had a fast mind, a quick wit, insight into others; it feels like I'm talking about a distant relative. People remind you that you've accomplished things I'm sure it's true but then I was someone else not this thing. That what it feels like in reality I know it's not true but this again is a symptom of the disease.

This new me can't read, isn't funny, can't really speak, get up or take a walk. This time I'm not fearful about having the actual depression. Having studied it, I know this is what it is. I'm not fearful that I'm making this up and I can 'snap' out of it. That said, fear is a symptom of the disease; I feel I'm in full emergency mode because my chemicals are in full emergency mode, not dependent on any outside stimuli but because they have started to flood my brain and cause havoc.

See, you can even forgive yourself and you've still got it. You can't think your way out of this disease. It has you, you don't have it. I know the mental thoughts are symptoms so every time I hear a mental bomb drop with a message of self loathing, I imagine each one to be dysfunctional cells that are growing into a tumour.

I did force myself to walk yesterday and it felt like with every step I would fall through the earth but, like a good mother, I kept saying to myself how well I was doing, that even to be outside was a triumph. So, I'm scared but not scared of feeling that I'm losing my mind because I know this is depression and these are the traits that come with it. I know this monster, I've studied it and I know how deep its roots are in me, leaching my energy away. I know all this and yet the anthem of all depressives plays in my mind repeating, "How long will this last? How long will this last?"

It's hard for me to write this and come up with words and sentences because it feels like no one is at the wheel of the ship - so who's writing this? I'm pushing myself to keep going so I can remember what it looks like when it's written down and for everyone else who suffers with this to say this is not your imagination, you are not being self indulgent (I'm fighting my mind on that one). It's exactly what it says on the bottle, it's poison, terrifying and a complete mummification in nothingness. This is physical and some part of your brain is trying, as it always does, to find a reason. For other illnesses when you feel sick there's an explanation - you might say to yourself, "Of course I feel terrible I have an infection, a virus, cancer" (pick one). With dementia at least you might be the last to know that something is wrong, but with depression you're completely aware and cognisant that you're gone and what's left of you is on auto pilot that tries to steer you into the bathroom and find food and that's about it. I feel I'm on a sinking ship and this writing is an SOS signal.