This is pretty much an exact copy paste from somewhere else but I felt it was worth putting here. 🙂
Our society was the biggest factor to my years of debilitating depression. But I didn’t actually work that out till I was well on my way to recovery. Discovery of this then rapidly accelerated my recovery. I had childhood abuse reasons for depression too but I actually managed to have dealt with these in my teens. Here’s my story to explain why.
Other than the abuse I received as a child I was actually really lucky. I was born in a city but when I was just three my mother moved with her partner to an abandoned cottage way out in the country, no electricity, just about all the freedom I could possibly want, I could wander and explore and utilise my imagination in any which way I wanted to.
School was very hard for me. I was raised very differently to all the other kids who had money, electricity, smart clothes, an easy bath every day. Which all meant I didn’t fit in and was largely not accepted, I was bullied for most of these reasons at some point. So as a teenager I tried very hard to get away from the lifestyle choices of my mad mother and become accepted with everyone else. Indeed when I was just 16 I got my own apartment in the local town. This was really when the depression started to set in. Try as I might to fit in with the social norms I slowly found myself being drained of happiness. Not to mention I was really missing love and acceptance in my life. I had really good and solid friends by this point but at the end of the day I was still returning to my apartment to spend the night on my own, romantic relationships filled some gaps but them ending just escalated the overall loneliness. By the time I was 18 I found anthetamines and cannabis and I marveled at how they made me feel happier and more love than anything else in my life ever had. I never took anything highly addictive like cocaine and I must stress I wasn’t addicted to drugs, I was filling up an emotional gap in my life which I wasn’t entirely aware of doing, at the time I thought I had just caught the drug addiction that everyone always warns about.
It wasn’t until I was 22 that I allowed myself to quit that life. By this point I was intentionally homeless, it didn’t make sense to be on welfare for a home I never would spend time in. I had cash in hand work to pay for my food and drugs and I was always welcome to stay at numerous places. I was a very energetic, fit and sociable, depressed, drug user. I was not a dirty mess that vegetated in a scummy apartment with clothes smelling like piss, I helped people out and did triathlons and fun runs for charity because I could. I was also not a thief or anything else stereotypical of drug users. I knew a lot of people and all of them were happy to see me, actually this was the happiest time in my whole depression. So at this time, as I say, I allowed the people who cared about me to convince me that I had to stop. So I packed in the drugs and got myself on welfare so I could get an apartment, the cash in hand wasn’t enough to achieve this. Once I had the apartment everything went downhill rapidly.
I felt forced into the prospect of going and getting an every day job doing something I didn’t want to do, working for someone who doesn’t care, working with people who are only really your friends at work while serving people who look down on me. Every day. Every day? Something in my brain told me that that life wasn’t worth living. Why in the hell am I supposed to spend my life doing things I hate? Because that’s just the way it is. That’s just the way things are. Deal with it because everyone else has to and also children are starving in Africa so get over it, your troubles are nothing. I tried the antidepressants and they made me feel unnatural, I got a very light effect similar to one of the drugs I used to take, which felt counter productive to stopping drugs. I was also very aware of feelings that did not feel like mine. This all felt very fake and dishonest, I was also not happy with the huge list of definite and potential side effects, chief among them being “may cause suicidal feelings”.
So I got stuck into MMORPG’s. For two and a half years I spent my life inside various virtual worlds. I’d be roaming the lands questing. Fighting mythical beasts. Saving and aiding fellow players/humans. That virtual world had more worth and fun than anything I could see in the real world around me. My welfare was changed from jobseekers benefits to disability allowance for depression and anxiety, and I just sat there having fun and interacting with people. I slowly stopped caring about the world around me and that includes myself. My teeth are damaged forever from neglect and sometimes I’d cry when I woke up because I was awake. Reality no longer was good for me.
Fortunately by this point, age of 25, my mother was not so mad and I not so angry at her. I called her up one day and through tears of desperation, smelling of sweat, grease soaked through my hair and teeth as brown as beavers I told her I didn’t know what to do. I had considered suicide but decided I would never be so cowardly (Edit: This isn’t a judgement that anyone who commits suicide is a coward, in many ways it has to take a sense of courage to take any life, especially ones own. For me I felt like suicide would be giving up, which felt like cowardice at the time). If mother hadn’t driven the 150 miles to collect me in her van to live with her, I don’t know where I’d be right now. She didn’t know how to help me, but I did. I just wasn’t capable of administering the help I needed without help.
I decided the next best step to getting on some sort of track was to get back into college since that was the last time (almost ten years before) that I had any sort of direction. College started about ten months after mother rescued me from my pit. I found the interaction with lots of other humans on a daily basis really empowered and encouraged me. Infact when I started the two year course I didn’t believe for a second that I’d make it past winter holidays without quitting. The support of my fellow students and tutors kept me going. By the end of the two year course I had all sorts of friends and was easily able to engage with life and people, happily, without the need for drugs to provide artificial happiness. I’d even found myself a job that felt like a second family which made serving people who don’t care, a bearable issue. By this point I was able to force myself to be happy with this monotonous lifestyle. I could be happy with it. I will be happy with it. I can be happy with it. All the while knowing that it wasn’t straight forward to stay on that level of happiness, I had to deceive myself on some levels in order to stick at it.
But then a miracle happened. A rainbow family gathering happened right on the outskirts of the town I was living in. All sorts of travellers and hippies from all over the world came to live in a field for a month. Every single person there treated anyone with the same respect as they would a brother or sister. They accepted anyone, whoever they were and wherever they came from. I visited them during the day when I was working evenings and mornings. After 5 days I quit my job because I could not miss that experience, not one second of it, it was only going to be there for another three weeks.
I had planned to return to normality after they were gone. But in those weeks I listened and observed. I learned that real freedom is possible. I experienced feeling love, unconditionally, by hundreds of people.
So when the gathering packed up and everyone went to where they were going next, I packed my rucksack, took my last 10 of pay from the old job and started travelling around the country.
Everyday now I decide what I do. I don’t know what I’m doing tomorrow or next week and I didn’t know what I’d be doing today. All I know is that I get to spend as much, or as little, time with/meeting people. I have more people I love than I know what to do with. Every day is a different horizon. I’m well loved and I get to live by my own rules.
I’ve never been happier. Maybe this isn’t true for everyone but of all the people I spend time with, the ones who are locked into 9to5 jobs are bored and just accept things because they feel they have no choice. The people who do what they like are the most happiest and inspiring people I’ve ever known. I can only believe there’s an obvious reason for this.
We’re meant to live free.
I work when it’s necessary like helping out, chopping wood for my fire so I can cook my food, that sort of thing. I’m just adding this bit really because I know someone will want to suggest I’m lazy and don’t want to work. I have no problem with working, I’m not strong and fit because of magic. I just can not and will not work for the machine or anyone’s expectations. This is the only life I’ll get and I will live it doing things that make me happy, not what people tell me I ‘should’ be doing.
After all, no one consulted me about if I wanted to be alive. It’s my right to be happy and not ordered into file and rank. I’ll never be depressed again.