3, 2, 1, aaand Depression!

September: Denial
I am not depressed. Girl please, everybody has low moods and experiences periods of deep sadness. That’s not depression!
Okay, how long has this period lasted then?
Look, I’ve been stressed of recent, OK? Internship is very stressful, you know. This is a normal response in turn.
7 months, Denise. 7!
7 months is not that long a time.
What about the changes in your sleeping habits?
You can’t exactly call those “changes,” I mean, I’ve always loved sleeping. If I can squeeze in an extra hour or so, I will alw-
You slept for 18 hours last Saturday alone, for goodness’ sake! It started gradually increasing from 8, to 12 a day and now you’re easily doing 16 hours a day when you’re not at work. And you wake up exhausted every time; there’s no rest in all those hours of sleep.
Look, it’s not depression. I’m just sad and a bit lonely but that will pass. I have no reason to be depressed.
But-
I said it will pass! Leave it be OK?

January: Anger
What the fuck is wrong with me?
You’re de-
Shut up! I wasn’t talking to you. I mean, no offense yeah, but you’re just that random voice in my head. You’re me; how could you basically know what’s wrong with me if I don’t?
Well for starters, I’m always more practical.

……
Ok, true but that doesn’t answer my question. What the hell is wrong with me? I am a terrible person; I hate this! I hate the world!
You’re feeling like this because you’re seeking control of something, anything in your life but can’t find it anywhere so instead of facing it, you’re lashing out.
But I…I should have better control than that. I can’t keep shutting out all my friends and lashing out at those closest to me. Even if I’m depressed, that’s no excuse!
You wouldn’t really know that considering that you’re running away from that fact. What do you suppose is acceptable behavior for someone who’s depressed?
I don’t know. I mean, I should be able to be a good friend and lover regardless, right? What do I have to be depressed about anyway? I have a job and I am functioning well enough. I have good friends and a boyfriend and it’s going well for me. It’d be pretty darn ungrateful of me to be depressed-
Er, that’s not how this works and you know that. Besides, consider all those deep-seated emotions and buried memories like when yo-
I don’t wanna think about those! There’s a good reason they’re to remain buried. Ah, this is pointless.

February: Denial
Remember that these stages don’t follow a particular order. One can make progress but regress in just a short period of time.
Yeah, I don’t think I’m depressed, I mean, I am happy now. See? There was nothing to worry about.
Oh my dear girl. You have no idea.
I’m going to start ignoring you from now on and probably talk to my friends about all these doubts. They’ll help get me out of my head.
Now see, that’s just rude.
Perhaps but don’t you think that I’ve gotten pretty weird having discussions with the voice in my head?
You enjoy them, you know that. Besides, who’s to say that others don’t have them as well? You’re probably just different because you speak out loud to yourself.
chuckle True.

May: Depression
There’s something wrong with me, isn’t there?
Denise…
No, I mean there must be something wrong with me, right? I was happy just yesterday but now I can’t stop crying. What’s going on with me?
Sweetie, you’re depressed
But why am I depressed? It’s the loneliness isn’t it? It has to be. But how can I beat it?
You could make plans with friends
My friends aren’t responding to my messages.
They might be busy you know.
For weeks? That doesn’t make any sense!
Wait, you haven’t tried to talk to them in weeks?
I have, of course, but the responses are always vague and noncommittal.
What do you talk about?
Really? Like you don’t know?!
I was just trying to see if you remembered. But see, you keep talking to them about their lives and they don’t complain about anything in particular. Then when they ask you what’s going on, you’re very emotional and trying to get them to empathize. People don’t like that!
So I should just keep to myself then?
Yes, keep these emotions to yourself. No one exists to solely save you; no one gives a shit about you unless you can do something for them first.
But I’ve been a good friend, I know this. I have helped them through their difficult times, I express how much I appreciate them and I am always championing them on.
Yeah, but they didn’t ask for this, now did they? Besides, how can you “know” that you’ve been a good friend anyway? You’re not in their heads!
I do my best…I really try to-
And what makes you think that they’re not trying as well? Look, you’re asking for too much from them. They’re never going to be there for you, you know this.
But I am not really asking for much. I just need support when-
And that’s too much for them. Don’t cry in front of them, they’ll never hold you. Don’t ask them for advice, they really couldn’t care less about your problems and while you’re at it, don’t tell them about your problems.
But…but I like to express myself. I don’t know if I can keep all this pain inside.
That’s what I’m here for. You can always talk to me.
I don’t know-
Look, do you like having to comfort your friends that it’s not their fault every time you might even so much as mention that you’re sinking into depression? Do you like curling into a ball, trying to keep your chest from hurting too much each time you express your pain and they don’t respond at all? Do you like getting ignored or having to apologize every time a negative thought occurs to you?
You don’t have to be a dick about it, I get your point.
Good. Stick with me, we’ll get through this.

November: Depression
Hey listen, I’ve been trying to not think too loudly about this but I think I should kill myself.
Uh…
Hear me out, OK? You remember that Caesarean section I got stuck in and the mother bled out till we had to call one of the other doctors in to help me? You remember the amount of wine I drank immediately after that and how I sat alone for an hour or so after that, unable to go back to sleep?
Well yeah, but-
And you remember that fetus that tore apart in my hands as I was trying to deliver it?
Yes…I still can’t forget the crunching of bones in our palm and that great eyeless face.
Yes, well…anyway…also there was that kid the other day who died as I was performing CPR-
Look, I know you blame yourself for that but the chances that you killed that baby are slim to none-
But there is a chance, right? I don’t know if I’m just cursed or something but there are far more deaths around me that I can handle.
I’m helping with that, I really am trying, you know. I mean most of the ones you witnessed during internship are blurred now, right? I mean, you don’t remember most of them clearly, right?
Because they were too fucking much!
I tried…
I know. I know but that’s beside the point. Anyway, this is a thought I have when I’m buzzed and I was too chicken-shit to sink that knife in my wrists last Saturday but now I think I’ve got it.
Look-
Diazepam! It’s the perfect one for me right now.
Look, I am not against this idea. I mean for a while now I’ve also been thinking that we’re rather useless and that pain that you go through every time you try to block the day out so you can sleep at night is starting to get to me. I agree with you, but don’t you think that diazepam is rather sloppy?
Sloppy, yes, but it sure beats the alternatives.
What about insulin, or morphine?
That would require syringes and I am fat remember, my veins are not easily accessible. I can’t drive a knife through my wrists and you think that I’m gonna poke around with a syringe in my arm to try and find my veins?
What about-
DON’T even think about femoral.
Ok, geez! But still, diazepam rarely works and just gives you organ damage which might take a while to kill you.
Yeah, see, that’s the best part. Call ends on Saturday at 5pm, yeah? So I could take the pills at 6pm and that would give me at the very least 36 hours before Monday. Enough time for the organ failure to do its job.
Hmm, not bad. Not bad. But what if you’re still alive but seriously ill on Monday, won’t they come looking for you?
Girl, please! They likely won’t but fine, I could tell them I’m feeling sick before I get off duty on Saturday. Then they’ll just get someone to cover me on Monday. And well, I could go for weeks without anyone calling or texting to check up on me, so no chance of anyone finding out my plan.
Good, good. When do you want to get the diazepam?
How about next week, on my birthday? It could be a gift to myself and I’d like wait a month or so before doing it.

January: Acceptance
I have a problem. I should get help.
Who do you want to talk to?
How about my friends?
The ones who haven’t texted you in like 2 months now?
I haven’t texted them either.
Exactly. If you didn’t feel comfortable talking to them about all the fucked up shit you’ve been through these past several weeks, why would you attempt to talk to them about this?
Well, that’s because I made up my mind not to talk to them.
Yeah, but they didn’t know that, did they? A simple text would have sufficed, let alone a phone call but nothing.
OK, what about-
You can’t talk about this with-
But maybe this time-
Do you just want to be stared at as you burst out into tears again?
Perhaps the passing days have-
Days, Denise, Days. Nothing will have changed in days!
So now what, Diazepam?
Diazepam.

May: Denial
Well, I think I am alright now.
Yeah, I was a bit reluctant to accept it at first but we’ve gone through 3 months without an episode. Perhaps you were right. Maybe it was just a phase.
A phase that we beat! We rock.
Yes we do. Yes we do.

October: Bargaining
Please, I can’t be depressed. Not again; please.
I was convinced for a while there that it wouldn’t return.
But why would it return, I mean it’s not like I want to kill myself anymore.
But you do welcome death in all forms; you’re just not going to bring it about by yourself. At least not yet.
Maybe it’s not depression, perhaps it’s just a passing phase.
You had 4 panic attacks last week. 4!
They didn’t last long.
And the weeks before that, you-
I’m not senile yet, I remember what happened.
It’s worsening, you know.
I know.
It’s starting to show in public. Before, you never-
I KNOW! I know. But what can I do about it?
Talk to somebody who’s been there before. Maybe that’ll stop it from progressing further.
That…I don’t know about that. I mean, what if it really is just a short phase.
You’re sleeping for 18 hours a day again.
I am aware.
You wake up restless, frustrated, and temperamental.
You can stop now.
You’re almost never happy, are obsessed with existentialism, don’t enjoy anything anymore and-
Yes, yes, I read the diagnostic criteria too!
Then you had another panic attack because you fit it.
Look, what do you expect me to do-
Talk to someone who’s been there before.

November: Bargaining
Well, that didn’t work.
I know, but I’m out of ideas.
We could try that last idea again. I don’t think I have much more left in me to go through another episode like yesterday’s.
Have someone in mind?
Yes actually…

November: Acceptance
Well, that didn’t work quite the way I thought it would.
But now we’re not so confused about this anymore.
Yeah…I’m, depressed.
That you are.
I don’t have to apologize for it anymore.
No you don’t.
It’s draining me, you know.
I know
I’m becoming…empty…what was it that girl said in that TV show?
Scraped out.
Yes, I’m feeling scraped out. I just don’t give a shit anymore. Everything is just so…so dull.
But at least there’s some peace about this.
Yeah…some. I’m thriving in the loneliness; most times I wish people wouldn’t text or call me. That’s something I never thought I’d feel.
Well, you have to realize that you were abandoned long before this point. You’re just trying to make the best of a painful experience.
Oh, don’t be silly. People just…you know…they get busy.
Right…
I hope I never get that busy.
What, for them? Really?
Yes, for them. I don’t have many friends anymore. But mostly, I hope I never get too busy for any depressed soul that may come knocking on my door for clarity.
Yeah, it was a good thing we gave that last plan another chance. She really did help, didn’t she?
Indeed she did. So, what do you say we write about this as we wait for death to take us? Where do you want to start?
How about the stages of grief? It has been a long journey after all.

Written by Denise Kavuma

I AM DENISE!!! nuff said!

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2 Comments

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  1. Hehehe, “user-friendly.”
    Every depressed person experiences the mental disorder differently and considering that I just stopped fleeing from acceptance just recently, I feel a little lighter. Of course, the change is minimal but it is change, after all.
    Most might find it odd that with my acceptance comes the need to keep people at a distance but I suppose if I could give you any pointers on how to deal with a depressed person I’d say: ‘it’s not your fault.’ I’ve gotten tired of the demands, from people I know, to produce viable reasons for my depression. As if my being mentally ill is some form of failure on their part.
    So thank you for your sentiments, Roland, and your show of support. You’re one of the good ones.

  2. Seems it is the season for depression. Just saw another post on the same topic by a certain talented Wanja (https://www.facebook.com/wa.kavengi/posts/187405091607012) Then there was another on Honey Murungi’s blog a few months back. I don’t know if I have experienced depression before. I’m more of a subscriber to the Barney Stinson theory of, ‘When I start feeling sad, I stop and start feeling awesome again’. But that doesn’t help your situation. Anyway with all that in mind, I think I’m going to read up some more on depression so I know how best to help a friend when they are going through this fog. Denise, I think you are a pretty awesome person, and I’d like to help in whichever way I can because some of the thoughts you’ve just shared here don’t sound user-friendly. For now, all I can offer is a listening ear any time you need one…almost any time. Life is not simple enough for absolute promises. At least I’ve been told I’m good at that…the hearing business. Otherwise, hope you manage to completely overcome eventually.

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