The first time melancholia, depression, anxiety – and by this I don’t refer to just a brief spell of the blues, which most people experience at times during their life – knocks you sideways it’s a case of, ‘you never knew what was coming ! Unless it was related to a serious problem in the sufferer’s life, such as bereavement, divorce, loss of their job, initially you can’t determine what’s wrong other than the dreadful effects. So, to the uninitiated, the initial signs of the onset of the Dark Night of the Soul are often a strange sense of unease and concern, even though nothing is outwardly amiss but, nonetheless, the queasiness and the unsettled mood are tangible and disturbing.
The abrupt early morning waking, usually before 5.00am each day, is hard to comprehend until, along with the shock of fear, dread, nausea and panic as to what the forthcoming day offered, it becomes a regular and frightening pattern. This waking is often so sudden and abrupt that it can be likened to the shock of having a bucket of ice cold water tipped over the sleeping body. Drenched in sweat on a cold Autumn morning and totally lacking in appetite until night fall, a deep depression would fail to lift, even if no crises occurred during the day. Occasionally, these demons could be seen off temporarily, but never totally banished, by an evening’s alcohol only to return by morning.
During the gut-churning morning drive to work each day, the previously experienced pleasure of turning on the car radio to music in order to lift the spirits would, conversely, have the opposite effect as records recalled from happier, carefree, times only deepened the depression, evoking a sense of nausea and despair, drenching me in a clammy sweat even before I reached the purgatory of work where minor setbacks took on the magnitude of major proportions. Existence began to take on the quirks of a sadist as the odd optimistic moments, which offered a straw to clutch at, were rapidly dispelled at the first sign of some pessimistic mental signal, triggered, maybe, by something as ‘daft’ as a dark scene or episode in a television play or film.
This was my lot the first time…….
I am aged 68 and retired, though I have been providing help part time to the company I worked for, for over 20 years and retired from 3 years ago. I worked for most of my adult life as a Quality Manager in Industry. I am married and have two grown up children and four grandchildren. I read a lot and am currently halfway through an Open University degree course in Philosophy and Psychology.
Connect on Twitter: @Leveller49
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