I have a black spot in my vision. It appeared when I stopped eating for a while and I think it’s here to stay. I can see it darting around when I close my eyes. I was concerned about it at first, but it’s become familiar now. Watching it while I enjoyed the sun in my garden this afternoon, it offered the inspiration for this site. For a while now I’ve wanted to share some of my writing about depression. Which I suppose could also be called a black spot.
This black spot predates the one that lives in my closed-eye vision by several months. I had been depressed for some time before I began starving myself. This isn’t the ‘pull yourself together’ sort of feeling a bit down, it is clinically diagnosed ‘major depressive disorder’.
What is major depression? Well I am classified as f32.2 in my psychiatrist’s diagnostic manual, a sort of lonely planet guide to all the colours of the crazy rainbow. This means I have been experiencing a ‘major depressive episode without psychosis’. Broadly, it means I gave up the will to live. I stopped enjoying anything, I couldn’t sleep, didn’t want to eat, became a hermit and spent long periods of time staring at the carpet / ceiling / curtains / pattern on my duvet. Alongside this, I started to harm myself and think about suicide a lot.
After sliding into the depths of this illness, things got serious and I was eventually admitted to a psychiatric hospital. This was an unexpected turn of events. And being in hospital brought a lot of surprises, good, bad and quite frankly stark-raving bonkers. I’ve kept journals on the therapy, the people I met and the lessons I learned and I thought I would share some of these stories here.
Mental illness is incredibly common. I hope that what I write strikes a chord with somebody out there, whether because of your own experiences, or those of someone you care about.