1999 and all that

I don’t really want to talk about this year. Yet I must. Firstly and this can’t be stated strongly enough I was happy, life was going well for once. Yet come Holy Week my UC flared up and I was signed off work. I had no idea I would never work again. The usual high doses of steroids were to be taken. Visiting the Dr he had a trainee with him and asked questions he perhaps might not have asked. I explained all the normal side effects but added a new one concerning my tongue. This flagged something to him and he drew blood. Later that afternoon he phoned me my Blood Glucose levels were 32 (normal range 4-7). I had diabetes. What a relief to get a diagnosis at last! And no worries about having been around diabetes since I was a young lad. Quickly brought under control. And then without warning the darkness descended and I wanted to kill my self. I wouldn’t of course because I am a Christian. But boy did I think and plan it every waking minute. Unknown to me knives, pills etc were all hidden from me on the Dr’s advice. Then I became almost catatonic. Everything moved so slowly in my mind that it could take me an hour or more to find the energy and ability to answer a simple question that required a yes / no answer.

By May 2001 I was retired on grounds of ill health. Never once though did my faith leave me if anything it grew stronger. 

Eventually I ended up under the care of a psychiatrist. She was good. But while I improved a little over time I never and to this day it remains true returned to my old self. Then the difficulty in using my right side began to get worse and the chronic pain started.

Enough for today this is way way too painful to write about. It doesn’t help. It is not cathartic. Without my lovely wife things would have been different perhaps. I survived it all even although for months and years there was only God’s light to guide me.

Was it all darkness no? There are, as anyone who has ever suffered with depression will tell you, rage and anger beyond comprehension. Violent outbursts, smashing my head off a wall, plunging knives into kitchen units. Uncontrollable rage. It’s part of the disease one of the symptoms. Then there is of course the paranoia, the anxiety so intense and prolonged it cripples you to a standstill. It is an emotional rollercoaster of incredible depths. There are no heights, no breaking the water into sunlit breathable air, just drowning.

I live now in the shallows of that experience, I cannot get to the shore and the call of the depths is always beckoning. A great black shadow threatening always to encircle me. It is survivable.

If you are suffering from Depression do not listen to the killing voice. Like me you may never recover but you can and should survive.

Augustine x

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