I’ve been having a hard time recently, trying to deal with my depression and the internal struggles it brings. I had built up a resistance to the antidepressant (Efexor) I had been taking and was slipping back into my low moods. One thing about me is, I HATE feeling like I’m imposing on others. So I kept everything inside and put on a happy act. I have been subsisting – going through the motions of life, pretending I was ok, putting everyone else’s happiness and comfort before my own. I had no out – my financial situation dictated that I could not just up and leave. My attempts to gain a promotion were shot down by the Who you know, not what you know popularity contest. I don’t have family nearby to help me out. The only friend I’m really close to lives over three hours away. I couldn’t kill myself because my pets rely on me to live and would have nowhere to go.
I was literally stuck.
Having to act OK and with my medication and counselling having very little effect, I was coming home from work exhausted, depressed and feeling done with the world. Some nights, the pressure of all of this weighed so heavily that, in order to be able to sleep, I would turn to cutting myself or repeatedly punching a brick wall to relieve the pressure. If I tried talking to my friend, I’d often be deflected back to “look at your list of happy things” or told that she couldn’t help. I even had to drag myself out and put on my act for her, at one stage. She was having a shit time and was not coping well, and I was trying my hardest to be there and support her through it. I would do ANYTHING for her, but received very little in return. And I felt selfish for even having that thought. I felt worthless, unloved and selfish for wanting someone to turn to and I was further retreating behind my act.
Dropping this act for my psychologist, and with consultation from my psychiatrist, I began the process of weaning off the Efexor to go onto another medication. Anyone who has ever had to come off this drug will know, it’s not fun (and that’s an understatement). Part of the withdrawals involved feeling almost the sickest I’ve ever felt in my life (the sickest I’ve been was when I had an E-coli infection in my kidney, as a result of a cyst I had drained). I was depressed, felt like I was dying, vomiting, hallucinating, angry and lonely. I had nobody to help me through. So I was having a lot of correspondence with my psychologist, keeping her updated on how I was going and asking advice.
About halfway into my withdrawal period, this dark thought got it’s claws into my brain. I’ve not been able to dislodge it since. I started to get the feeling that my psychologist, my best friend and others were thinking that I am too needy and trying to get rid of me. Even though I try so hard not to be reliant on others, to not push myself or my feelings onto others, to not be needy or annoying, to not be selfish, to not feel as though others would interpret my actions as attention seeking. Like I said, I’ve not been able to shake this feeling, no matter how hard I try to rationalise.
Since it’s been quiet at work, I decided to do a Google search on what others’ experiences were in this area. The top result was an article titled You’re Not Depressed, You’re Just Selfish. And I knew it was counterproductive to the maintenance of my mental health, but I read it.
Maybe I am selfish. I crave somebody to connect with, to be able to vent to, to know when I’m not ok and who will help me. I want to be in a better situation financially, so I have the power to get out. A lot of I statements. I fear being labelled selfish or attention seeking. I do EVERYTHING I can to not project my feelings onto others. I try so hard to fit in and to not let my moods affect other people and how they function around me, but I still always end up on the outside, looking in. Is it selfish to choose to hide who I am and what I’m feeling in order to keep others happy? So I might have a chance at fitting in? Everything is so contradictory. If I’m actually showing what I’m feeling, I’m perceived as an attention seeker and off-putting. If I hide behind a smile, go out of my way to be helpful and try to involve myself, I’m perceived as an attention seeker and off-putting.
SO WHAT IS THE FUCKING POINT?