By Vicki Louise
When I think about my depression, it often feels like there is something inside of me, almost like a part of my brain has been possessed by something alien. I feel like it isn’t something natural and part of me. It’s like I have a demon inside me.
This is something that I can imagine may be difficult for someone to understand if they have never experienced such terrifying thoughts or feelings that you know aren’t part of you. And that’s how it feels when the darkest thoughts and feelings are present in my mind.
It’s like I have a demon inside me
These thoughts and feelings are never present when I’m not depressed and my mental health is in a good place. I never get thoughts or feelings of suicide when I’m not ill and people often tell me they could never imagine me being sad. I am usually a really up-beat, positive and jolly person. I do get anxiety from time to time when I feel I am in a healthy frame of mind, but I can usually control and handle the anxious feelings effectively and generally cope very well with it.
So these crippling negative thoughts and feelings really do feel so alien and not a part of who I am. They feel as though something has infected my brain and is trying to take over what I feel and think. When the feelings are so overwhelming though, it is difficult for me to recognise and rationalise whether it is truly me thinking and feeling these things, or if it is the illness and the chemical imbalance in my brain that are making me feel and think such terrible, negative thoughts. It is difficult to differentiate between my healthy mind and my ill mind. I don’t know which thoughts are truly me or my ill mind overriding the positive thoughts I typically feel and turning them into negative, destructive thoughts.
Like I am outside my body
It can often feel like I am having an out of body experience. I have described it as feeling like I am stood outside of my body observing myself when I am in my worst mental states because the thoughts, feelings and actions I am doing are so out of character and unnatural to what I usually feel, think and do.
Right now I am struggling with leaving the house and I have bad separation anxiety. When I am in a healthy mind, I have no issue with leaving the house and I am hardly ever at home, I love the outdoors and I can never sit still in one place for very long. I usually love talking to strangers too, meeting and connecting with new people is something I love. I typically enjoy my own company, I love to read and I usually find spending time alone relaxing.
They are going to think I am crazy
But for some reason the idea of going outside and being around strangers is terrifying to me right now. I feel as though everyone is going to stare at me, as if they can see inside my head and hear all the negativity blasting through my ears like amplifiers. They are going to think I am ‘crazy’ and call the men in white coats to come and take me away. They are going to judge me for being mentally ill and avoid me as if I am infected and if they get too close they might all end up ill too.
The rational part of my brain knows this is ridiculous. Beyond ridiculous. No one would probably notice me walking down the high street amongst everyone else. But for some reason I feel as though I have ‘Nut Case’ tattooed across my forehead. I fear that if people get too close it might spread and infect their minds too like a virus.
Floods of negative thoughts
The separation anxiety is easy for me to understand. I just don’t want to be alone with my thoughts. When the negative thoughts come, they usually come in floods. Floods of thoughts so overwhelming that I can’t speak or move sometimes. Having someone who knows what’s going on right now around me all the time is comforting. It’s a distraction from the negative thoughts too. And if they do come, at least I know if someone is there, they can save me from myself and my thoughts.
In reality, whether someone is around or not, I am ultimately saving myself from these thoughts or urges to hurt myself. I am just convincing myself that someone being there is the reason. Like a comfort blanket of sorts.
Beating the demon inside
I need to work on overcoming the negative thoughts when they start to arise. I tell myself that this is not who I am, I am unwell. The demon inside is not me. I am going to get through this and I won’t feel like this forever. Just be patient and trust things will get better. Pain is temporary.
“The devil whispered you can not with stand the storm. The warrior replied, I am the storm.”
Reproduced with permission, originally published here