I have always wondered if I have depression or not. It’s one of my unanswered questions. But every time I look in to it I get the same response.
“… It very likely that you could be suffering from depression…” (Words from a questionnaire on NHS.uk [clinical depression])
I think now is the time for me to speak frankly not just to the small few that will read this on the internet, but to friends and family as well.
Looking back at my life I’ve always been depressed. I’ve always thought I was in some fashion. As a kid I would find comfort in playing video games. In my eyes I was addicted to them. More so then, than now as an adult. I was addicted to the escapism because I hated my life. I loved my family (I still do before you start) and my friends at the time made me happy but I still hated my life. There where times when I would just stay in my room and play video games. I would ignore friends, not eat, not go outside, etc because I didn’t want to part of the world. I wanted to be somewhere else. I wanted to be in the games I was playing. I didn’t want to be me. I wanted to be the person I was play as. Sometimes I still do.
I think it is the time to admit to family, friends and the internet that this was the first time I thought about ‘it‘. I remember the first time because I thought, ‘why not?’ Then I thought that the curtain rail couldn’t support my weight because I had broken it off once before by hanging on to it. Explaining that away way out of my skill set so I decided against it.
Internet people may not know (most family and friends know) that I am dyslexic. As a kid in primary school it was put down to me being really stupid. The headteacher at the time called me stupid. Not often but he made his opinion clear when he said “you are stupid and you are bringing down the grades of the school.” But several of my teachers guessed that I was dyslexic. My class teacher was convinced that I was dyslexic to such a point she would try to help me get through the classes. She gave me dyslexia writing exercises and told the other teachers to go easy on me if I was slow to pick up new topics. After she left (retired) I was left out on my own again. My friends saw this coming and helped. One helped me learn maths recollection techniques during break and lunch hours that I still use today. Some of the teachers tried to help but it was a loosing battle against the head teacher. They could only do so much. I cheated on tests, got in to fights at school, generally made a nuisance of myself just to get by until I left. Because of all this, by the end of primary school I gained my rebellious and anti-establishment streak that I have today. I was less depressed but I was so angry at the world. Back then I made up the phrase to say how I felt. It was;
“Shouting at the wold but knowing no one is listening.”
I went to a high school by myself. By that I mean I was the only one from my primary school to got to the high school I went to. So it was a new start. And it was. My grades went up, I didn’t get into fights (except for a few altercations but he had it coming) and everything seemed to be going ok. Except it wasn’t. Looking back there was always something. A niggling thought in the back of my mind that said that something was wrong. Something said that I was different. By the end of high school I was used to being different. At one point (in the very latter parts of high school) I was a goth-emo-punk so fitting in wasn’t the top of my list and I didn’t really care. By now I wasn’t depressed. I just didn’t care. I was ambivalent about my existence. Didn’t care if anything happened to me or not.
Then 6th Form collage came. After pushing everything to the back of my mind for the whole of my time at high school it all came back in only a few week/months. You see, science is something that runs in my family. My dad is an engineer and my elder cousin is doctor of science. So I thought that I could be come that. I knew that university was the ultimate goal because that it my families average. 50% of 2 generations went to university. 1/2 in the generation above me and (by then) 2/3 of my generation. Me going was going to make it 3/4. So I choose the family subjects; Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Maths. (Maths divided up as; Statistics, Pure and Particle Maths.) I was kicked out of my maths classes in (if I remember) 6 weeks, and was kicked out of all science classes, and therefore college, after the mock exams so a about 3 months. As I was kicked out so early in the term I called it my ‘Gap Year’. All this just made me depressed. I felt stupid again and felt that I done my family name wrong. Failing before getting to university just made me think myself as a failure. But then I remembered that teachers said I was probably dyslexic way back in primary school. So I went to my mum, who I as living with at the time, and said;
“I think I’m dyslexic.”
Turns out I was right. The adult psychologist said that he was surprised that I had managed to get through high school considering how dramatic my case was. After I was officially diagnosed at the ripe age of 18, I finally had proof that I wasn’t stupid. And for once, I wasn’t depressed. I re-applied for 6th Form doing Media Studies, Photography and Psychology. The head of the 6th form said I looked different when I went back. He said I wasn’t hunched, I didn’t shuffle as I walked, he said it looked liked like a physical weight had been lifted off my shoulders. That’s what I felt like. It seemed like things was going to be ok from now on.
At least back then it did. This is where I look back at what I did and think “why the hell did I do that?!” Looking back to the events back then, I was slowly sabotaging myself. Must have been slow because it took 2 years. I smoked (not any more), I drank (back on this later), I broke up with my first long-term girlfriend [twice…] (which I still feel guilty about even though we still talk) which is the only time I’ve broken up with anyone, ever. (Really. I’m the one that gets dumped usually.)
Going to university was more of the same. Self sabotage out of a feeling of something bad was coming or not wanting to be hurt again. Most of it was out of self-doubt. I had barely gotten in to uni. I gotten lower grades in 2/3 classes and didn’t have enough points to get into uni but they let me in any way. That should have been a sign because as the courses went on I was slowly getting lower and lower grades. My second year was filled with thoughts of ‘why the hell am I doing this?’ I felt stupid again. I just felt more and more depressed. The more depressed I felt the worse my grades became. By my 3rd year I had failed most of my classes and where dong re-sits. It felt certain that I was not going to get the degree. I didn’t. I fell short by a rather large margin and never got the degree. I think I is also time to admit to my family that failing courses was not the only reason why I failed to get the degree. My the end of the third year I was so depressed I never handed in the last 2 assignments. By the end I stopped going to classes. Everything that had happened to me over the years, primary school, high school, everything, was not as bad a this. £9,000 had gone in and nothing came from it. I still vow that I will never take paid education ever again. I don’t trust my self to even finish let alone get a grade.
So here I am with whatever skills I have. Jobless out a fear that I’ll just fail like all other things before.
This is why I write from home, why I make videos myself, why (even in this) I try to entertain. It’s undiagnosed but it feels just the same. I am depressed. I have depression. I live with it and I’m used to it.
As a final message;
Dear family and friends, let me do what I want to do. The money is dismal, I will never have a pension and the prospects are from here on out for the rest of my life are nothing but grim. But I like it this way.