Around eight years or so ago (I forget) I stopped drinking. Which promptly, in combination with coinciding with the ending of my time in the Reserves seems to have tipped me into depression. Now, I could never understand what people meant by “depression”, seemed a bit silly and self indulgent. Surely you could exercise or motivate yourself out of something so ephemeral? Go for a run or something, right? What’s wrong with these weak minded idiots? That was my thinking if I ever thought about it.
What’s depression like then? You ask.
Imagine everything you previously found pleasure in, being of little or no interest. Example: Yesterday I walked the dog, and the old boy did that dog thing of running through grass full of doggy joy. And seeing his doggy joy made me involuntarily smile. In depression that just goes away. And you have no idea why. For the best part of two years I did not experience the normal day to day feelings of joy in ordinary, simple things that you don’t realise until they aren’t there anymore, are the actual things that make life the slightest bit worth living. Food, exercise, my own child’s progress in life. My wife’s loving care, my dogs, my students, a nice grilled cheese sandwich. Everything.
With a huge amount of research, time and effort I used CBT and a return to faith to drag myself out of that bloody hole. From thinking daily about the best way to self – end, to once again experience the joys of simple things. Restoring a car and making videos of that effort was an essential part of the process.
By the time the covid came around, I was back to being pretty good. I’d missed a large chunk of my daughter’s childhood, but was alive and able to again experience joy. Most importantly, no longer a burden on my wife.
One of the things I found out during this time was how many of my friends and colleagues had similar problems. It’s a huge chunk of people who at one time or another smack up against this shit. For perfectly understandable reasons, no one initiates that topic.
2020 was not good. I remember going out the end of the driveway during that first curfew and being hit by the silence. The freeway is about a kilometre away, and to hear nothing was disturbing. It felt like the end of the bloody world.
I can’t tell you what going through covid with depression would be like, because I didn’t. But I can extrapolate my experiences of both and come to the conclusion that our governments have cast a large number of people into hell.
For reasons I just don’t understand, they continue to do so.