Beyond the downs of depression there is another world that exists, and that is fear. You doubt yourself, your actions, your words – there’s a fear that everything will come crashing down around you and that there is no way out of it.

Even amongst those who know about the illness there is a fear of being spotted – almost as if that knowledge will be used against you. That has been true in the past with some people taking advantage of the situation and making you feel small and paranoid. I’m in a fortunate position that I don’t have to worry about that at the moment because I have supportive people all around me. But it doesn’t mean the feeling leaves you.

For me the biggest fear I live with is the lack and loss of control. You live in a bubble – separated from the rest of the world and the ability to have any influence over it. That’s a scary place to be, to almost experience your life second-hand. It goes back to the point I made yesterday about being on autopilot – you’re not in control at points through the day and that scares me. Not knowing where your mind is from one day to the next leaves you with doubt and fear.

The fear of being found out, of failure, of being someone you don’t like to be is worrying. That life is just out of your reach and you never feel fully in control when a huge dip like the one I’m in at the moment. It would be like you getting in behind the wheel of your car putting it in gear and pressing the accelerator without using the steering wheel – there will inevitably be a crash. That’s what it feels like in my head right now; moving forward but I don’t have the ability to guide my direction.

The fact that my illness goes in cycles means I know it will pass – but at the same time it will come back again. This doesn’t make it easier because you can’t see beyond the end of your nose when you are this far into the darkness. A “black dog” of this size is reasonably rare these days because I’m on a good balance of meds, but they still do happen. I could go back and get more tablets and if the downs are prolonged or as difficult again then maybe that’s the way to get that steering wheel back.

It’s such a difficult thing to explain to people. Those that are aware mean well but there’s nothing to be done – it just is. Asking how I am is fine, just don’t try to read too much into my answers because I’m lying to you if I say anything other than “shite”. I feel helpless at times and that scares me – but I’d hate to be around me when I’m like this. Not only is there a lack of control as an observer, but you have no sense of what’s going on in their head and that is real fear.

It’s almost better to be the sufferer than the sufferer’s support.


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