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How Depression Makes Me Unravel Like a Ball of Wool

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Sometimes I think of depression as being a big ball of gray wool, wrapped around a black core. Made up of lots of threads, circling and intertwining. Most of the time — and with effort — I can keep all of the ends of those threads tucked in, with just a couple escaping at any one time.

Sometimes, though, things get out of hand. I feel like I’ve kept the yarn wrapped around the core too long. It yearns to escape and wreak havoc over my life and emotions. The threads become looser, one by one each of the ends becomes untucked and start trailing away from me. I try hard to keep reaching for the threads, to keep them hidden away, to keep the darkness inside wrapped up and contained. But it’s not always possible. I can’t manage all of the threads at once. I feel like I’m “losing my mind,” one thread at a time. I try to be strong, to carry on.

I tell people it’s OK to let go sometimes — they don’t have to keep themselves together all the time. It’s OK to say “I’m not coping.” I’ll give the advice but I won’t take it myself.  Instead I sit, hugging myself, trying to hold the threads together by sheer force of will, but instead end up tying myself up in knots with the effort of just existing from day to day. And it mostly does feel like I’m just existing. I get up. I just about manage to walk the dog. I work. I come home exhausted. If I do anything on the weekend, I start the next week even more tired than when I finished the last. If I do nothing on the weekend, I feel as though I exist only to work and that’s no way to live.

Something has to give. But what? Do I go to the doctor, tell them I’m not fit to work? Do I keep flogging myself to go to work every day, leaving nothing of myself for my own spare time, never having the energy to do what I want? Do I make the impossible decision to give up my precious dog, to send her to live with my mum and dad and their own dogs? This is an impossible decision because she’s sometimes the only thing that makes me get up and leave the house.

I don’t know what to do. I feel lost and I don’t know the answer. I don’t know when I’ll feel better. I don’t know if the chronic fatigue will ever subside and the thought of this sends me spiraling back into a depressive funk.

Something has to give.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.

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Thinkstock photo via gojak.

Originally published: March 22, 2017
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