It has been about 5 months now that I have been officially living with Depression, though I suspect it was an unwanted squatter for a while before that. It has been a fascinating journey that we have taken together into the wilderness with an occasional drinking hole from time to time.
One of the key things I have discovered on this journey is that Depression does not appear only a sickness of the mind; the body is sick too. I have put up with pain just about everywhere, and yet if I were to have a scan (I had one recently on the knee and Thoracic Spine), I am pretty certain they would be reported as normal. Those two were.
I think the waves of uncalled for and unwarranted sadness is one of the hardest elements to cope with. There is nothing for me to sad about really; I am happily married to a wonderful woman and have two talented daughters who I love very much, and yet there are times that I just feel indescribably sad.
I am sure that most people would think that this is due in part that I am now applying for what is called medical retirement. I will be leaving my profession. Does this make me sad though? No, it doesn't. I have had a very lucky and full career as a Physiotherapist, I have been fortunate to enjoy a wide range of experiences, introducing acupuncture to Medway, becoming one of the first Physiotherapists able to prescribe medicines, I have been Chairman of a Local Research Ethics Committee, been published twice and have reviewed articles for publication and been a reviewer for the Arthritis Research leaflets. I have taught Acupuncture courses both independently and with a team, and presented case studies and potential research designs. How can I be sad to have enjoyed such a fulfilling career.
The onset was sudden and gradual together, which makes as much sense as living with depression does really!
I am confident that I will recover my health, though I know now that I will never be able to function at the level that I achieved. Leading research, working across a CAS and Physiotherapy service, requesting imaging, prescribing, managing a team, deputising for the head of service when necessary; those days are gone, and I now look forward to pacing myself, literally spending time with my best friend; my wife, and doing things about the house that I have never had time to do before.
The weird thing in this, is that while initially I was unable read anything or pray, I am now able to read Theology and preach again. I have taken up learning the Piano, which is proving to be such a joy, I lose myself when I practise and the sadness lifts, only to come back when any sense of complexity rears its head with decision making.
So we tag along, my unwarranted squatter and me, finding more about each other with every passing day, life is certainly interesting, and looks to remain that way.