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Living with Dysthymia – you learn to build a facade

Dysthymia FacadeThis is very difficult for me, but I wanted to share a secret that only a few people know about me. I have a lot of trouble physically ‘talking’ about these types of things and showing emotion. However I do enjoy writing as it lets me speak though my hands. I’m not looking for sympathy or ‘I’m sorry to hear that Julian’, but more to try and raise some awareness of the disease known as Dysthymia.

By definition Dysthymia is:

persistent mild depression.

“in some, at least 2 years of dysthymia lead to recurring major depression”

For the past 25+ years I’ve been living with constant feelings of failure, unworthiness, inadequate and not deserving of anything. I was diagnosed with depression in 2005 after a marriage break down saw me spiral out of control to point of hitting absolute rock bottom. Dr’s just put me on medication and said ‘these will fix it’. Prior to this incident and the diagnosis, I simply hid my feelings, it was just easier that way. and besides, I’m a man, that’s just what you do right? But there comes a time when the bucket overflows, and something’s got to give and the facade has to crack.

Trouble is with Dysthymia, is the feelings don’t just ‘disappear’ and you start to get very (VERY) good at hiding things, hence building of a facade. I’ve now being doing it for so long that it is now part of my normal life, and it really shouldn’t be. From the outside I might look all rosy and great sometimes, but in my head there is a constant battle of voices and arguments that justify and counter-justify things. This can be very draining as well as damaging.

There are days where I feel fine, never overly happy, but the best that I can be. This could last for a couple of days or even weeks if I’m on a good run but then, out of the nowhere, the arguments in the head start and we’re back to feeling like shit. Everything I do from a professional or personal nature I see as a failure or never giving 100%. There are days I just don’t want to do anything and just want to veg out. However you won’t see this as there is a facade.

I won’t deny that there have been days over the many years where the truck coming in the other direction looks like a pretty good target for the front wheel of my bike and just erase all the noise in my head, but thankfully, I’ve not tried this out yet but not from lack of trying and drifting. For what it’s worth, these days are very much behind me now.

I get anxiety most days and it can range from mild to sever where my chest hurts a lot and I may even start to shake. I don’t do well in confrontational situations and twitches in the eyes are a sign of the anxiety raising, like it is right now as I write this.

I read a fantastic article that summed up pretty much how and was part of the inspiration to write my story. Please have a look at  http://potterhead3399.tumblr.com/post/104142805555/let-me-tell-you-about-dysthymia-aka-im-opening

It’s now something I have to live with and it’s somewhat of a relief that I have now have a diagnosis and I can start to move forward. I do get professional medical help and am also on some pretty heavy duty medication, but the battle is far from over. I have some great support from family and friends, but since I’ve lived with it for so long and associated stigma attached to mental health, I find it difficult sometimes to accept the support, but I am learning to accept it. This is one of my first steps….

Thank you for taking the time to read this short insight into Dysthymia and how it is affecting me. If you’d like to know more about Dysthymia, please have a look at some of the links below.

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/persistent-depressive-disorder/home/ovc-20166590

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dysthymia

https://www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts/depression/types-of-depression

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