When I was first ill, I was overwhelmed by catastrophic thoughts. Depression bombarded me with terrifying visions about my future. I was quite literally going to end up homeless, penniless, friendless and insane. These thoughts were the most real I have ever experienced - almost as though they were projected onto a huge screen inside my head - with HD and surround sound. Here is a full list of the things that depression said would happen to me:
- I would become homeless and end up sleeping rough
- I would never be able to work again
- I would not have enough money to feed myself
- I would not be able to live with my partner
- My children would disown me
- I would have to kill myself to end the pain
The images were so convincing that I used to check out shop doorways in Norwich where I could sleep rough. I also researched soups kitchens in the City and considered buying myself a trolley to transport my sleeping bag and gear around on. Despite owning my own home, I was convinced that homelessness was my destiny. At the time, no one could reason with me.
Five years on and none of these things have come true. I'm not saying that life has been easy for me in the last five years because it hasn't - but I wanted to write this post to highlight just how convincing the agitprop of depression can be. But depression isn't incontrovertible truth. The truth lies elsewhere - quieter and less dramatic.