I don’t know

The easy answer to give is always “I don’t know”.

Sometimes, it’s avoidance, a way to ignore the question. Usually, it’s an honest answer. A more accurate way of answering would be “I probably do know, but at the current time, my brain won’t let me recall the information”, but “I don’t know” is quicker.

Depression has a way of fogging up your brain, rendering you unable to answer simple questions, or think of anything but the bleakness of your situation. It’s not good if you wish to do anything cerebral: have a conversation, go to work or a creative activity. Depression doesn’t fuel creation, it doesn’t turn you into the tortured artist/writer/musician of your dreams, it leaves you dumbfounded, hollow and unable to truly express yourself.

This blog was born out of the desperation of depression, but, nothing on it has ever been created when I’m at the bottom of that particular well. I write in the rare moments of clarity that medication, therapy and self-help give me. When I’m at my lowest, I can barely remember to eat, let alone do anything of any value.

Ever since I turned twenty-five, just over three weeks ago, I’ve found it all-but impossible to keep at a steady pace. It’s like an attack of anxiety and panic on the night of my birthday triggered off a period of instability which I’m still yet to recover from. It’s been a struggle, to say the least.

One thing that has bothered me the most about this past month is the un-clearing brain fog, the thick cloud of forgetting which leaves my mind simultaneously full and blank. It’s taken me a week to write this post, because every time I tried, I couldn’t overcome that particular mind block. “I don’t know” has become the go-to answer to every question that I can’t bare to attempt to think about.

Like a lot of things, a good way to overcome this problem is to force yourself to try and tackle it head on. This can be a very painful, frustrating and destructive way of dealing with it, but unfortunately, not much else seems to cause a break in those clouds. I know that the way I learned to talk about depression was to be forced into a room for an hour every week and talk about it, even when I didn’t want to. This made it easier, and it gave me the ability to speak about what couldn’t be spoken about.

I’m fortunate enough to have someone in my life who understands this, and forces me to talk when I refuse to. They know that getting the thoughts in my brain out is the only way to clear the fog, and they will push me to do it despite all the attacks, insults and tantrums that occur. It’s difficult to be the confidante of someone with depression, because it can turn the sufferer into what seems like a very selfish, ignorant and spiteful person, when really they are just terrified.

If you don’t have someone who will listen to you attempt to string together sentences through sobs and screams, then the next best thing is to write them down. Just write. Write whatever comes into your head, it’s much safer to have it on a page than inside your mind, rattling around with thousands of other destructive thoughts. If this doesn’t work for you, then therapy and counselling are absolutely essential if you can access it.

My aim for the next few weeks is to not say “I don’t know” to any questions. I need to be defiant against my brain’s relentless attemps to shut down any attempts at deep thought. Hopefully, by doing this, I can avoid having to go back into weekly therapy, or change my medication again.