The word ‘ authentic ‘has recently been playing on my mind. It is closely examined in the book I am reading, and it is closely examined in my contemplation of restarting medication.
It is a very complicated thing to fathom who the ‘ authentic ‘ Me is – how can it ever be determined and does it even matter? We all, as human beings, have a many facetted personas , do we not? The forced politeness of a public exchange, whilst perhaps fake, is still real and still comes from within us. We speak and behave differently according to the company we are in, yet the differences do not make one real and one not so. Less clear is the truth of depression.
Is depression Me, is it coming from my Soul, is it intrinsically who I am? Am I of a naturally gloomy disposition and the days of my Life have simply fed and nurtured that gloom until it fills my every being and pushes out the other facets that once lived in me but with such fragility and uncertainty that they were never really my reality? In the beginning I was merely a Being, a Being that perhaps was never cut out for this world and now Life has stripped my bare and this Self is what I have been left with. Can that be right?
Or is it the case that whilst depression is my reality it is not my truth? Depression has come to me with good reason, but it is disrespectful of any other emotions that ever happened to exist, knows no boundaries and is only content with sole occupancy of my mind. I think I used to laugh and truly feel it? I think I once felt love and was able to reciprocate? I think I used to look forward to things? I think I was once present?
It is exhausting carrying so much bitterness and anger. I begin to wonder how much one person can be failed, how insignificant one person can feel, how much one person can take on the force of the world. I begin to wonder if perhaps the chip permanently chiselled into my shoulder is justified or if I need to question the lines that I am being fed by my own head? I start to feel that I am the one in the wrong and it is my duty to rejoin those living out life around me.
My pain is authentic, my struggles real, but I must accept the sadness that exists in no longer glimpsing who I believe I may be, no longer remembering a Self without the suffocation of darkness. I must trust that there is a Me left, that it has not gone forever, it has been forced into submission but not eternally eradicated. A bridge may be taken over by rust and begin to erode away but it doesn’t take away from the fact that the bridge existed in the first place and nor has it ceased to be a bridge – strip away the rust, repair the structure and it will function once more. However, leave it too long and the rust will devour it and all hope of restoration will be lost.
And so, to medication. All my musings have been to this avail. My fear is that the medication will take away from my authentic self and enforce on me a persona I am not comfortable with, return me to a world I can not yet navigate. Another view is now in sight however. If the depression is my rust, then stripping it away is necessary. The anti depressants can do that. They can’t heal me, and they can’t make the world an easy place to be, but in revealing my eroded soul, I can perhaps begin to restore it back to a place of strength and stability. Perhaps they can allow me to let others in and feel their comfort. Everyone deserves to feel kindness and warmth do they not?
In truth, I am frightened – frightened of my depression, frightened of the prospect of finding myself without it. I have forgotten my authentic self, depression has become my shield and, despite its unpleasantness, to be without it feels terrifyingly exposing. But I fear I have run out of alternatives. I no longer wish to feel the world is against me. I owe it to myself, and to those inflicted with loneliness through living with my illness, to alleviate as many of the depressive symptoms I can, to give me the best chance of moving forward, for I can no longer stay in the stagnant state I inhabit. The choice is no longer a choice but a necessity. I can continue flogging my poor, helpless soul, or I can show it kindness and respect and embrace the healing that is so desperately craves.