Not many people are aware of this because I mostly come across as a cheerful and positive person, but all my life I have battled with the demon that wears the name tag DEPRESSION.
At its mildest, it can manifest as a black fog on the periphery of my vision. At its most severe it is a paralysing, debilitating, all-consuming nightmare.
I could blame the fact that my relationship with my parents as I was growing up was somewhat troubled or the fact that my first marriage was an unhappy one, but I feel that these two things more likely fall under the category of effect rather than cause.
I have never taken any prescribed anti-depressant medication and apart from one complete waste of time counselling session (I never bothered to book a follow up) I have always sought to deal with the problem on my own.
My new husband is very aware of my demon. He doesn't necessarily understand it but he accepts that it is a part of me. More than any other person in my life, he has been able to lock my demon in chains so that it can't sink its wicked claws into me. However, it frightens me and bewilders him that a casual throwaway comment can cause those chains to simply melt away.
I will give you an example.
My lovely nephew was visiting. Being a minority meat eater in a mostly vegetarian family, whenever we have these get-togethers we generally tend to go en masse to our local Wetherspoons for a breakfast. He gets his fix of sausage bacon and black pudding and we get to enjoy the rather delicious veggie option. On this particular occasion, the new winter menu had been introduced. One change was that the veggie breakfast was available in a 'large' option which meant an extra sausage and two slices of toast, making it even more of a treat. There were also some new tempting items on the dessert menu. I confessed to my husband that I have been known to go to Wetherpoons just before twelve so as to still qualify for the breakfast menu, then having eaten the breakfast, order a dessert because it felt OK to do so, it now being after 12oclock. This is where the throwaway comment came. He looked me in the eye and said "No wonder you ... ( and I know he meant to say 'are so fat' but he must have realised that this would have been very hurtful so he backtracked and said)... are carrying a few extra pounds".
Simple as that. An evil grin spreads across the demon's face as it is unleashed.
I don't scream or shout or even try to explain that that wasn't a very kind thing to say - I just sink into a place inside myself. Outwardly, I carry on as usual but everytime my husband talks to me or touches me I sink a little deeper.
I try to tell myself not to be so stupid. I try to focus on all the wonderful things there are in my life and how my husband is such a key part in all that is good. I try to tell myself that this is just my demon and it will lose its power over me. It doesnt matter what I tell myself. Depression grips and it grips bloody tight.
I don't believe I will ever be completely free of my demon but I am getting better at living with it. I also feel incredibly lucky to have a husband that is not afraid to face up to it. I hate how much it hurts him to see that he has unwittingly hurt me but that is something we both have to deal with together.