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Keeping A Lid On It?
Posted by NotAmused
15th Oct 2015

I'm in a hole. It's dark down here. There may be a lovely warm, sunny day at the top of it but from here I can't see it. There's a pot and a lid down here with me, and some sort of noxious solution.

Let me explain.

I've been running. I've been running since I was a teenager. Sure, I have acknowledged at times that I suffer from depression, but mostly I've been running from it, pretending it's not there. I've ended up on anti-depressants on occasions, when those around me have prodded me and pointed out that I'm not OK, but most of the time I’ve lived in not-so-blissful ignorance.

All the while I am running, there is this hole ahead of me, always just out of reach. And I'm ignoring that, too.

Right now, I'm not OK. Far from it. You see, I have this pot into which I put all those things I can't face dealing with. The lid gets jammed on tight and I keep running. But I carry that pot with me, so no matter how fast or how far I run I'm not escaping it. So no matter how tight that lid, things leak out of the pot and eat away at me, almost undetectably.

It drags me down.

I have been married to my partner for over twenty years, and been together for nearly 25 (a quarter of a century!) and we've survived many trials and tribulations, and we're still here.

But they don't know about my pot. I keep it hidden. It makes me feel vulnerable, and I don't like feeling vulnerable. Vulnerable is scary.

Oh, and I forgot to tell you that this pot sits above a low heat, and it keeps that pot simmering. Only over time that heat increases, and slowly brings the content to a boil and more things leak out. These things are toxic, they impair your judgement and they can make you make bad decisions.

About a year ago, the lid slipped. I needed comfort. I mentioned before that I have trouble opening up to my partner, maybe I don't want them to think "this is no longer the person I fell in love with" or some such nonsense. I got talking to someone online and over a short space of time we became close. All well and good, they were in a similar head space to me, we helped each other. We were there for each other at times of crisis. It was good. We were a comfort for each other. This other person, half my age, of the opposite gender. Can you see where this is heading?

We got too close. Much too close. Yes, *that* close. I'm not proud of it. It was wrong. It had to end. We parted painfully, sadly. It hurt. Don't give me sympathy, I don't deserve it. Not for that anyway. I hate myself both for being unfaithful, and for hurting that person - they didn't deserve it. I'd never done anything like that before and it's left me wondering who the hell I really am. And still I'm left with the wondering if that other person is ok, and that also eats away at me.

I can't tell my partner because what would be the point of hurting them, and by extension our families? I've already hurt one person, that’s one too many.

So we can now throw a huge dollop of guilt into that pot. I kept the lid on it for a few months, but that guilt grows. It makes that pot boil more quickly, and the pressure builds and builds and builds until finally that lid flies off.

All those things that are in the pot start to come spilling out, burning and scalding as they go until I start to cease to function properly. Not that I was functioning properly before, only now more crucial systems have been damaged. So the shock and surprise have made me fall. I have fallen headlong into that hole that I thought was just out of reach.

When things you love leave you cold and bring you no joy, you know you’ve let things go too far. When you find yourself at work, locked in a toilet cubicle having a panic attack you know you've let things go much too far. When you realise you've been composing a suicide note in your head, you know things have gone way too far. Things had already gone too far eighteen months ago. I ignored it. I veered off course. I hurt someone. I hurt myself. Enough. Time to stop. No more.

So here I am, a month into first going to my GP. I've been on a low dose of Mirtazapine, as much for its sedative properties as for the anti-depression. Not sure if it's made much of a difference. Possibly too soon to tell. However, I'm going to be on the next dose up after this packet is finished. Counselling has been applied for.

It's dark down here. It's cold and it's lonely. I could wait until somebody throws me a rope and I can start to haul myself out of here or I could start to chip away at the walls to make some hand-holds and slowly start to climb while I am waiting.

I have a couple of dear friends who I can turn to, and have already turned to, and I am immensely grateful to them for just being there and not judging me and putting up with my tears and self-recriminations. They've been helping with chipping away to make those hand-holes; it's slow progress, but at least it's progress.

Eventually I will emerge from this place, blinking in the light, drinking in the air.

But this time the pot stays where it is now. And no more running.

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