A Shrink Thinks

Psychic pain

Drowning hand reaching up out of an empty sea
CREDIT: Unsplash
Alan Thomas
Alan Thomas Professor and Consultant in Psychiatry. Elder at Newcastle Reformed Evangelical Church.
22 April, 2022 4 min read

Last month, when considering Job’s experience, we reflected on the difficulty of defining depression. But this is not the difficulty people experiencing depression have. Their problem is explaining their experience to others. I recently received an email from someone who had been through the horrors of severe depressive illness. They wanted others to understand and so with permission and anonymised here it is:

Depression came on so insidiously that it took me a long time to wonder if I might be becoming depressed. Over time I noticed that I felt sad and tearful for no apparent reason. Eventually, with university exams and assignment deadlines looming, I knew I needed help.

I had spent weeks cooped up in the library failing to write my essays or revise for my exams. I simply couldn’t concentrate and I didn’t know why. In addition I had become so accustomed to battling suicidal thoughts that I no longer thought anything of them. Longing to drown myself in a nearby lake or to buy meds at a local shop for an overdose had become my new normal.

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