Trying to find control

What does ‘in control’ mean? How do you know if you’re in control? In control of what exactly? It’s a notion that many people use in terms of depression, and how someone is coping. I’m asked the question a lot. At the doctors. By friends. Do you feel in control of your depression? How am I meant to answer that?

At my bad points, it’s a simple answer of course. No I’m not. On my bad days I really struggle to get out of bed and eat, let alone feel in control of all aspects of my life. And on my good days? Am I in control? Well no not particularly. I’m feeling okay of course, but that can change in a heartbeat. And I cannot control when it does, how it does, or why it does. So I’m not really in control then am I?

But of course when I’m asked the question, most of the time I’ll say yes. Even when I’m not doing well I will typically answer yes because of course I still control my actions, my words, even though my feelings act like a yo-yo. But of course I’m not in control of my feelings. Plus, if you can never really achieve true control then what’s the point of saying no.

I’ve reached the point now where I’m not too sure why I even began to write this. I guess it was a pet peeve of mine, an annoyance that people generalised with depression. I mean look who you’re talking to. I’m a guy on anti-depressants who struggles with self-harming and has suicidal tendencies, which part of me screams control even at my good points?

What’s worse is that I’m a person who needs control, and I cannot stand the notion of too much change. I need to know there’s an element of planning and control in my life: where I’m going, what the future holds, the hope that one day I’ll be truly happy. Depression takes away the little bit of control we do seem to have in our lives, and for depressives like me that’s torture. All we really want is that bit of control.

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