Second extract from my life writing piece.

21 Mar

So this follows on from my previous post, which is the first draft from a piece of work for my life writing class which is being workshopped in class tomorrow. Life-Writing-Color


Still, I decided it would have to be a memoir written from the experiences to come, over the course of say a year, unfolding I guess more like a journal but with the memoir elements of touching upon the important stages in my life that have lead me to where I am today contained within it.  At least the hope of something positive to arise from the choices I now plan to make going forward is there. In the ensuing days I have of course asked myself the question ‘why write about it?’ I think the answer has various elements to it. Catharsis from writing being one. Adding my own story to the ones already out there being another. Depression has a nasty habit of not only isolating you but making you feel as if you neither have a voice or that your opinion means anything at all. In the grand scheme of things I suppose this is true, but the emotion of me reasserting myself, telling my story, having a voice, is both a strong one and a powerful driving force. It is certainly true that depression is something that is much more widely discussed than ever before and I wish to be part of that conversation, to give my version.  

Building a framework

OK, so let’s assume that you agree that you would like to read what I write, you’re probably looking to gain insight from what you read. How else can I aid this I thought? Well if you’re on a journey you’d probably like a few signposts right, to see where you are going and where you have come from etc. So I tried to figure out what these signposts could be. Signposts that would make it easier for you to engage. The answer came in the form of questionnaires. I came across the website and found a wealth of information and also questionnaires on depression, bi-polar disorder etc. Fantastic I thought, these will not only give me a base line from which to properly start from, but my progress could easily be tracked by taking the test every, let’s say two weeks. You’ll get an added sense of the variable nature of the illness and hopefully over time the scores would be getting better as I try to take control and manage it properly.

I took two tests, the ‘Goldberg Depression Questionnaire’, which came back with

Total score of: 69 (54 and up, Severely Depressed)

“You appear to be suffering from severe depressive symptoms commonly associated with serious depressive disorders, such as major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder or dysthymia.”

And the Tri-Axial Bipolar Spectrum Screening Quiz (TABS), which came back with

Total score of: 32

(13-64, With Both Depressive and Manic Axes Elevated)

Your answers indicate levels of experiences which are consistent with bipolar disorder, including those associated with both manic and depressive symptoms.

I will add that these were taken on the 11th March and that the preceding week had been one of those ‘rougher’ ones.

To be fair the results could do with more elaboration so here are a couple of questions from the questionnaires with my answers (the actual questionnaires are just tick boxes by the way)

4. The pleasure and joy has gone out of my life. (depression test)

This. This is one of the principle reasons for embarking on this project. They talk about ‘episodes’ of depression, or ‘bouts’. To be perfectly honest I’m worn out from it all, the constant cycle of boom and bust. The good times now are just horribly diluted by the knowledge that the demon is around the corner. I’ll give you an analogy. If my happiness was say a river, then depression would be what the river would be like after an oil spill. Now there’s thick, black, sludgy nastiness on the surface. Sure, the waters still there, you can reach for it but you can’t avoid the oil, your hand is still going to be tainted by it. Or how about, you know how once your mind realises that the fridge is making that whirring sound you can’t unhear it because you’re tuned into it? Well there we go.


3. I have been enjoying activities that I know carry a significant risk of causing me problems later (e.g., buying sprees, sexual indiscretions, or unusual business investments). (Bi-polar test)

19. Some of the experiences listed above have caused me problems at work or in my social activities; led to arguments or fights; or left me with family, financial or legal difficulties. (Bi-polar test)

I grouped these two together for the simple reason that after thinking about them they, along with the question from the depression test, provided the stimulus for change. After thinking on the Several thousand pounds of debt, with a credit rating so far gone I can’t even get a ‘vanquis’ credit card, when I think about the failed relationships, the shrinking of my friendship circle, the jobs I’ve quit when the depression got bad but I couldn’t bring myself to admit I was struggling, the breakdown in communication with my family, that rather embarrassing trip to the STD clinic, not remembering the last time I was truly at peace and happy (alcohol excluded), I just feel this is a good time and place in my life to begin to try and turn things around or at the very least, learn how to cope and live with what I have.

So I guess the journey will now begin.







One Response to “Second extract from my life writing piece.”


  1. Depression Update via Questionnaires | vincentnorwood - April 6, 2013

    […] In this blog, I talked about how I would track my progress by doing depression questionnaires every couple of weeks. […]

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