A similar story indeed. Very nearly the same age as me - from the sounds of it, the same miserable battle. When I'm sick I attach blame to everything I can - usually my job, or where I'm living, or what other people are up to. The thing is, my own situation has changed many, many times and none of the external changes I've made have ever made a blind bit of difference to my mental health. Over the years, my own awareness has evolved though - it started off in my teenage years without any awareness that mental health was even a "thing". Then , as one miserable episode followed another I came to a creeping realization that I was depressed. Later I started suffering panic attacks and an overall concern for pretty much everything which was't in my power to change. So, then I became depressed and anxious. Still, the primary condition which I continued seeking treatment for was chronic, repeating episodes of depression. I self medicated - first with booze , then with prescription pills and then with prescription pills and booze.
I know you're right though - in the end, I think you learn from experience that the only real , permanent solution comes from within. In many ways, I'm making more progress now than I have for most of my past. I've starting to unpick the sheer the complexity of the human condition and have developed some insights which I feel should be useful. About 18 months ago, I made a dramatic change in my consumption of booze. Initially I intended to quit the bottle of ever. I got around 6 months of sobriety - although in truth I really just turned my attentions to a pill abuse. Eventually, I drifted back to the booze, a little despondent that it had precipitated a step change in overall happiness. In fact, apart from the obvious misery of the hangover, sobriety made not one jot of difference to my overall outlook. But, - to be fair - a couple of minor episodes aside , I have largely kept myself free from major alcoholic binges. So - that's good. Neither am I now taking excessive quantities of my prescribed medication in pursuit of something which might take me away from my awful, excruciating and desperate mind. I had developed a theory that any form of significant change was a trigger for a depressive episode. I had notable such episodes for example, when I left school, when I began university, when I started work, when I changed work, when I got married, when I had kids. Each time something changed, I would attach my depression to it. I was studying the wrong subject, I was living in the wrong place, I was in the wrong job....
I now think, the triggers are far more subtle. Thinking back, only now, I realize that in my childhood I demonstrated classic OCD - bedtime rituals mainly but other obsessions too. Nothing too serious or damaging and in general most of these obvious, outward obsessive traits have diminished. However, thinking about recent patterns of my depression - it seems to me that even minor disruptions to my regular routines, precipitate unpleasant, dark thoughts. Summer holidays when the kids on holiday and everyone is home during the day; Christmas time when the family comes temporarily together in one place, travelling whether for work or for "pleasure". Anything that disrupts what I know and what's familiar. The depression can cycle fairly rapidly too - sometimes just a matter of weeks between the ups and the downs. Never considered the possibility of bi-polar before but , having researched that too - I'm leaning towards the possibility of bi-polar II. No real manic episodes but , reflecting on things, when I'm not depressed I do have a tendency towards compulsions , grand gestures and purchases which are uncomfortably expensive.
So here I am and so what ?? I've had depression and anxiety all my life and sometimes it's gotten so bad all I want is for it all stop. I've even fantasized about the idea of a reversible death - just check our for a few years , maybe return when everything was better in the world,..... how odd is that ? Now I think I have a complex condition of anxiety, ocd and depression which may or may not have bi-polar characteristics. But what use is the insight ? I still feel shit and I still haven't found a way to feel less shit. All I know is that it will eventually swing back again. Not to happiness per se - never that I don't think. But it will swing back to something which is, at least, not as bad as wanting to die. And then I wait...... wait for it all to repeat. With each major cycle, I back with a new doctor - trying a new dose of this that or the other. The uptick comes - but I now suspect it happens of it's own accord. Randomly, uncontrollably - after all, disruption to everyday routine is what just happens in life - for everyone, in every generation. I really do wonder about the efficacy of anything I've ever taken. Maybe one day, I will find the magic bullet. The right anti-depressant, something new - ketamin, psychedelics, ETC....... a job I love, a town full of friends, a fairer, saner society where all the madness has been been removed and everyone shares my own political philosophies....... 🙂
For now, the battle goes on - the poke and hope approach to mental health. Maybe one day the light will stay on.....at least until it's switched off forever,
Anyway, always good to get if off my chest - thank you if you stuck with the self indulgence !