The Bug That Feasts on the Brain

**creepy and a story of depression**

While growing up, I didn’t have much in common with my brother except for the fact we lived in the same house, and had the same parents. Oh, and both of us had red hair.

He was a big mouth, I was shy. His life goal was to torture me. I have many stories of his brotherly love, but now I look back and laugh. I should have quit tattling on him, and dealt with matters myself.

Anything he liked, of course, I hated. One of his favorite television genres was horror. Prior to the early 1970’s, horror was depicted a bit differently than the blood and gore movies of today.

To me, it was entertainment because the shows were so corny.

One of the shows I have a vivid memory of, is an episode of Rod Serling’s Night Gallery. Any who followed this show, will no doubt remember this particular episode.

It was titled The Caterpillar. Oh my gosh! What made me watch that episode, I will never understand. It wasn’t as corny as Godzilla, Rodan, Mothra, or the vampire movies of the day. It was downright creepy.

Short synopsis. Love triangle. Setting was in a jungle during rainy season. All were stuck inside due to rain—and they were bored. The Englishman who came to the jungle to work on a plantation, fell in love with the owner’s wife. He plotted to do away with plantation owner, in order to win over the wife. He hired someone to put an earwig in the ear of the owner, but the plot was botched, and he ended up with the bug in his ear.

The earwig tortured him while eating its way through his brain, coming out the other ear. The man was relieved he had survived. However, the doctor told him that the bug was a female and laid eggs all through its path through his brain. I think the episode ended with the man screaming.

To this day, earwigs are far more creepy to me than any spider. Even the huge spiders. All earwigs must be squished.

So, why am I torturing y’all with this story?

That is what depression, and trying to hide it feels like. It eats away all the good thought processes in our brains, and leaves behind eggs of self-doubt, self-hate, insecurity, and many other falsehoods.

There has always been a little part of me who fights like a warrior. The warrior has kept me from staying in bed and neglecting my kids. I neglected house work, but never my kids. On reflection, there were times I don’t feel as if I was fully engaged while playing with my kids. It took all my focus to pretend.

While I feel as if I’m climbing back up the hill to happiness, I also have too much fear of slipping. I get angry with myself that I’m wasting one of the precious days I have been blessed with, being nonproductive, fearful, and sad.

These days, I am alone most of the day. I have been trying to recognize my triggers for anxiety or depression. I was stuck on one particular anxiety producing area of my life. I have been experiencing afternoon/early evening feelings of anxiety-agitation-irritability. I had no clue why I felt this way.

This morning, while waking up from the fog of sleep, I recognized my trigger.

Pretending.

All day, I have the pleasure to be who I am. If it’s grumpy, sad, cranky, or some other unpleasant person, I am not exposing that part of me to my family. I’m not torturing them.

Around 4 pm, anxiety begins to take hold of me. As hard as I try to breathe deeply, attempt meditation–with a T, not a C–or keep myself busy, I still experience afternoon anxiety, and it has gone on far too long. I usually have to resort to medication–with a C, not a T.

I become silent when my husband comes home. I pretend. I’m either silent, or I’m mean. Silence is nicer.

Pretending eats at my brain.

So, why do I pretend? Because people who don’t suffer from depression can’t empathize. I don’t want to let my husband down. I don’t want him to have to come home from his stressful job and have to deal with someone who doesn’t really care about anything.

Now, the days I feel depressed, are actually becoming simple bad days filled with fear. The fear of slipping.

However, anxiety—that “skill” I have developed—is a part of me. A part I have to let go.

My approach to recovery isn’t the same for every person. We are all unique. We all have varying degrees, or types of depression, all coming from a different place. My depression has come from anxiety. My anxiety has come from my depression. Often, they go hand in hand. Either one leaves little eggs of self destruction.

I’m sharing this to give some hope to any who are struggling.

I’m making progress through therapy, medication, and hard work that I must take responsibility of.

If you are suffering, please seek help. You deserve it. You are worthy.

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About April

I'll come back to this when I find out who I really am. I've been through some extremely rough patches but they have made me a better person. I blog if my brain is functioning first thing in the morning.
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21 Responses to The Bug That Feasts on the Brain

  1. Thanks for sharing April. It is important to know, we are not alone in these kind of feeling bad.
    Irene

    • April says:

      It is nice to know we have support. I know I couldn’t get by without it. Those who have had the same experience are the best supporters. Thanks Irene.

  2. Love this post. Very good as far as linking the earwig to depression, Please view my post at http://www.spotublog.com. The post I posted today may in fact help you. šŸ™‚

  3. suzjones says:

    And so are you.
    Keeping taking those baby steps my dear.

  4. Amen. You are indeed, worthy.

  5. Gallivanta says:

    Good advice šŸ™‚

  6. blissfulignorancetabitha says:

    Inspirational. Thank you. x

  7. Grndma Chris says:

    The word pretend is exactly the right word, you live your life pretending you are fine because you don’t want other family members to worry about you because that would only make things worse. I have also found that I have lost the ability to empathize with any and all crisis that my coworkers are going through, I simply do not care about them…but I have found that if I don’t distance myself emotionally from all of their personal life drama, being their ear to cry on makes me more depressed. It might be a form of self preservation.

    • April says:

      When I worked, pretending is how I got by. I didn’t want anybody to know I had a mental illness. That was 25 years ago, but the stigma is still the same. At my worst, I couldn’t control overwhelming desires to help people who lived through devastation due to Mother Nature. Earthquakes, tornado devastation, Haiti—-I felt so lost and helpless. All I could do is send what little money we could. Because I was so depressed, I didn’t know what else to do because my mind didn’t function any other way. It brought me down another level, even though I knew what I was experiencing was a little over the top. Self preservation is a great way to look at avoiding the crises of others. I know I certainly can’t handle the drama of others. Most times, it seems extremely trivial. Oh, I turned off the television. No more news stories that make me feel like I want to break down and cry. I’m planning to do something about the desire to help, when I feel a bit more stable. I want to volunteer for the Red Cross. I have been working toward that goal for about 2 years now.

  8. mewhoami says:

    Oh what a horrible episode that would be to watch. I’ve never liked those little critters. Now I dislike them even more.

    Pretend is a fitting word. It gets very tiring pretending. I read a book on the plane the other day about depression. It mentioned that many times people are depressed because they feel that they must be perfect. We don’t give any leeway to ourselves to mess up. So, we pretend. We pretend to have it all put together, when in reality we’re falling apart.

    • April says:

      Yes! Perfection was the second thing I started working with my therapist. It was my expectation of perfection that was skewed. I logically know that perfection doesn’t exits, but expectations do. I had to learn to lower my expectations of things that aren’t attainable. And yes, that episode was horrible. Seems like I watched it last week.

      • mewhoami says:

        I believe that’s my issue also. No, I know it is. I am so very critical of myself. Nothing I do is good enough. Perhaps I should lower my expectations of myself also. It would certainly make things easier. But, how did you learn to do that?

        • April says:

          I’m still in the process, but I find that I’m giving myself a break more than expecting perfection. Sometimes, when I’m hypercritical of myself, I kind of step back and ask myself if I would treat someone else the way I’m treating myself. Would I expect the same perfection from others? Also, when I tried to define perfection, I couldn’t come up with an answer. I’ve learned to identify what the issue is, and ask myself what can I seriously do about it. Once I realized that I couldn’t control every outcome of every area of my life, I learned to let go of the expectation of perfection. For me, there was an interconnection between my expectations and how I view myself. As much as I try, I will never be supermom/woman…but that’s okay.

          • mewhoami says:

            Thank you! That was very helpful. Good question – Would I be this harsh on someone else? No. And you’re right, we cannot control every outcome and to think we can puts way too much pressure on us. This is all very good and I will be thinking on it.

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