Hello everyone. I know it’s been a while since I posted anything. I’ve been a bit busy with traveling and having one of the best summers of my life.
I have also been dealing with some of the most severe anxiety and depression of my life. For the past 25 years I’ve been (mostly) successful with dealing with my depression. But right now I need a little back up. Something to get me through the worst part, so today I took my first pill ever for depression. Here’s to modern medicine!
In my quarter century of having the winter blues, I’ve come to understand a few things about depression. Someday I’ll write a memoir and get into the gritty details, but for now, here are a few things I’ve learned. I hope it helps you as much to read it as it will be for me to write it.
First, depression is like any other physical ailment, because it literally IS a physical ailment. Everything that happens in your mind is the result of neurological interactions. If you can’t physically produce Serotonin, you can’t feel happy. No matter how much you like eating chocolate, or watching re-runs of Cheers, or dancing, or dressing up like a Chocobo and going to a Final Fantasy event, no serotonin equals no happy. There is some promising research in this area ~ Sciencedaily ~
So that’s a bit about what depression IS, but that doesn’t help to understand what it FEELS like.
Depression is like being in a gravity well. The deeper I go, the more pressure I feel. And the more energy it takes to get out to be free. The energy that it takes for me to get me out of depression can come from many sources. Sometimes it’s a hug, or a kind word, or even a smile. Or sometimes it’s just for you to listen to my woes, or to talk to me and distract me from my pain. All these, and more, give me energy. But it still takes an internal spark to get the energy to work.
The problem with lighting that spark is that depression attacks the very thing that I need to succeed—my will to do so. It’s like an auto-immune disorder of my ego. It attacks my ability to fight, and sometimes I’m so tired of the fight that all I can do is “be”. Just be depressed, just be anxious, just be sad, or angry, or whatever. To you it might look like I’m giving up, or leaning in, or letting the depression win. It’s not. It’s me floating on my back to keep from drowning. It’s me taking a breather to gather the strength to utilize the love you have so kindly given me.
Which brings me to another point. Please don’t be disappointed, or feel guilty, when your efforts don’t work right away. If I broke my leg you shouldn’t feel guilty that you can’t make my bones mend instantly with the power of your love and devotion. When you do everything you can to help, and all I do is give a weak smile of acknowledgement, your face falls. And I feel like a failure when I can’t be happy for my friends or family. As horrible as I might feel, nothing compares to the misery of letting down my loved ones. To know you are suffering because I can’t get my shit together hurts like a spike in my chest.
To see you hurting because of me, that is the absolute worst part about depression. To see you standing there, feeling hopeless, useless, or like you aren’t enough is sometimes more than I can bear. You are enough. I wish at that moment I could tell you how much you really are doing for me. All the encouragement and love, all the kind words and hugs, the smiles, the pats on the back, they all help. They are doing wonders. They fill me up with that desperately needed energy and as soon as I can, I light the fuse and soar.
Anyway, thanks for reading. Hope you feel better. I know I do. But then again, I did just take a happy pill 🙂