Yeah, I know what you all were thinking when you read THAT title. But come on, we all need a little humor in our lives.
I feel like it is time for me to write about my “elephant in the room”. I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to say something about this, because it’s important and has been an overwhelming part of my life, and yet I have felt embarrassed or ashamed of it.
So what is it? In a word: DEPRESSION.
There, I said it. Depression. You know, that “mental illness” that some people have. Here’s a definition from dictionary.com, “A psychiatric disorder characterized by an inability to concentrate, insomnia, loss of appetite, anhedonia, feelings of extreme sadness, guilt, helplessness and hopelessness, and thoughts of death. Also called clinical depression.”
Only exception to that list, unfortunately, is the loss of appetite. I seem to have the other problem. Really, wouldn’t you think if you have to go through all of those other terrible symptoms, you could at least benefit from weight loss?!
All joking aside, I haven’t said this to many people, because I felt like it shouldn’t be happening to me. Many people I know don’t believe in the existence of clinical depression and do not approve the use of medication to treat it. And I grew up in that atmosphere. If I kept myself busy, if I just worked harder, if I just pushed myself to do projects, to do service to others, to do well in all aspects of my life, I wouldn’t feel this way. I had way too great a life to be unhappy.
But it doesn’t work that way. Sometimes the anxiety and sadness is just overwhelming. It’s that black hole, the moment just before a terrible accident when you realize that there is nothing you can do about it except go along for the ride now. Some days you just wander around in a daze. I feel like I am driving a car in really bad fog where all I see is just a few feet in front of me. It’s all I can do NOT to be a bum–collapse on the couch and just watch TV all day, and some days I do that anyways, even though I KNOW that I have a pile of work to finish up and the quality will be a lot better if I don’t procrastinate.
I drop the ball on a couple of things, even though I have the best intentions of doing whatever it was that I offered/was given to do. And of course, then I feel even worse for doing that, and then it adds to the guilt I feel for being a “horrible person.”
No matter what is said to me in those worst moments, no matter what people might be trying to do to help me out, NOTHING helps. I just try not to crumple into a heap of wrinkled, wet misery on the bed. And sometimes I do anyways.
This is where I’d like to mention how wonderful my husband is. He has known me for a long time, and even through periods of blah that were in our relationship, he still married me, and still supports me daily. I know it’s not easy for him when he’s come home from a long day of work and I was “wiped out” by merely doing a load of laundry and didn’t get dinner done. And yet, he would never say it. And even in those moments where I am beating myself up because I feel like I am the most worthless person in existence and I just want to be all alone in my misery, Jared’s there, saying any positive yet logical thing that comes to mind to try and ease the load of hate and loathing I have for myself. Even though I shoot down every one. Or discredit it with other examples. Even though I know I must be making his life THISMUCH harder and therefore making me feel even more like a horrible person for letting him see my pathetic condition.
I’ve been on medication specifically for depression and anxiety since December. (I am not going to mention which one, because I’ve tried others that haven’t worked nearly as well—made me even physically sicker—and I’ve researched even more.) I’ve also started working with a counselor as well.
I have been thinking about putting this confession up on my blog for awhile. I composed a bit here and there in my mind, but today my “mental doctor” suggested I get into journaling again. So I thought about doing private entries in my blog. Then I wondered why I was going to do that. This is a part of who I am. I have been suppressing it for so long that I had really only made things worse. And maybe there are other people out there who feel the same way and aren’t getting the help they need, because living a depressed life isn’t really living. I don’t even think I could call it existing. You may have all the reason in the world to be happy, but you can’t enjoy it. You aren’t living life to the fullest.
I can’t believe how much better I am feeling from the person I was a year ago, or even 6 months ago. And I still have bad days. Logically I know I shouldn’t feel this way, but I spiral down and get caught in a rut. But I have more good days now than bad days, and I can see past the fog a little further.
And for all that, I was embarrassed to say, but it’s a part of me, and I should not be ashamed because I am trying to be better. I am making the effort to be happier and healthier. And to me and those of you who may know what I am talking about, that’s what really matters.