Everything Else

Depression steals

My husband sent me a link to this post on depression, and I think it’s really accurate description of what depression does to a person. Go read it. I’ll wait.

So what’d you think? It resonated with me, so much. I’ve tried to write honestly here about depression, both to help myself process the disease and create some awareness about it. But all the while, I feel like the depression is my fault. I feel like I shouldn’t be depressed. Like it’s not normal so it must not be OK. Do you struggle to take a shower every day? Do you take three-hour naps after lunch? Do you sit on the couch trying not to cry while your kids play around you, wanting them to have fun but knowing you’re powerless to help? At times the guilt is so heavy it feels like it will crush me.

“Depression took a lot from me…depression destroyed my GPA, my relationships with my friends, my involvement on campus, and much, much more.”

For me, depression took my capacity to experience happiness every day. Depression took my even-keel and my ability to not freak out about taking a wrong turn in a new city. It took my sense of reason and though later I’ll realize I was overreacting, in the moment the yelling or throwing of things I was doing seems perfectly appropriate to me. Depression took my personal hygiene. Showering is a huge mountain to climb for me, something I literally have to plan my day around. Brushing my teeth in the morning feels like an unmanageable chore.

“I was 13 years old the first time someone told me that suicide was a selfish act. I was 15 the first time someone I knew killed themselves. I was 20 years old when suicide started to make sense.”

A couple of years ago, a close friend stopped being my friend. There was no warning; one day she was there, the next day she wasn’t. It hurt for a long, long time. I was severely depressed. We stayed home a lot. Though I had the kids and my work, I was lonely. I questioned myself constantly—what did I do to make her hate me? Was I not smart enough? Not a good enough mother? I asked myself these questions all the time but I knew I’d never know the answers. I went to counseling and a complete stranger told me she could tell I was a good person but all I could think was, “after you know me a few more years, you’ll probably change your mind.”

It’s made it difficult for me to forge new friendships. Knowing I failed in that friendship, realizing that someone truly didn’t want me around and took steps to make that happen, brought me so much pain. I wondered, “Does everyone feel that way about me? Am I a worse person than I thought?” I proceed with such caution in new friendships it’s like I’m walking on eggshells. I punctuate my texts with exclamation points and smiley faces. I offer to bring coffee to playdates. I question myself when I think of calling, unsure if they’ll want to talk to me. All I can think is, “Like me like me like me.” These kind, wonderful women have no idea what they’re dealing with. Maybe one day we’ll become closer. And maybe one day I’ll tell them that the real reason I never took my kids to that new children’s museum is because I was too depressed to leave the house.

“I am depression and behind stylish sunglasses too big for my face and a résumé too long for a college sophomore, no one ever knew that my illness had crippled me so severely that I spent 20 hours a day wrapped in blankets in my bed, trying desperately to fight away the bitter cold that had taken residence in my heart and mind.”

I too have days when that bitter cold seems to take over my heart and mind. I have days when I want to stay in bed and sleep all day. I don’t even get up to eat. I want to escape my life, escape the nagging demands of the day-to-day, and sleep brings that oblivion I crave. I have days when I don’t know what to do with myself so I don’t do anything, and before I know it it’s eight o’clock, the kids are in bed, and nothing worth watching is on TV. The days when the nothingness stretches out into forever are the absolute worst.

I wrote this today, but I’m going to save it, reread it, edit it, and edit it again. By the time I post it next week I’ll probably be feeling better, back to my normal self, even. But today I am low, today the depression has its claws deep into me, and today it will take all my energy to pry them off and just be present for my children.

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