Thursday, June 26, 2014

#YesIStruggle With Depression

I was watching my friend going through something tough. The loss of a dream; the loss of certainty. They were crying and I sat beside them, listening, trying to think what I could say.

They said, "How can I make choices without knowing things for certain?" I wanted to say, "We never know anything for certain."

They said this meant they didn't have a legacy to leave behind. I wanted to say, "Your legacy is the people you touch, like me."

They said this would affect the rest of their life. I wanted to say, "We both know this life is short and there's another one after."

But I didn't. I didn't say anything. I knew it wouldn't make any difference.

They were feeling things. Thinking would come later; talking and asking questions would come later. Right now, they just needed to feel.


I am suffering from depression again.

Today was a bad day. I slept an extra hour and a half, then lay in bed staring at the ceiling for two hours. I had an appointment at noon--people were relying on me--so I pulled myself out of bed at 11 and took a shower I don't remember clearly. My mind was elsewhere.

I didn't feel like eating. I tried to get myself breakfast; I pulled stuff off shelves and put it on the counter. I knew I needed to eat. I lay the food out in front of me. But I didn't feel like eating. In the end, I settled on goldfish crackers as something I could stomach. So I ate a breakfast of goldfish crackers, half a protein bar, and a gatorade.

I didn't play music in the car as I drove. I don't really remember driving at all. I know this is usual in a town you're familiar with; your brain takes over.  But this was a new route to a new place in a town I moved to 10 months ago. Somehow I got there alright.

I met my husband there. He made me happy. Yes, I can still feel happy. Viewing the rental house with the realtor went fine. Then I got back in my car and felt lethargic. I made myself turn on music. When I got home again, I sat there listening to music in the garage for awhile.

I almost went back to bed.

There is nothing my friends can say to me to make me snap out of it. Working on being a nicer person won't help. Trying to feel better won't help. Doing things that make me happy won't help. Things that make me happy are temporary fixes; I feel happiness while on a date or with a friend, but once the experience is over, I return to where I am. Down.

Vlogger Beckie0 says, "If I hurt, it's because I hurt, not because I want to hurt."

I had one friend try to fix me. She told me to find a new perspective. She suggested I be more loving and open and teachable. She wondered if I'm harboring resentment over things I can't change.

It's not like that. Most of the time, there's no reason for my feelings. I feel things all the time. Anger. Weariness. Apathy. Despair. I've been pushed down into a puddle of over-feeling-ness. When there is a reason for my feelings (usually anger at the deep injustice I see around me), there's nothing I can do about, and I know that, but I still feel angry. I can't stop feeling. I want to. I can't.

This is depression. And this is where I am right now.

I'm going to walk this depression-journey publicly here on the blog. As I struggle with myself, fighting myself to do what's good for myself and my body, I want to share that struggle with you. Because I know so many of you struggle with the same thing. This isn't about giving advice. It's about drawing strength from each other, because knowing others feel the same way I do is the most comforting thing in the world. I'm not alone.

I'll be blogging about depression periodically. I'll also be tweeting my struggles with #yesIstruggle. If you want to join this conversation, use the hashtag and tweet about your good days, your bad days, and the things you wish people knew.

All I ask is that you not try to fix me, or anyone else who uses the hashtag or comments on the blog. We're not here so you can give us advice, but to let some light into the dark little boxes we find ourselves in. When we want advice, we'll ask. People are not problems to be solved. People are people, in need of love. Treat us like we're human.

Treat us like I did my friend: with gracious silence. Sometimes you have to feel.

This post is probably the most courageous, honest thing I've ever written. I write bald stuff all the time; I'm not afraid of talking about the things I've struggled with or gone through in the past. I'm open about areas where I've pulled through. But I rarely share what I'm struggling with at the time. I don't like appearing weak.

I'm hanging myself out there with this post. I have my husband and my closest friends as my sounding board to help me ignore the unproductive comments that will come, including the well-meaning ones. They're also my sounding board to tell me when I need to get various types of help and to check up on me. In other words, that's not your job. It's theirs.

Yours is to talk. Be open. Listen. And be there for your depressed friends.

Word count: 949.