Over the last 20 years or so sense the diagnosis of my depression, life seems like a blur. There were days, weeks, or months where it was me just doing what I had to do. I was a mom and wife and had a full time job and I knew I could not just stay in my dark cave all day and be miserable. But that is what I really truly wanted to do. I did the same routine day in and day out. I would get up and clean, get the kids off to day care or school, go to work, come home, make dinner, help with homework, and put the kids to bed. Rinse and repeat!
It is most likely what every adult parent does, but for someone with depression it is not that easy. I tried to be the best mother and wife that I could be, but there was that emptiness, that black hole that was just eating me up on the inside, like a black hole in the middle of a galaxy that swallows planets slowly over millions of years.
Now in the present day, I know that the black hole can get smaller, the emptiness can go away – at least I hope it can, because even though I am healing my emptiness has not completely gone.
It is so hard to explain how you are feeling to people who just don’t understand what depression is or what it feels like. Once a friend told me, “Live life to the fullest” another friend said, “Just think those happy thoughts, no negative thoughts.” You read everywhere about the power of attraction and affirmations. To look in the mirror and say “You’re beautiful, or I love me.”
Here is the problem with that, when you have that black hole in your heart there is no looking in the mirror and seeing the beautiful you. There is only seeing how tired you are, how puffy your eyes are, and how fat your face is getting. I could go on, but I am sure you have the picture. All you see are the negatives – it is very hard to see the positives even on a good day. But then again, on the good days if you look in the mirror and get the right angle of the sun hitting your face, you may think, “I am beautiful!” but on those bad days, where the blackness and emptiness are consuming you. You are just consumed in that dark place of nothingness.
Now life was not so easy for me while my kids were growing up – I worked full time at night, I was going to school to pursue my degree and I was a full time mom and wife, taxi, housekeeper. I could go on and on as most mothers can. Most of the time I did not have the time to even think about being depressed. It just was what it was. Now I am not saying that I was never happy I had good days, months, maybe even a couple of years in there but, when you suffer from depression it is really hard to remember the good times.
For me, depression has shown its ugly head in many ways and it has changed throughout the years. There are a couple of ways that depression hits me the most and I hope though time I will be able control it instead of letting it control me.
One of the ways that depression affects me the most is that I just become a hollow shell. I quit talking and if someone asks me if I am mad or if something is wrong, I just say, “I’m fine,” even if I’m not. There are times where I go through my daily routine, and let me just say that I have gotten pretty good at just faking it, I would go home and everyone would just scatter, my depression radiated negativity off of me like an super nova. I would just go into my dark room and stare at a TV screen, not even paying attention to the screen most of the time. It is as if all the energy I had is gone and my body has been sucked out into space. I did what I needed to do and I can’t do anymore, my system has been overloaded and I just shut down.
My latest symptom of depression has been anger and irritability and it has destroyed some really good friendships and almost my career because I did not know it was my depression. I was so unhappy and miserable that I could not see what I was doing to those around me. It took me almost destroying my career to figure this out. I was angry all the time and I just had an “I don’t care attitude!” Part of me knew that there was something wrong, but I was so lost in space that I had pretty much given up.
I was just angry at life.
I was angry everywhere I went.
I was angry that my life did not turn out the way I had pictured it.
I thank the universe that I was forced into getting the help that I needed; and looking back, I am so glad I did get help.
I think I will always suffer from depression. My hope is that it will go into a nice remission for a very long time, but realistically I know that I will have difficulties and will always need medication. For me, it is more than just about life not going the way I want it to, or stressful times in my life, or the grief of losing someone I love. It is a true chemical imbalance.
When you have depression, you can’t help it, it is not like you can turn your symptoms on and off. When you are depressed most of the time, you don’t even know what you are doing or why you are doing it. For me though, now that I am aware, I am hoping that I can gain some control and stay ahead of the depression verses the depression taking control of me.
I am currently in therapy and will be for a long time. There was something that my therapist said to me that has just stuck. She said,
“Sometimes depression is a way of trying to tell you that something is wrong, by slowing you down, slowing down your mind, by becoming fuzzy or losing focus. Sometimes, you just have to see that is why the depression is happening.
I am still figuring out what that means for me, but what I did learn was that I was not living my life under my terms, I was living life for everyone else and I knew that needed to change. I have lived life for everyone else for so long though that it i going to be a journey.
And so the journey continues on……..