A Dip.

I am living the happiest and most fulfilling life. I feel like the luckiest lady in the world. I also have major depressive disorder and that juxtaposition can be hard for some people to understand. Sometimes when I share information about how my depression manifests people are surprised. Others pity me, tell me they’re sorry, or get annoyed “hearing about how sad I am” (sidebar: Depression Sadness).

I’ve been riding this same horse for over 25 years and – just like I am aware of my physical strengths and weaknesses – I am deeply attuned to the fitness level of my brain. I know that depression lies. I know what I need to do when I get into a depressive rut.

I know that it’s okay to be a person with depression and that in some ways it makes me stronger than those without it. My experience with the darkness translates into me appreciatiating every single teeny photon of light that hits my face. Most people do not have the luxury of experiencing extreme joy and gratitude almost every second of every day that isn’t A Bad One. I have that.

So this was a low week. A dip. Whatever you want to call it. This is just a normal little dip. I’m used it it. I know I will always have ups and downs and that some days are just rougher than others. I can sometimes feel myself sinking before I get too low. And I’ve been feeling it for the last couple of weeks – each day my body felt heavier and heavier until I sunk deep enough to have A Bad Day. Here’s a few highlights of how I felt and how my asshole brain lied to me:

My family and I go sledding. I struggle walking up the hill. I steer my us into the weeds. I lean on Older Daughter’s leg and she says it hurts. I push my youngest down the hill and her saucer goes over the single gigantic jump that exists. She flies like a ragdoll into the air and she bounces to the right of the jump while her boots bounce down to the left. The little energy I had seeps out of my boots and into the snow. My failures pile up until I can’t take it anymore and I’m ready to leave. I feel like I’m hardly even there anyway.

I’m just making things worse by being here.

My husband and I decided a few months ago to reduce our spending and start saving more. He’s been doing a great job not spending anything. Me? Not at all. Have I really been trying? Nope. He calmly brings this up to me and I appreciate his kind approach. I feel myself sinking down inside my own body. I’m disappearing into my own skin. I am not only failing my children, I’m failing my husband.

I’m just making things worse by being here.

I’m sinking lower and I’m so…..tired…..I am moving so slowly, I have trouble walking from the office, to the kitchen, and back to the office. It’s hard to lift my legs and it takes me a long time to muster enough energy to take the dirty laundry from the second floor to the basement. My children keep asking me for things I do not have the energy to do and I snap at them. I yell. I’m a puddle on the floor. I am a terrible mother.

I’m just making things worse by being here.

For decades, I didn’t talk about these kind of thoughts. I didn’t know that other people didn’t have them. Whenever I get this low my brain lies to me and I truly believe that I am a worthless pieces of garbage who makes everything around me worse. I am dead weight. Sure, my loved ones might be sad for awhile, but I know that I would be doing everyone a favor in the long run by not being here anymore.

I love them so much, I want to lessen their suffering. I know that their hardship is ME. I am the burden.

It’s really hard to talk about this when I’m in it. When my insides are getting sucked into a black hole that randomly opened up deep inside my stomach. When I’m falling further into myself and am flipping top over tail inside of my body. How do I explain what that even means? How do I explain to someone that after I went to get the pizza and before I sat down to watch the movie, I thought about how I would end it? Even if I wanted to try to explain it, it would take too much energy. Talking about it takes so….much…energy. I almost never have that kind of energy, to be honest.

If I AM able to talk about it, it means I am totally okay. This is often the opposite of what people think. Sometimes after I write about depression people reach out and ask if they can help. They don’t realize that by sharing my experience I am pulling some of the dark thoughts out of my chest and handing them to you. I let you take a little bit of that weight so I can breathe easier. Feel lighter. They don’t realize they’ve already helped so much, just by listening.

Ups and downs like this are just a part of having depression. Years ago I used to think I’d never fall into a depressive rut again during the times I felt great. And I’d feel like I’d never feel good again during the times I felt awful. Now I know that up and down and up and down is just how it is. I’m able to recognize my asshole brain is lying to me. I’m able to tell my brain that I know it’s a liar and do something about it.

Thanks for listening.

9 thoughts on “A Dip.

  1. Some day I think people will begin to see that suicide is caused by shame.

    Depression isn’t what causes suicide any more than being gay did in 1950.

    The problem is that people who are depressed are ashamed of being depressed. To anyone reading this who is depressed, I ask you, Is the depression making you feel suicidal or the shame of being depressed making you suicidal?

    If you are depressed, imagine if your family treated you as though you had cancer-a disease they believed was a disease. So, in the morning they came in and gave you a kiss. They didn’t make you feel like you had a choice whether or not to be diseased. They supported you and BELIEVED you weren’t choking to be sick?

    That’s why, in my opinion, those of us with this disease kill ourselves. We are told that ours is a disease of choice and that we are putting an unfair burden on our family to choose to allow this affliction to enter our souls. I believe this is what gay men and women in the 1969s (and beyond) were told.

    I believe this is why the LBGQT population has such high rates of suicide. Our culture has certain expectations. If you do not meet those expectations and you do not have medical proof of an illness, our culture tells us we are selfish for making our loved ones lives difficult. We are selfish for embarrassing them. We are selfish for being the person mature made us.

    So, is it selfish to commit suicide? No. Is it selfish to be depressed? No.

    It’s ok to be who you are. You didn’t ask to be gay, black, depressed, happy, near sighted, far sighted, paralyzed or anything else. If you are an inconvenience to your family, that’s their problem, not yours. You have every right to be who you are. You have merit. You have value. If you spend every day crying and sleeping, that’s exactly what you were made to do so embrace it. I embrace you for it.

    Those who want you to change can kiss my ass.

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