Society treats depression like a bad word, as if people who have it are broken. Heaven forbid if you make any reference to possibly suffering from it!
About 5 years ago, following way too many days of crying I realized my world was in the midst of a storm and I couldn’t deal with it on my own.
I remember the day clearly, sitting in my doctor’s office. “It’s like having this dark storm cloud hovering over my head all the time. I just can’t seem to see the sun anymore. I have anxiety attacks in the middle of the night that wake me up. I find myself sitting straight up in bed thinking to myself, ‘Oh no! I forgot to turn on the dishwasher before bed.’ I find myself in a cold sweat, shaking from head to toe, ready to go into fight or flight mode. It’s awful!”
“If I am not stressing about messing something up, during the day I feel so low and worthless I can hardly function. Going into public to run errands, I wished I was invisible. That way, I wouldn’t have to put words together and sound like a normal human being.”
This anxiety/depression combo resulted in me being a highly reactionary and impatient mother and wife. I hated myself for it, too. I wanted to be free of my own company. I loathed having to continue being me.
My doctor inquired about my relatives and mental health issues. “Well yes, dementia on dad’s side and depression–that kept the person from speaking for days at a time–on mom’s side.” The doc’s face turned to a look of, “ahaa!” on her face. She then informed me that, at no fault of mine, I was struggling with anxiety and depression. She then explained that they are like two sides of a coin and something that can be passed down genetically. She clarified, ”You have done nothing wrong, there is just a slight imbalance in your brain chemistry.”
In my situation a mild anti-depressant for a period of time was all I needed to see the sun again. I rediscovered my enthusiasm and passion for music plus the guts I needed to get in front of people again.
Now, of course, everyone is different. Sometimes the chemistry in your brain needs balancing out permanently. Again, you didn’t do anything wrong. Getting your brain chemistry balanced just helps the true you shine through!
My world is not perfect now, my anxiety pops up occasionally and I am aware when clouds are threatening to cover my blue sky again. Once in a great while my anxiety will get the best of me and a few thoughtless words will pour out of my mouth, like Harry Potter when he tried to smile at Cho with a mouth full of pumpkin juice.
I am always striving to do better at apologizing as soon as possible and then just moving forward instead of caring my mistakes on my back like a cross I must forever bear. We all screw up. We are human. Forgiveness is not just something we are to give to others. It’s something we need to give to ourselves.
What about you? Do you, or someone you know, deal with depression? Are there tools you’ve heard about, or discovered, that are helpful?