I always assumed depression was a condition one endured, then moved on from. With time, perhaps medicine, therapy, a good support network, I figured it was somewhat linear: you suffer, then recover. And if the condition is chronic, perhaps the suffering will re-emerge at another point in life, but the trajectory will be the same. Recovery will, indeed, happen.
Except that this has not been my experience at all. And I can’t believe that I, someone who is passionate about mental health, ever believed this to be true. Because depression, much like many afflictions, I suppose, is most definitely not linear. It is wayward. Up and down, over and over and over again.
Some days I’m up- but not as up as my normal “up” self- and some days I’m down. Some days it’s hard to get out of bed, but I do because I am alive, and I have a life to live, and a family to take care of. But even on my good days, there is a darkness that permeates. One I can’t cut through no matter how hard I try. Where once there was blue skies and beautiful birds, now there’s just these thick, looming, oppressive gray clouds. I try. Believe me I try. I put on my smile, sometimes even wear makeup, and try my best to be in the world. I am seeking out the help I need often, and trying to put myself at the top of my to-do list. But even so, right now, I’m just in it. It sucks. It’s hard. It’s dark. But… it will pass. I do have that hope and knowledge, even though I know this experience isn’t linear. I also have this awareness that this must be exactly where I’m supposed to be right now.
I am vulnerable, and learning to be okay with that. I’m splayed wide open, for my friends and family to see. There’s no hiding from this. And it’s frightening and shameful, but I’m learning to be okay with it. To let others see me – know me – as I am. And that this is just something I’m going through right now, but that it certainly doesn’t define me. Not as a mother, friend, wife, or person. I’m so much more than this Depression, and my other constant sidekick, Anxiety. This will pass… and it may come back again. But it will not defeat me. I will keep fighting, even when I don’t feel strong. Because there is good – SO MUCH GOOD. I’m well aware of that and know that I am beyond blessed.
As I always say, to those suffering: I see you. I feel you. I am you. You are not alone.