I am depressed.
And yes, this is different with me living with depression. I have accepted that I will always battle mental illness. And the days aren’t always dark and cloudy. Days, weeks, months can go by and I am me. Fully functioning, happy, joyful, healthy. The light shines bright on my heart and soul. I can eat, sleep, mother, be a friend, clean my house, enjoy life. During these periods of time, I almost forget. I almost lose focus of what it can be like. I am almost free.
But right now, today, I am deep in the trenches. Fighting my way out of this dark pit of emptiness. I force myself to complete everyday tasks. Get out of bed. Shower. Eat some breakfast. Smile. Breathe. Kiss my children. Play with them. Make dinner. Sleep. And repeat. My body aches. My limbs feel heavy. My shoulders are hunched from the pressure they bear. I feel empty. I feel hopeless. I feel helpless. Numb. Lost. Restless. I can’t focus. I can’t absorb what is going on around me. I can sit and stare at nothing for hours. Thinking of nothing. Thinking of everything. I am watching the world happen without me. I am standing in the dense fog with no way out. I am exhausted. I have no energy to move, to live, to be alive.
I have been living with depression with anxiety for 15 years. I know the signs. I see how the symptoms affect me. I am constantly looking for them in me. I analyze life events and how they could impact me. And I know what steps I need to take to overcome a stretch of active depression. I never miss a day of my medication. I take in as much sunshine and fresh air as I need to. I visit my counselor. I write. I exercise. I eat a little more healthy. I immerse myself with the word of God. I surround myself with friends and family. I take time for me. I make sleep a priority. I do everything I can do to fight my way back. Back to me.
However, this time it crept up on me. This time it is different. Slowly breaking down my shields. Sliding in so smoothly that I wasn’t aware of what was happening. Silently, it came in tearing down all the defenses I build up. It changed its appearance, portraying itself as something entirely new. For the past 5 months, it has been trying to bury me alive. I had to hurt a beloved friend and send a frantic SOS to an almost complete stranger for it to be revealed. And for me to watch it so closely for so long, I am shocked at how bad I am. I didn’t see it coming. Immediately, I started weekly sessions with my counselor. I upped my exercise. I reached out to old and new friends. For the past 4 weeks, I have been pulling out all the stops in treating my depression. I have been doing all the right steps. I have been doing all the right moves. I am pushing myself to step outside of what I have known. I am determined to beat this by whatever means necessary. I am fighting with all that I am. All of my thoughts are to overcome it. All of my actions are to overcome it. Right now, everything I do is on the battlefield.
And I am angry. Angry at this depression. Angry at this disease and all it is taking away from me. I am pissed off that I am doing everything I can to beat it back down and it isn’t enough. It isn’t enough to do all of the right and proven successful treatments and not just bounce back. Not to see any progress. I am mad my body needs more medication to control it. I am pissed off that I didn’t see it happening. I am pissed off that now I see how destructive it has become. How my words and behaviors lately have been a desperate plea to feel. To feel anything other than numbness. The desperation to feel alive, loved, healthy, free. I am embarrassed to know that during those weak moments, I have hurt others, making them feel pain, uncomfortable, and even annoyed.
I see that I am in the thick of it. And to see no end date, for all the hard work I am doing to conqueror it, scares me. It’s daunting. I am worried that this time it will do more damage then ever before. I am terrified of what it will do to me. I am afraid I don’t have what it takes to defeat it all. Yet, I am not backing down. My fists are up, my armor on, and I will beat this. But not without battle scars. Not without flaws. And not alone. I have my family, friends, and God to help me through it. I have humbled myself before them to ask for help. To show them my weaknesses. To show them my vulnerability. To try new ways to treat my illness. To be myself.
Dammit! I am done with depression stealing more of me. I am done with it taking away my time with my children. I am done with this disease. But depression doesn’t work that way. It doesn’t just go away. It is a disease that needs constant supervision. Constant work. Constant treatment.
Right now, I am tired. So tired of it all. But I will continue on. I have to. I have so much to live for. To fight for. Even though depression tells me otherwise.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all. Psalm 34:18 and 19
***Note: I wrote this post a month ago. I can tell you that a couple weeks later, the fog started to lift. My increase of medication was finally kicking in and my weekly therapy sessions were making the irrational into rational. I am searching for new and different ways to beat the depression back down. Friends, if this is where you are, angry at your depression, keep fighting. It takes time. The fog will lift. You are strong enough to let the light shine in.