Monday, February 17, 2014
The Dark, Lonely Place
[I almost deleted this entire post because I didn't want to freak out my parents, but I thought it might help someone, so I'm publishing it. I promise I'm OK.]
I've been kind of silent lately because I've been in a depressive slump. Writing about your depression isn't something exciting or fun. It's not something people get really jacked up about sharing with the world. However, I've written about it enough times on this blog, and I always get at least one "me, too" comment, so I know I'm not alone, and sometimes, my depression actually helps other people. You're not alone.
After dealing with depression for over a decade, I've learned that there are no real "triggers" for me. Sometimes, my brain chemicals just decide to go wonk, and there's nothing I can do about it. I manage my depression with medication and mental exercises, but there is NO cure. I won't magically pop out of this one day. I can only hope for long periods of what I now see as a kind of "remission."
I've been doing really well for a very long time. I've been loving my miniatures, my friends, and my family. So having my Depression Bomb go off has been very disturbing. Everything was HAPPY SHINY GOOD for a very long time. But now, out of nowhere, I wake up hopeless. I go to bed hopeless. I daydream about not living anymore. Not suicide. Never that.
OK, I'm lying.
I daydream about suicide sometimes or just dying peacefully in some way. But I'll never pull that particular trigger.
Suicidal/death thoughts are part of the game when you have depression. No one likes to talk about it because friends or family might FREAK THE F*CK OUT, but my medical doctor once told me this: It's perfectly normal to think about, visualize, or fantasize about death. The key is to not act on it. Not acting on it shows mental health. She actually said that, and I remembered it well. The fact that I don't act on these thoughts means I'm still here, still fighting, still trying, and still in control of my mind and actions. The annoying part is that I also visualize having a very long life, filled with sadness.
But beyond the death daydreams, I have long periods of meh. Nothing seems fun, not even my miniatures. Family gatherings seem like work. Getting together with friends seems like a lot of looking at people and realizing how happy and easy THEIR lives are in comparison to my own. Depression brings out a lot of this:
They have families.
They have homes they own.
They have children.
They have lovers.
They have sweet nothings.
They have sex.
They have surprise birthday parties.
They have tons of things in common.
They have savings accounts.
They have family vacations.
They have washing machines.
It's horrifying. I start making T-Charts in my head of all of the things Other People have that I don't have. Or the things I do have are the exact opposite of good:
I have tax debt.
I have a falling-apart rental house.
I have back pain.
I have depression.
I have misery.
I have aching loneliness.
It's very ugly.
When I'm good, I make no comparisons. I see what a vast wealth of things and blessings I have that blow all of the other lists away. When my mind is in the right state, I have zero jealously -- strange, but true. I have SO many good things. I know this. But right now, I don't remember any of them. I only have the things I don't have floating around in my mind, poking the bear. You are a failure. You have a big fail ball. Congrats!
There's been a lot of crying lately. It's not fun. It also concerns my parents, who are the only ones who see me cry. They're used to it. They know that "this too shall pass." They've seen me climb out of dark pits and shake my fists at the world. I AM BLONDIE, AND I'M F*CKING AMAZING!! They know I am a phoenix who has simply burst into flames. It takes a while to regroup is all. I'll come around. I always do.
But this part, it's terrible. It hurts. It brings up all of the old hurts and rubs them in my face.
The worst part is that I always try to fight it, which makes it more difficult to manage. I pretend to be fine. The shiny starts to wear off on the inside, but I keep shining on the outside. I keep smiling and giggling and pretending that I'm OK, OH YES I AM. But inside, I'm flaking apart. I'm judging myself and the entire world. I am Doom and Gloom and there is just one tiny thread holding me together before I burst out crying in the middle of the soda aisle at Target.
Nothing feels worse than the aching ball in your throat and the teetering tears on your lower lids when you're trying SO HARD not to cry. And nothing feels better than just letting it out.
This is my way of letting it out.
I'm not crying right now. I'm just typing. I'm staring at my computer with Webster on my lap and sunlight peeking through the window. I feel dead inside. No sad, no anger, just dead. Maybe now that I've openly acknowledged it, it will start to get better.
And just in case someone else feels this way, too: I understand.
If you're feeling blue and are having serious thoughts about acting on suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).