A few days ago, in my private journal, I wrote:
“I don’t suffer from my depression. The people around me do.”
And so here I am again, writing about depression. Again. It’s been a month since I’ve even opened WordPress. I haven’t written, I’ve barely spent any creative time at all. I’ve been taking things day-by-day, trying to get well, trying to be me again. I’ve had a hard time finding my holiday spirit this year. We wouldn’t have a tree if it weren’t for Mr Awesome. He and I have had a lovely, kidless, date weekend. We did some Christmas shopping and went to Common Grounds and had dessert at a funky coffee shop on Belmont. And I started talking about how it feels, inside, when I am depressed. I want to articulate these things when I can, because when I am in the midst of a dark time, I cannot tell people about it. So I talk, and talk, and talk when I am well, so people know how to reach out to me when I am not. So my post today is mostly taken from that conversation, and a few things I wrote in my private journal, in hopes that it gives people the tools to help me when it happens again. And maybe, it will help others help their loved ones, too.
Depression is painful When I am depressed, I hurt. My joints hurt and my muscles and my heart and my stomach. Everything hurts, and it makes it very hard to move around and be active.
Depression takes my colors away. I am synasthetic. When I am well, colors sing to me. Their songs make me happy, and make my world a rich and wonderful place to be. They feed my creative soul. When I am depressed, the colors of my world are flat, one dimensional, and, worst of all, silent.
Depression steals my muse and kills my creative soul. When I am depressed, I cannot create. Colors don’t play well together, patterns don’t work for me, recipes don’t turn out right, and my words get lost. This hurts me more than anything, because my creative soul is the very core of who I am. I am not me without my art. And I get so scared that this time is the time it goes away for good, that I will live the rest of my life colorless, soundless, and without the joy of creativity.
Depression kills my libido. I don’t have the highest sex drive in the first place, and depression takes what little I have. Sex becomes something almost impossible, because of the huge investment of energy that it requires. This contributes to the distance that depression puts up between myself and my partners, and makes it hard to connect with them.
Depression lies. It tells me that my colors won’t ever come back, that my art is lost forever, that sex will never feel good again. It tells me that I will always hurt too much to move, that I don’t need to take care of myself, that I will feel miserable forever. It tells me that my friends don’t care, that I’m a burden to my loved ones, that I will never get better.
This has been a strange episode for me. It cycled quickly, and I was cognizant for most of it. I could hear the voice of the bitch and know she was lying, and I was able to tell the people in my life where I was and how I was feeling. The downside to this clarity was knowing that I was hurting the people I loved, again, and putting Mr Awesome through this tough road, again, and that was super hard to deal with. I always feel fragile when I come out of a bad cycle, when I’ve beaten the bitch back again, when is start piecing my world together again. It’s exactly like it feels when you’ve been sick in bed for a long time, and you are facing the world again.
Something else from my journal, from a few nights ago, which is when I really think I started to be better again. I wrote a list of things I wanted to remember. Here it is:
I am not a failure. I am a strong woman who struggles sometimes.
I am a woman who has lost a lot. But I have also gained more that some can ever imagine.
My children deserve a healthy mother.
My husband deserves a healthy partner.
I am worthy if the love I give to other people.
My life is amazing, and it is filled with people who genuinely love me and care about my well-being. I am worthy of their love and concern.