Just so you know 

I just spent the last ten minutes writing and deleting attempts at a witty intro, but they were all crap. So I’m just going to cut to the chase today. 

I’m depressed. 

Wait, weren’t you already? 

Yeah. 

But aren’t you on meds to stop that? 

Yes and no. 

Huh?? 

Yeah, I’m on antidepressants. No, it doesn’t make it all go away. If there was such a pill, you can bet your butt I’d be popping those little suckers by the handful. 

The joy of clinical depression is that it’s never really gone. Yeah, meds can help. So can therapy. So can exercise, diet, and other more holistic treatments. But it’ll never be gone completely. 

Think of it this way, a person with diabetes likely takes some sort of medication to help control it, right? But if they eat a shit-ton of sugar, that little pill isn’t going to keep them from going into a diabetic coma. They’re still going to feel the effects of their illness. They can still have relapses. 

Same here. 

The tricky thing about depression is that there aren’t always triggers. It would make sense that if something traumatic happened in the life of a person with depression, they’d be more likely to have a depressive episode. Just like anyone would, but perhaps to a greater degree. But what about the times when everything is essentially honkey dory? Why then? 

No fucking clue. 

Take me for example, right now. Nothing is particularly stressful or awful in my life. I’ve been exercising and meditating more. I’ve been eliminating more damaging foods from my diet. For all intents and purposes, I should be doing well. 

Only I’m not. I’m in bed right now, forcing myself to write this. Because do you know what the alternative is? Staring at the wall. That’s my favorite coping mechanism. Shut down, stare off, wait it out. 

Just like every person and every illness is different, every coping strategy is different, too. Whenever I’m in the deep end of an episode, just barely bobbing above water, I find it easiest to just detach from the world. Go deep into my head, and ignore everything. Just let go and feel nothing. 

And just to be clear, it’s not that I like being like this or managing this way it’s that I have to. My brain tells me to do it, and I’m powerless to question it. 

Think about a nine-months-pregnant woman. She drops something on the floor, and bends over at the waist to pick it up. Do you think she’s going to reach it? Yeah, definitely not. It’s not that she doesn’t want to, it’s that her body is making it so that she just can’t. 

It’s the sane thing for me. I don’t want to feel void of emotion. I don’t want to ignore everyone and tune out the world. It’s that my brain just won’t have it any other way. And all I can do is ride those waves until I reach shore. It won’t last forever, but when I’m wrapped up in it, all I can do is hang on. 

And I know it’s probably hard for others to understand this, to believe that seemingly normal, happy people might be walking around feeling like this, but it’s true. We’re so good at pretending. We can put the smile on our faces, nod our heads in agreement, feign interest and attentiveness, all awhile feeling nothing. 

I think one of the misconceptions about depression is that if you’re not stuck in bed in the dark for days at a time, you’re not depressed. That if you can still wake up in the morning, you’re really quite fine. But that’s a fallacy. 

I have what’s called high functioning depression. So I look like everyone else even when I don’t feel like everyone else. I can get up in the morning, rally, get the kids ready for the day, even spend the whole day playing super mom, only to crash later. 

I look like any other tired mom out there. But really, inside, my brain is alternating between numbness and screaming for it all to stop. I’m exhausted, but to the point where emotions would cost me a breakdown by how much energy I feel they suck out of me. My joints ache (Yes, depression has physical symptoms as well). Light is too bright. I’m nauseated. My head hurts. My muscles are constantly tensed. I’m restless and can’t sleep, even though I desperately want to. And at the slightest provocation, I will lose my shit entirely because dealing with all of these things at once is just too much. 

And I keep all of this inside, compartmentalized. And I wait for it all to blow over. Because it will. That’s the good thing about my illness: it rarely overstays its welcome. And yes, the meds help with that. 

So if there’s someone in your life that you know lives with mental illness, even if it’s someone who seemingly has it all under control, ask them how they’re doing. Ask them if there’s anything you can do for them. They will likely tell you no, they’re fine, they’ve got it under control. And maybe they do. That’s fine. It’s just nice to let us know that we’re seen. That you know. That you understand. That you’re there just in case. 

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4 thoughts on “Just so you know 

  1. I just found your blog and IG today after reading an email w/ one of your pics. I noticed that it mentioned you have depression. I think you are my new hero! I also, suffer from depression. Have for decades now. I have only recently started looking for help. This post is such a perfect description of what depression looks like. It always frustrates me that the misconception is that you have to be suicidal all day long to be depressed. Your words tell me that you get it. I look happy. I do things. I take care of my daughter. I smile and laugh and eat. From the outside no one would ever think I am depressed. What they don’t see are the days (or sometimes just hours or whenever I’m not “on”) that I sink. That when I have felt as much as I can feel (or fake as much as I can fake) for the day, that I am in pain inside. That it sometimes hurts to smile. Or just to stand up to brush my teeth. They don’t understand the loneliness or the isolation from feeling like no one understands. Some may think I am faking or just being lazy. Most don’t want to hear about it at all. I don’t have any close relationships which is largely due to “going off the grid” as I like to say, for days at a time…often…too often. The couch and my heating pad are my best friends and give me comfort on days when nothing else does.
    Sorry for the very long post. I just know that it can be a rare occasion to come across someone who you know TRULY gets it. I wanted you to know that I get it too. And I wanted to thank you for your honest post on this very misunderstood subject. You have inspired me to get involved in my life and healing. This post is long enough but I have another entire post for how inspired I am by your IG! Please keep doing what you do. I will be following along =)
    Peace & Blessings,
    Jen

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can’t honestly thank you enough for this! Anyone reading my writing means so much to me, but to have someone really feel what I’m writing about, to have it resonate so deeply with you, well, it just means so very much to me. I’m sorry that you, too, have to live with depression. But I’m so happy that you’ve decided that you can be better. I know you’re a stranger to me, but anytime someone believes they can help their mental health, I feel so incredibly happy for them. That shit isn’t easy! And taking that first step really is the hardest and scariest. But it’s going to be so worth it. Obviously you know you’ll never be without depression, and you’ll continue to have episodes; but, seeking treatment will make it so much more manageable. Please don’t ever hesitate to reach out to me if you need someone to talk to. I know that it’s hard for someone without mental illness to understand us. I’m always happy to do whatever I can for others who don’t have a support system. 💕💕💕

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      1. Thank you so much for your kind response. I truly appreciate that you would take time out of your day to comfort and offer help to a total stranger. I don’t know why I have waited so long to get help. It’s so easy during the good stretches to think it will just go away. Or maybe it will just pass. Or to rationalize once it has passed that it wasn’t too bad. Then before you know it your back in it again. So the cycle continues. I have been on this roller coaster for at least 13 years. Probably longer than that in all honesty. I actually didn’t know that it was depression. During the course of that time, I also developed some other health/chronic pain issues and panic disorder w/ agoraphobia. That makes it more difficult to want to get help and that ramps up the depression….so the cycle continues. It’s to the point now that there is no other option to seeking help. I’m finding it difficult to know where to begin. A therapist? Psychologist? Psychiatrist? I feel like a hot mess and it feels like a steep climb to get myself better. I’m in total research mode right now and hoping the universe will point me in the right direction. I know that one of the things I have to do is to end a relationship that is not good for me. It never has been but it has been what I have settled for out of fear of being on my own. I am hoping to get some help and support in place first.
        Thank you so much for reaching out and caring. Your writing is beautiful, as are you, and I am so grateful to have found your blog when I needed it most.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You might want to go see your general doctor first. That way they can get you set up with a therapist or psychiatrist (or both), and also start you on some meds because it often takes a long time to get an appt. with a specialist.
        I genuinely hope for the best for you. No one deserves to live with untreated mental illness. If at any time you want to reach out, please don’t hesitate. 💕💕

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