Chances are pretty high that you know what I’m talking about. A google or two told me that 7% of adult Americans suffer from depression in any given year, and since those 7% have friends and families, I’m betting if you haven’t had to deal with depression directly you’ve still been indirectly affected by watching a loved one struggle.
When I get depressed it tends to manifest in a lack of things. A lack of energy, a lack of enthusiasm, a lack of interest, a lack of concentration, a lack of focus, an inability to fall asleep at night, weight gain despite all efforts to lose it and headaches all_the_freaking_time. I’m not suicidal, I don’t curl up in a corner and cry*, but
I’m not myself. I’m not the version of myself I want to be.
I hate the way it affects my family. I hate the effect it has on my writing. I just plain hate it.
It’s funny to me how difficult it has been for me to write this post. It’s not because I’m ashamed or embarrassed about depression, it’s because I’ve always struggled to not let it be an excuse for the things I do (or don’t do)… but I’m coming to realise that sometimes it might be a reason. I don’t like it. I don’t like feeling like I’m both blessed and handicapped by my brain, I don’t like realising that I’m going to have years, like last year, where I don’t get much of anything accomplished because I’m spending all my energy just keeping my head above water. I. Hate. It.
I’ve learned a lot of coping strategies over the years; little tricks, baby steps, whatever it takes to get what I need to do done, but though they help I resent their necessity.
One thing about depression, for me, anyway, is it does a fabulous job of showing me what things in my life are the most important to me. Family first, then friends, and then, like a lazer, it cuts through all the other things I do, and shows me which ones I can continue, and which need to be put aside until that bout with depression is through. But depression is also sneaky. It always leaves, eventually, but its shadow is always over my life because I know it will come back, someday, it will come back. I never know when, how hard it’s going to hit me, or how long it’s going to stay, but I know it will be back.
When I’m really low I can’t find the energy to care that I’m not writing because I’m spending most of it blaming myself for not getting anything done, but, at times like these when I feel like I’m climbing (oh so slowly) out of that hole, I try to remind myself of all the hardships other people have had to overcome, and I tell myself I can do this. I’m a fighter. I won’t give up. I will accomplish my goals, whether my brain likes it or not…
But damn, I wish it were easier.
If you’re dealing with depression and you feel all alone I swear to you, you’re not. You’re not alone. There are people, like me, who feel your pain and are pulling for you. We really, really are. Fuck Depression. Don’t let it beat you.
This blog post is part of the Blogging from A to Z challenge over the month of April and was brought to you by the letter D. Please pop by tomorrow when I’ll be talking about… um… something that begins with E. I’m sure it will be awesome… maybe.
ETA: I know there is medication that could possibly help me with this, but I’ve decided to not take it until I have exhausted every other possibility open to me. I already take a lot of medication, I don’t want to add another to the list if I don’t absolutely have to.