Recently I have been more public about my depression, and maybe it’s because it’s becoming more of an every day thing for many people. Or maybe I’m becoming more comfortable with talking about it. Or maybe I’m learning more about a different side of me that I have never known or explored and I just need to talk about it. But whatever it might be, I find it is healthier for me to share than to stay silent.
I grew up with a notion that depression was admitting weakness. Have others had this stigma? I don’t know the root of where this idea perpetrated, but I know I have factors in my upbringing that contribute. Moving around at delicate ages. Adolescent trauma. My poor grades and undiagnosed dyslexia. My brain created ways to cope that were unhealthy and spurred self esteem issues so powerful I still deal with them.
Shyness also stopped me from approaching people for help. Can you ever believe I was shy? I still am when it comes to certain areas in my life. Not being brave enough to ask for help can be damaging as well. Thoughts just circulate in your brain with no outlet, feeding each other negativity. Shyness is such a sad, unrecognized explanation for some of our deepest regrets. Shyness is a wall so painful to live behind. I hate being shy.
It’s not cowardly to be shy or afraid. It takes huge courage to admit to someone that you can’t do this on your own, you might need help. That has been the biggest hurtle for me, the stigma of weakness and turning it into a strength.
What I have also noticed about depression, something that I have been aware of and something I do not like and have never liked is the voice that feeds the monster. There is a part in my gut that doesn’t want to feel normal, that loves feeding on the emotions that stir up when I think negative thoughts or feelings or when I dwell on old memories. It’s the stupidest part of this whole part of me that I can’t seem to get rid of. This monster has been with me so long I don’t know how to get rid of it.
What I find that helps is simply talking about it. It’s okay not to be okay. Asking for help from people is okay. Talking to people about it is healing. I often feel I am burdening my husband by all the things I express, but as we work out problems, he wants me to be open. And I have found it so helpful to see a therapist. This is the biggest thing I was nervous about. It’s a stranger that I am opening up my deepest fears and secrets.
And I’m okay with being on meds right now. It’s important that I am. The person I was before was a horrible, sad, yelling type of person. I would take out my emotions on my daughter and I knew this. But I didn’t recognize what I was doing until I could see it clearly as that emotion-eating monster. Why would I yell like that over something so dumb? Why do I not yell at anyone else? And when I was in the mire of it, I couldn’t see what I was doing.
I once smashed a plate. It was a beautiful cornflower plate I got before I married, solid porcelain with a hearty build. I mean, I owned it for more than twenty years, it was built to last. My teen made me so angry over the fact that she had watched something without permission.
Why was I so mad? I had talked to her about piracy and about crediting the artist. I am very passionate about it, sure. But I shouldn’t get crazy angry about it. I grabbed the closest thing to me (this plate) and smashed it on the corner of a chest we use for a coffee table. It shattered in so many pieces and flew everywhere including at my thumb. The impact was pretty intense and I got a nice, deep cut (and now beautiful scar). I don’t do well with blood, which might surprise some of you, and soon found myself fainting in the bathroom all while sobbing over such a stupid thing. I did surprise and scare my teen but I was more scared that she thought that her mom crazy and that she wouldn’t forgive me.
About a month ago, I noticed a strange bump on my thumb right on the bend. It hurt when I pressed on it but not much else besides it being super ugly. I went to the doctor and she asked if I had injured it. Well yes, doc, I had when I smashed that plate. She then told me about Osteoarthritis and to get used to my new ugly thumb. So not only do I have a terrific scar to remind me of this flashing incident, but the ugliest thumb ever.
The truth behind the whole incident is that I don’t know what made me do it. I can blame that monster inside but I don’t think that helps me. It’s still a part of me, and it is still a driving force for my emotions, and that sucks. Depression makes me think and do things that I hate. It’s an awful feeling to feel out of control. Why would I want to feel that way when there is something that can help me? And there was proven help out there for me but I feared taking it. At times I totally want to feel this sadness. And I also hate that too. There is such a weird yin and yang to clinical depression.
This is all a part of the cycle of depression that has ruled my life for definitely the past year, and undiagnosed for years. My poetry thrives on this cycle, but my creativity wanes. My desire to write shrivels. Writing has always been my therapy and now I struggle getting anything down. This is one huge reason I search for help, so I might feel those creative threads again in my life. It was very important that if I did need medication that it would not impede my creativity.
So now, every morning I take Welbutrin with a 5 Hour Energy. Probably not the best way to chug down my medication, but it kicks me in the rear and helps me be the person I dream of being. I think it’s so important to take steps to improve your mental health. No one should ever feel weak or ashamed about having depression. The strength of finding help makes you braver than you would ever believe. It is helping me be the mom I want to be, the author I am seeking for, the creator of silly ideas and impossible dreams. This is who I was and who I want to be again.
It’s okay to not be okay. Remember that.