My day today has consisted of telling myself over and over again ‘I can’t cry until…’ Until I finish making breakfast. Until I’ve drop my son off at school. Until I’ve nursed my daughter to sleep. Until I complete office paperwork. Until I’ve seen a doctor at Urgent Care. Until I pickup the keys from the lady I’m cat sitting for. Until I’m done with my day. It’s been one big ‘push those feelings down and don’t let them come back up’ day. And I am SO exhausted!
I’m tired of not allowing myself to cry. I’m tired of feeling like I’m going to cry. I’m tired of allowing myself moments of crying. I’m tired of the tears. I’m tired of the feelings. I’m tired of thinking. I’m tired of life. I’m SO exhausted! I just want to cry myself to sleep. I want to numb myself so deeply that I can’t feel any of it anymore. I’m SO exhausted! So over feeling heartbroken and empty and lonely and awful. So over feeling so desperate for love and attention and understanding and support. I am so over everything. I’m too exhausted to keep caring. So why do I?
This is where I found myself a few days ago. Deep down in the mud. Devoured from the inside out by my insecurities and my self-induced loneliness. I felt horrific. I felt like the world may as well just stop. Life might as well just end. I thought, ‘well, why not?’ I had become so enclosed within this rigid idea of who I was that I allowed myself to think that’s who I ought to be. And since that existence, that idea of myself, was coming to an end…why not me too?
What an awful thing to think. That one portion of your identity (whether it’s a real portion or a fake one) is the entirety of who you are. To think that that one portion is all you consist of. Pieces of your identity flake off all the time as you learn and grow and change and adapt. As life throws you through curves and challenges and messes and wonders. You are always recreating yourself. There are billions of facets to your identity at any given time, and those facets are always being altered. One individual speck does not a human make. You are so much more than that. Don’t allow the fact that one small speck is disappearing to leave you feeling like you no longer exist. You do. A truer version of you is left every time that a piece of you falls away. You are more you today than you’ve ever been. Never forget that.
Depression is a crazy thing. Whether you’ve got it briefly or chronically…it never makes a whole lot of sense. It’s like a virus, an infectious bacteria, a leech, a parasite that is sucking away your sense of self and draining you of your happiness. It’s not like it’s something you feel any control over either. You don’t sit there thinking ‘Yes, I’ll allow myself to be depressed today.’ Depression just kind of takes over. It does it’s own thing, and you’re just along for the ride. You’ve been tied to the floor of your brain, you’re eyes have been gouged out and your limbs have been ripped from your body, and all that is left is your ability to hear horrid thoughts fly around on repeat as they come hot off the press from depression station.
When you’re depressed you’re not just running on auto-pilot. There’s a bug in the system. You’re on a glitchy poorly constructed horror ride. It’s like your body is at the funeral for your brain but it refuses to let your brain be buried. Your body just sits there staring at the open casket with a determined obsession. You’re stuck on the bench in silence. It isn’t easy to fix yourself either. You can’t just flip that switch back to manual and then work your butt off to undo what has been done. It isn’t that simple. People always say ‘Just go out and get some exercise,’ ‘Just go spend some time with your friends,’ ‘You’ll be happy if you just get up and do something.’ Ha, bullshit I will. If I’m depressed I can’t experience any joy from any activity that I’m taking part in, no matter what it is. At least not to the full extent. Even when I’m happy, if the depression is still an underlying artist of my reality, I’m not truly 100% happy.
‘But you’ve been smiling,’ they say. ‘But you were laughing,’ they say. ‘You weren’t depressed earlier, I could tell you were happy.’ No. No, you couldn’t tell. You don’t know what it’s like on the inside. When you’re depressed there’s an absence. It’s hard to put your finger on exactly what that absence is, but nonetheless it’s there. When you laugh it’s only external. And I don’t mean to say it’s just a show (though the audience does seem to need that occasionally)…but…your not fully in it. You can find something funny. You can laugh. You can smile. You can joke around. You can love and be active and do things you’re into. You’re just…not fully there. You’ve been hijacked and tied to the floor of your brain, how could you possibly be 100% present? And that’s the thing. If you aren’t genuinely present in the moment, then no matter how enjoyable it is, you just don’t really feel it. Not deep down. Not deep inside. Not where it counts. And that lack of feeling, sometimes that’s what hurts the most.
Am I here to give you a solution? A cure? An answer to all your depression problems? No, I’m nowhere near qualified for something as monumental as that. Honestly, I doubt anyone is. Everyone’s journey is so individual. Everyone’s pain is so diverse. There’s no end all be all. There’s no one-size-fits-all. There’s no universal solution to depression. Be who you truly are, and do what you truly love. Beyond that, I have no advice for you. But sometimes…sometimes advice isn’t what’s needed anyway. Sometimes you just need someone to hear you. To understand you. To truly get what you’re going through. Sometimes you just want to be heard. And that’s why I’m here today. To let you know that you are not alone. To let you know that I understand your pain and suffering, even if mine isn’t identical to yours. To let you know that I am here. That the world is here with you. And to urge you not to give up. This isn’t your best moment. This isn’t your most beautiful day. These aren’t your brightest thoughts. And that’s okay. There is no shame in that. But things will get better. And life will go on. I promise you.