Sunday, April 26, 2015

depression: my oldest friend.



"In addition to my other numerous acquaintances, I have one more intimate confidant… My depression is the most faithful mistress I have known — no wonder, then, that I return the love."

Søren KierkegaardEither/Or: A Fragment of Life


Depression. It can occur at any time and hit any person, regardless of age, sex, wealth, nationality or circumstance. 

Take me, for example: The first time I heard her knock on my door, I was ten years old. I don't know how to explain how I felt at that time-only that I was just so tired. I remember coming home from school every day, curling my body into a tight little ball of gangly limbs and denim shorts, crawling into my pink canopy bed, feeling wave after wave of nothingness crash against the walls, lulling my body to sleep with its soothing rhythm. 

My mother: "You can't sleep away your problems, Beth."

What problems? I had lots of friends, I made good grades, I lived in a big three-story house with upper-middle-class parents who loved me, I never wanted for anything, and quite honestly, had the picture-perfect childhood. I was just exhausted. 

See, that's the thing about depression so many people don't understand. Can it be caused by a certain negative experience or really difficult time in one's life? Of course. But for many of us, it is a never ending battle that pins us down, keeps us up at night or holds us hostage in our beds. We guiltily remind ourselves of everything we need to be doing, everything good in our lives. But she has a romantic way of luring us into the dark cocoon of our head, saying, "It's too much for you to handle, anyway. Quit trying." 




Because more often than not lately, it's been happening after all the good things falling into my lap. I feel the rush of what could be, the glimmer of a life grander than I have ever imagined. But depression's little cousin, fear, offers to come by, stroke my hair softly, sing me a lullaby and give me a place to rest my head-so full of ideas they both remind me I'm not capable of carrying out. 

I know there are things I can and should do. Things that will scare her away. Like, call an old friend, exercise, read, write a poem. But the second she shows her face, I let her crawl inside my salty, yellow lungs, lay her heavy head upon my chest, give her a soft kiss upon her forehead, and together, we hide. 

I love her and I hate her. Out of anyone in the entire world, she knows me best. We have spent so many days & nights entrapped in each other's arms, sharing secrets, clinging together with hands laced tight. She allows me to waste time, reassuring me all of my efforts are in vain-granting me the option to give up. 




I hate her because I do not want to give up. She sucks the marrow of my bones and invites anxiety and self-pity to supper, both of whom are excellent cooks. She is a skilled boxer, and has beat me so many times, I am terrified to even spar. 

But somedays, I fight like hell. I bury myself in projects; I ask my sister if she will please come see me. I dream impossibly big. I put on a pretty dress and lipstick. I tell an old woman she is beautiful-and mean it. I read old love letters. I allow myself to truly receive a compliment. And believe it.  

Depression will never completely abandon me. She has crawled into my ribs and permanently tangled herself in my hair. But I remind myself that she is a fickle visitor, that she has multiple house calls to make, that she will grow weary of me and fly away.

But as for today? I slept most of it away. I worried about money. I worried about writing this, because I know I am capable of expressing this feeling much better than I did. I know my words and the way I use them is a gift. I know I did not make the best use of that gift. 

But, I wrote. Therefore, I win today's battle. And I will try again tomorrow. I will not rest easy, but rest, I will. 

And sometimes, just sometimes, I give her a tired smile and a thank you. Just for listening....


One of my favorite poems that explains how I feel. 

This poet here says it best.....

Do you struggle with depression? If so, please tell me about your experience with it in the comment box.

Yours Truly,
MourningGlory

4 comments:

  1. A lot of people have struggle and pain, and most will just hide it or themselves away. Safer that way - certainly better than letting people know how you really feel. It is very brave of you to let it out, and it is a huge step out of the darkness, even for a little bit. I have a huge issue with self doubt and self loathing my whole life, but I am trying to alter the environment around me in order to make the change in myself. I have made done quite a bit, but I continue to shut myself off more and more to people I know, while showing more of me online to strangers. I feel as if I am doing better in some ways - I stopped chatting in my phone all day and stopped pretending I enjoy small talk from people I will never be close to. I am accepting myself more and more - even if people think I have something against them personally. It is just me, and I am over pretending all the time. It is helping with the severe lows I used to have. But I can feel it - right there over my shoulder. It will check in on me every now and again. Sometimes it will stay for a chat. But doing nothing took away 30 years of my life, so it was time to do something. While my definition of being happy will sound more like others' definitions of being satisfied, it is still something I am striving for.

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    1. Thanks for always commenting, Ryan. To be completely honest, I kind of sensed that about you, just from following you on Twitter and Instagram. That's the thing about us who struggle-we recognize each other. And as stupid as this may sound, I counted on freakin TWITTER-all the massive followers I got, all the silly trophies, being referred to as a "big account" for my self-worth for a long time, because it was all I had......I had no real life friends, an abusive boyfriend, I was on drugs, and had absolutely no hope or goals for my life. I could be somebody else-the "old me." Not paralyzed, always upbeat, always happy. But I learned from so many private conversations I had with people I really got to know, that more often than not, the bigger the account, the more miserable the real life. I mean, think about it. Why would a person spend hours a day on an APP if their real life is fulfilling?

      But once I quit-and moved to an entirely new area (not by choice, but it turned out to be one of the best things for me), I was forced to create a new life for myself. And I got tired of hiding. Life is way too short to anything but yourself.

      I'm proud of you for the changes you're making and fully believe in you. You are an amazing person-smart, funny, talented, accomplished and kind. And happiness is fleeting, so searching for contentment is exactly what you need to be doing! Let's do this shit!!!

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  2. Thank you for this. My teen daughter is friends with depression. This helps me understand what she wrestles with. She's good at expressing herself, but this is very well written and also lets me know that she's not alone. Thanks for being open and real. Keep fighting as you reach those who need to hear that they're not alone.

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    1. You are so welcome! I should actually be thanking YOU for the nice comments! And yes, it's true-depression becomes a friend after awhile.

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