It has been the kind of week where, you wake up on Sunday and just know that this week is going to be long, frustrating and exhausting. In all honesty I haven’t felt this way for a really long time. My depression hasn’t been as bad. It seems to get better during the summer. You would think with all the vitamin d, fresh air, and exercise that I am getting depression wouldn’t even be an option. That’s the thing, you can’t choose when depression shows up. you can be perfectly fine one day and the next you are at the bottom of that deep dark hole and can’t find your way out. It isn’t always an event or something someone says, it just happens. I know that is a frustrating answer but unless you have dealt with or are dealing with depression there is just no other way to describe it.
I think I have always struggled with depression but it has gotten progressively worse the older I have gotten. After the princess was born it got beyond bad. I couldn’t get off the couch. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to, I physically couldn’t. It was like my brain quit working. I was acting happy and that everything was ok but on the inside I couldn’t function and I was angry. Angry that I couldn’t function. Angry that no one was noticing that I wasn’t ok. I was portraying a lie. I didn’t want others to know what a hard time I was having. It was as if I thought if they knew then that would make me a bad friend, mom and wife.
There is a cycle in depression. You feel down and like you can’t function, so things stop getting done, then you feel bad about not doing them so you fall further into the dark pit. I would also get angry about feeling down. Angry that I couldn’t seem to get off the couch and be the mom that I wanted to be. It doesn’t matter how hard you want change it. It isn’t something that you can just push through it. This is the chemicals in your brain not being in sync. Websters dictionary defines depression as,
- a state of feeling sad
- a serious medical condition in which a person feels very sad, hopeless, and unimportant and often is unable to live in a normal way
That last definition is so true! It is a serious medical condition. I would also add in anger that you feel sad, hopeless and unimportant. You can NOT pretend to have depression. If you think you can then I feel sorry for you. Depression is not something that anyone wants.
When Robin Williams died and it came out that he had committed suicide because of depression, it didn’t shock me. People who are depressed are masters at pretending and making everyone around them feel happy. I remember Robin Williams as being the Hollywood funny man. He could make anyone laugh. The question is, how come he couldn’t make himself laugh? He was the master at laughter, yet something was keeping him from laughing.
I can relate to him. I have thought about suicide. I have been so far down in the hole that I can’t see a way out. I have been so lonely and scared that I thought the only way out was death. When you are considering this option it isn’t a quick answer. You can spend days, weeks and even months thinking about it. Thinking about all the angles, who it would hurt, would anyone really care, how would it be done, who would find you.
I read a lot of the articles written about Robins death. So many glowing things were said about him. So much support was poured out for his family, and then there were the comments. The comments that he chose the easy way out. That he was selfish, that he was a coward. I know that those comments were directed at him but they hurt me. Choosing suicide isn’t easy! Neither is living with depression. Depression eats away at you, and if you don’t get help to control it and deal with it, death seems like the only way out. I don’t know what he was thinking when he decided to kill himself. My guess is that he honestly felt he had tried everything possible to get better and figured that this was the way to save his family from suffering anymore.
That is another thing about depression. No one tells you how it affects the family of the depressed. It isn’t just about the depressed it is about their family. It affects everyone. When I was at my worst I would sit on the couch and watch my kids fight for my attention and I couldn’t give them any. Many was the day that I couldn’t get dressed. Many was the day that they ate dry cereal 3 times because I couldn’t make myself cook them food. Many times I considered that they would be better with someone who could fix them healthy meals and interact with them. How would me being alive but only able to stare blankly at the wall help them have a good life?
There are ways to get help with depression! The trick is putting your pride aside and saying,
“I need help!”
Saying those 3 words is one of the hardest things I have done. It seems to be a bad thing to admit that you are depressed. For some reason we have it in our heads that asking for help makes us weak. It took my wonderful husband pointing out that things weren’t ok and that it was ok for me to ask for help. I didn’t want help. I could do it all on my own. The reality was that I couldn’t do it on my own. I had been trying for 6 months without success, you can read more about that here.
From making that first step 3 years ago I have learned to recognize the signs. The signs that I need some help. I also learned how to ask for help. That brings us to this week.
I have been angry, struggling to get up in the morning. Frustrated that I am feeling this way again. Angry that I can’t be normal. Angry that no one seems to notice that I am not ok. This time around, I had the tools I needed. I knew that I needed help. That I couldn’t do this alone. So I reached out and asked for help. It still won’t be obvious to most. In all honesty I want it that way.
Depression is horrible. Horrible for those fighting it and horrible for the loved ones watching. Depression is not a choice. Suicide is a choice. Not necessarily the easy choice but a choice. There is no easy way out. Neither route is easy to choose. Opening yourself up when asking for help to choosing suicide. Both takes lots of energy, time and thought. The problem with this is, you can’t understand unless you have been there. You can’t imagine what it feels like. There are no words that can describe it accurately.
Ok, I know that this is a downer post, but it needed to be said. I needed to get my thoughts out of my head. Also, I am hoping that this can encourage others. Let others know that they are not alone. I also would like to let others know, telling us to just get over it, doesn’t help. What we need is for someone to look at us and tell us that we are amazing and offer to help in any way needed and maybe offer a hug.