Elizabeth Esther is being open and honest and frank about her depression. Her post reminded me of something I wrote a few years ago when I was walking through a period of "deadpression." I'm re-posting it here as an invitation to join the conversation. Mental illness is a common reality, for both genders. The unique issues of being a woman and being a mother while living through an emotional disorder deserve discussion. (Holy unintentional alliteration...) Not all mothers have access to a positive, supporting community in their offline lives, which makes online access a real blessing. Please consider heading over to Elizabeth's blog and giving her some virtual-ized love. Here's my post from April, 2005:
I am tired of this, too, you know. I am more tired than I thought possible. I am tired of living this way. I am tired of sharing tiny parts, being factual, showing photographs, moments of sadness frozen in two-dimension. I cannot keep hoping this will serve as the appropriate invitation, taht you can choose to then enter, choose to then be involved, choose to come see my growing despair. It is not working, I have come to a place of nudity.And some further thoughts from a relapse in April, 2006:
I am broken. The word "sad" does not even begin to describe. It is a disservice to the millions who suffer from it, let alone my own emotions, to call it sadness. Even depression cannot begin to capture. And I am so tired of it. I am so tired of trying to romanticize it, as though I enjoy this separated reality. Enjoy sitting on my couch, the mechanical buzz of fridge and dehumidifier, furnace and fish tank, so totally incongruent with the moving, bright, active world I can see outside. The wind blowing the tress, the cars scaling the hill, the people walking to school. The separation is constant; even when I walk out into that wind, scale that same hill to teach my class in a few minutes, there will still be the buzz of my mind, the incessant swirl of insecurities, the emptiness of my heart.
It's not that I can't function. It's not that I don't have As in all my classes, or eat the same food, or wear the same things. It is none of these things, and yet all of these things that are affected. I will smile and laugh through a day. I will experience conquest, success, achievement. But it is all edged with desperation, tinged with imperfection. You ask me, do you know what you are looking for? If I did, wouldn't there be some purpose to the pain, some direction to my days?
I am tired of waiting in this tower for rescue. There is no one coming. The crux of the problem, the rub, is that very exhaustion. I have no fight to want to get out of here. No energy to resist. No hope of resolution. I am simply tired."
I'm climbing my way out of a depressive episode. It was slightly sub-major, and it was an episode, and it has passed. One of the most depressing things about depression is the prognosis of the disorder. Once you have one episode, you'll more than likely have another, and once you're had two, you'll basically be having them for life. And while I may have only sought treatment for the episode a year ago, which was arguably the worst ever, I'm pretty sure it followed a long line stretching back to early adolescence. So I should have been more wary, more careful, more aware.
It is part of the sickness that the depressed state holds a certain seductive power. It is alluring, attractive. It is easy to remember how easy it is to feel bad. It is soft and comforting, this nostalgia for the quiet of living behind that emotional shield. Of retreating again, and holding the world at arm's length, the frosted pane of distorted perception protecting me. Isolation dulls the edges, quiets the noise of activity and people and conflicts and emotions and, yes, even the joy, in the most delicious silken way. I can taste depression, like dark chocolate, and after a bad day, or stretch of bad days, there is nothing I want more.