So many don’t know.
The deep darkness has never touched them.
They’ve never sunk so low
That they can’t even imagine ever getting up again.
How does depression feel?
There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think maybe
Maybe I should just die.
Maybe my children would be better off with a different mother.
Maybe my husband would be better with a happier wife.
Maybe my parents would realize how bad it really was.
Their therapist didn’t know the truth and I’m not only to blame.
A hollow pit in the depths of my stomach.
Prickly moist heat that makes my palms itch.
Heaving from the farthest reaches of my insides.
Poor little rich white girl.
I hate this life.
No, it doesn’t make any sense
The pain is suffocating.
I’m drowning from too much.
Asphyxiation must be the scariest way to go.
I learned long ago to paste on a smile. Smear on some lipstick.
Don’t want to look too pale, sickly, pasty, unhappy, bland.
Don’t call attention.
Don’t tell the secrets.
But speak up.
Well, which is it?
I’m so confused.
I don’t know who I am. Who should I be?
It doesn’t even matter.
On the good days
the sun shines and the bad thoughts almost disappear
I’m so productive! I can take on the world and save everyone, including myself. I’m proud of myself. I’m doing all the right things, saying all the right words in the right tone, feeling all the right feels and not reacting, but being proactive. I plan for tomorrow, next week, next month, years from now. I can see it.
I laugh and bake and play and sing and dance
My heart swells with pride and remember how blessed I am
I can smile and it actually reaches my eyes
and the darkness seems rather far away for a few moments
but I can always see the wicked grin of the shadow monster in my peripheral vision
There but not there
Waiting and reminding
that the darker days are coming.
On the bad days
I struggle to get out of bed.
Every little task is a mountainous obstacle.
I don’t want to bathe or get dressed or eat or go anywhere.
No one can see me.
I avoid mirrors.
I loathe myself.
I am numb.
I know way deep down that I have to go through the motions of all the things I have to do to keep our lives running.
But I can’t really see the point.
“It’s just a headache.”
“I don’t feel so well today.”
“I think I might be coming down with something.”
I don’t deserve
to ever spend a penny on myself
the smiles of my children
the hug from my husband
the grace of God
I don’t know how to ask for help.
No one knows.
Folding up inside is better, safer, easier.
I used to wish I had a real disease that others could see and believe.
If I were actually sick, then they would be sympathetic.
Then they would know it’s not my fault.
Sometimes we put up walls, not to keep people out, but to see who cares enough to knock them down.
Depression isn’t something that I can “just snap out of” or, my God, I would do that!
I can’t just be happy. I can’t just smile more. I can’t just pray it away.
Comparing myself to others who “have it worse” is not helpful.
I’m tired of people who confuse “being depressed” for a season and living with depression. It doesn’t just go away.
I’ve learned to cope without medication.
I’ve been to plenty of therapists.
Depression is a real illness. We don’t blame people with cancer or diabetes or MS or thyroid deficiencies.
When you ask, “What do you have to be sad about?” It just adds to my guilt. It doesn’t make sense to me why I feel like this. It just is. I live with it. You can’t understand. I can’t explain it to you well enough for you to empathize.
Why do we blame people with mental illnesses?
And depression has BFFs – anxiety, anger, physical ailments, PTSD, aches and pains, attention problems, insomnia, eating disorders, self harm, and more. Doctors love to bandaid these symptoms instead of seeking to learn the cause.
When you can’t control your own mind and thoughts, you feel the need to control something. And that need for some semblance of control most often exhibits in an eating disorder, addiction, cutting, or something harmful.
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