Every day is a win when I get out of bed.
For the last nine months, I have struggled with depression. Some days are better than others, and some days I take getting out of bed as my only win. On the days it is hard to get out of bed, I wait until I have no other choice. Then, it is either get out of the bed or have a very uncomfortable bed.
When I get back from the bathroom, I get dressed. Or I at least put a bra on and pretend I got dressed. Unfortunately, this is more often the case. I save the real clothes for when I have to see people.
I would like to say that the darkness is lessening, and the depression is getting better. In some ways, it is, and in other ways, it isn’t. I can function a little better. And I understand that the anxiety is not really trying to kill me. However, it feels like that sometimes. I usually pause and do a body scan to assess that, yes, my heart is beating normally, and I am breathing sufficiently. Then my brain starts to feel as though thousands of spiders are crawling inside of it, making me feel even more panicked.
If I am not in a state of panic, then I am in a state of numbness. After the anxiety, the numbness feels better than the anxiety. Both are equally unappealing. Writing about this makes me realize that though darkness is currently the norm in my life, so many moments of light seep in around the edges.
To try to remember that it isn’t always dark, I have started to write down those moments when things felt less heavy and less dark at the end of the day. I am also trying to laugh at least once a day.
Yesterday, I was at the local grocery store where I ran into some friends. We talked a little bit about the ongoing struggle. I mentioned that things would get better because there would be pop tarts in my future. We all laughed at the joy of pop tarts, and then one of my friends said someone should draw a Tarot deck using all the pop tart flavors. This led to many comments on the success or failure of the day, depending on the flavor of the pop tart on the card that the person chose.
Sometimes I want to crawl into my little hole and not come back out. This is a valid feeling. I tell myself that repeatedly. But, I also tell myself that I have to get up and show up for life. And showing up is sometimes the hardest thing to do.
One of the things I have been doing to find joy is listening to Jenny Lawson’s book, Broken (in all the best ways). There is a lot of swearing in the book if that is problematic for you. I have also been listening to Glennon Doyle’s podcast; We can do hard things. I listen to the podcast not as much for the humor but for the insightful things I learn from the episodes I listen to.
I have learned about boundaries and how they are really about what helps me feel safe. I learned from the episode with Jenny Lawson that sometimes my feelings of failing as a parent because of mental illness are some of my children’s best memories. Times when I couldn’t be there for the world, I was able to be there just for them.
I have started to rethink and reframe how I look at what I feel is my broken brain. I have begun to consider that what is “broken” is just normal for me. However, my brain developed differently due to the trauma I experienced for a long time from a very young age. This is my normal. And like everyone’s normal, it changes over time. Will I always be depressed? Probably not, though it feels like it right now.
Nine months is a long time. But, I can see a change in my journal entries about how I am doing. So, even though I don’t feel like it is getting better, I know it is.
The takeaway from this is that I know things change, I hope for things to change, and I am waiting for things to change because I have been better before, and I know I will be better again.