I’m depressed. Now, before you go reading ANYTHING into that, let me clarify.
Every day, I am so grateful for so many things in my life, I don’t have enough toes and fingers to count them on. By contrast, I can count all the things that are *really* disappointing in my life on one hand, probably with a spare digit or two left over. I’m not saying I have a bad life, or that if something changed, I would feel good; I’m saying that no matter how great my life is–and it is, overall–I struggle to be happy.
It’s not about circumstances. Anyone who occasionally cries themselves to sleep when something bad happens to them, or they get their period, or they have a really bad headache, is not experiencing depression as I understand the term. Even someone who is, technically, depressed, but is depressed in a way that new friends or a better job or losing some weight etc etc etc can fix, is not depressed in the way I’m using the term.
It’s not that something is so wrong, it’s making me miserable. It’s that NOTHING is wrong, and I’m still miserable.
Try to get your head around that, if you can. Imagine having almost everything you’ve ever wanted, and being on-track to get even more of it, and it just… doesn’t matter. You take the pills, you try to do the best you can to be healthy and happy, and yet, every day, you spend hours fantasizing about killing yourself, or just not waking up tomorrow; or maybe you just sleep 14 hours straight, dreaming dreams about being abducted by a sexual predator (one of my actual, recurrent dreams) and you’re so sad you start to cry when you wake up, because you *want* so desperately to be back in the dream.
Where you felt happy. Where you felt something.
Imagine that *any* day when you feel happy, you talk too much and laugh too loudly and hit on anything that moves, because for a few hours or maybe, at most, for a couple of days, it just feels so GOOD to be alive. Or you just feel alive, and that’s good. Something like that. But by the third day, you can feel yourself slowly spiralling back down, into a feeling that’s so grey and dank and leaves you feeling so helpless, you wonder what’s even the point? Why be miserable for two, three, four weeks at a time, to then spend maybe one weekend feeling good about yourself, about life in general, before you go back to feeling like getting out of bed every morning is too much trouble?
And you try to motivate yourself. You try to cajole yourself out of bed with promises of treats and rewards, you try to interest yourself in something, anything, to get yourself up, but…. *sigh* Really, what is the point? You’re so tired you can barely roll over or pull the blanket up to your chin, and you’re supposed to get up and dress your kids and pack their schoolbags and take a shower? You just don’t have the energy. If you did, you’d probably only walk outside into the nearest road, and wait for the inevitable… so maybe it’s a blessing in disguise.
Some days you try a different tactic. Lying in bed, wishing your heart would just stop beating, you try to rouse some anger in yourself. They say that depression is just anger turned inwards, right (somebody said it once) so you try to focus some of that anger AT yourself, try to use it to force you up and into doing whatever it is you need to do. You call yourself every name you can think of–I don’t mean obsolete, meaningless ones, like bastard or slut or bitch, I mean the really awful ones–I mean the ones like useless human being, embarrassment to your family, or even the worst one of all, bad mother… and nothing works. You just lie there, and ignore the alarm, and pray for sleep to a God you usually believe in, but not today. Today, you know that if He existed, He would end your suffering…
I’m pretty sure that one day, I’m going to pull a Virginia Woolf. I sincerely hope I’ll manage to write a few novels first, maybe leave something behind for my family, but I’m beginning to doubt even that will happen. Maybe it’s for the best; maybe they’ll find it easier to hate me, and move on with their own lives, if I leave them nothing at all.
And that, boys and girls, is depression as I know it. More coming soon–the next one will be a 2-or-3-parter.