I’m pretty deep into a case of the Blues.
It’s been coming on gradually over the past couple weeks.
But now the depression is back.
That’s the thing with depression.
It never really leaves. It goes into hibernation. Sometimes it lies dormant for years.
Other times it’s a very light sleeper.
Why it reappears can vary.
Certain times of year seem to be more conducive to its return. It’s often situational. Too many things at once. Stress. Kid issues. Marital issues. Not exercising enough. Not sleeping enough. Eating like crap.
It’s harder for me when it wakes at a time when it doesn’t seem like there’s all that much to have caused it to stir.
We aren’t having the financial troubles we had before. Our house is officially ours again. We don’t have tons of money, but we have enough to enjoy the holidays without having to ask for help and without having to worry about when or if there is going to be any money coming in.
So I don’t have that to get me down.
Then there is the beating myself up. That makes it harder, too.
I should be stronger than this.
I should be better than this.
I should have conquered this for Christ’s sake!
What the fuck is wrong with me that I can’t shake this?
There is nothing wrong with me.
Because you can’t shake depression.
Not permanently, anyway.
You can manage it. You can be smart about it.
But you can’t become complacent.
And you definitely can’t underestimate it.
Because depression is a smart motherfucker, and it knows when you are vulnerable.
That’s when it wakes up, comes into your room, and jumps up and down on your bed like a four-year-old at 6 a.m. on a Saturday morning.
My depression usually looks the same. It’s pretty consistent.
It’s not necessarily the same as someone else’s though.
What does mine look like?
I cry. A lot.
At random times. For no reason. For any reason. For every reason.
I don’t want to talk to anyone. I don’t want to see anyone. Not my kids. Not my friends. Not my parents. Not my husband.
I want to sit in my pajamas and do nothing. I lose all motivation to do anything.
The sink stays full of dirty dishes. The dishwasher will not get emptied. The laundry will not get washed or folded or put away. The litter box will not get emptied. The bills will not get paid. The grocery shopping will not get done. The meals will not be prepared.
I overreact. I’m overly sensitive. Things people say that might normally roll off my back become so deeply ingrained in my brain that I can’t stop replaying them in my head.
I become forgetful.
Yesterday as I was walking into swim practice at 4:45, I realized I had never brushed my teeth at all.
As I was leaving practice, I received a call that I had left my backpack at the private school where the swim team practices on Saturday mornings.
It had been there for two days and I had no idea it was even missing.
And my laptop is in my bag.
I still haven’t gone to the security office to pick it up because I can’t get myself to leave the house.
I look like shit because I’ve been crying all morning, and I have been unsuccessful at convincing myself to get up, get dressed, wipe the makeup off my face that I didn’t bother to take off from yesterday, and drive the twenty-five minutes to the pool to get my bag.
I just don’t care.
Depression makes mundane tasks monumental.
Sometimes my depression causes me to lose my appetite. Other times, it makes me want to eat non-stop.
This current round has me looking to food for comfort. Or at least a temporary distraction from the blues.
It works for a minute.
Until I’m done eating. Then the distraction has disappeared and the only thing left in its wake is my self loathing over my lack of self control and my inability to get up off my ass and at least empty the dishwasher.
This just makes me feel worse. Which causes me to look for more distractions. And I head back into the kitchen.
It’s a difficult cycle to break. And talking to yourself with any amount of compassion becomes increasingly difficult.
You should be stronger than this.
Why can’t you shake this???
Just get up and do something.
My kids get the worst of me.
I am short tempered. I’m not present. I’m doing just the bare minimum to keep them alive right now.
But they aren’t bleeding. And they aren’t on fire. They may eat 5,000 grams of carbs today and nothing else.
And that is going to have to be good enough for today.
I will spend most of the day dreading going to work later and not knowing how on earth I will find the strength to do it.
It will take all my energy to pretend to be happy. Strangers, coworkers and other peoples’ children will receive the best I have to give.
When I get home, there will be nothing left for my family.
I will snap at them and I’ll ignore them. I’ll make it clear I don’t really want to have anything to do with them.
I’ll repel and retreat.
My depression also brings his fucker of a friend, Insomnia, along with him for the ride. He tells me, if I’m awake, you’re gonna be awake, too.
Fuck you, Depression.
You, too, Infuckingsomnia.
But I suppose I should be grateful for my depression.
Because he (I’m not sure why I think he’s a he, but I do — another topic for the therapist) is really giving me a slap in the face that something is off.
I’m way out of balance.
Which end of the seesaw I need to either add to or take away from, I’m not sure of yet.
But something is off.
And the Blues are just helping to make me aware of it.
So today won’t be the best day I’ve had.
But writing this has helped remind me to be nice to myself. To cut myself some slack.
And rather than overwhelm myself, to go back to the basics.
Those are the big three. The Holy Trinity of guiding Depression back in the direction of hibernation.
If Depression has weaseled it’s way back into your life, do me (and yourself) a favor and first, take it easy on yourself.
Don’t beat yourself up. But don’t wallow.
Feel the feels, especially the shitty ones. Growth happens out of discomfort. Allow yourself to be uncomfortable.
Then go back to the basics.
The Holy Trinity.
Once you do that, pick one small thing.
Fold one towel.
Yes. Just one.
Or walk up one flight of stairs.
Yep. Just one.
Take a shower.
Eat a piece of turkey.
Do one small thing. One small thing is progress.
And when you’ve gotten to this point, progress is all you need to look for.
One foot in front of the other.
Eventually, you’ll be up to a slow jog, and before much longer you’ll have one foot kicking Depression’s ass right back where it belongs.
Until then, know that I’m (barely) walking the walk right along there with you.
And whatever your depression looks like, it’s okay.
Because somebody out there gets it. Lots of people out there get it.
And you are not alone.