“I Know What It’s Like”

img_2365Those are the words my dad said to me when I tried to explain my depression to him.  “I know what it’s like.  Everyone has down days at some point, and they feel really sad or depressed.”

“No, that’s not depression.  Not everyone knows what it’s like, and not everyone has experienced it.”

He insisted he was right, as he always does, and the discussion ended.  Or rather, I shut myself up and refused to discuss it more.  What’s the point in explaining something to someone who has already made up their mind without bothering to listen and understand?  There is none.

A short heads up: I’ve been on a half dose of my medication (a generic form of Lexapro) for the past week and a half, so this post may be a bit more “down” than my usual ones.  I figured I should write about depression while being in the midst of it so that I could hopefully explain it better.:)  At least, how I experience depression.  It looks different in each person.

Sometimes depression hits me out of the blue with a crying spell.  I just start crying and I don’t know why.  Or sometimes I will start thinking really negative thoughts about my life and myself and then I become so frustrated with myself that I start crying.  I want so badly to not have depression.  To be able to think clearly on my own.  To be myself without need of medication.

The other week, I realized I was in a depressive spiral.  All I was thinking was that I go to work most days, and then I come home, maybe watch TV or scroll Facebook and then once or twice a week hang out with my boyfriend.  And I couldn’t think of anything worth living for.  And I felt hopeless and empty.  Nothing mattered.  I thought maybe I was just using my boyfriend to have some small joy in my life and that I should stop because he deserves better.

Or tonight, a couple hours ago, when I started to feel depressed.  Over and over again I thought about my depression and how it messes up my thinking.  And how awful it makes me.  I was angry at myself.  I was so frustrated that I started crying.  Why?  Because depression tells me that I’m not worth loving.  That no one could ever love someone like me.  That everyone will become as frustrated with me as I am with myself.  I can convince myself that people will leave.  That I should leave them before they can leave me.  It twists my thinking.

Sometimes I recognize when depression tangles up my thinking.  Sometimes I don’t.  Sometimes I recognize it, but I can’t stop my thoughts from tumbling in circles.

I’m so thankful to have a boyfriend who is willing to listen and love me even when I’m in the middle of my worst depressive episode or a panic attack.  Who continually reminds me that he loves me even when I don’t love myself. ^_^  And I’m thankful to the doctors who have found different forms of medications to help the chemicals in my brain become more balanced.  I’m also thankful for my friends who are willing to skype or FaceBook message me in the middle of my panic attacks.  They have helped calm me down and have talked me through the worst moments.

For the moment, I have hope.  I know the light will hide sometimes, and I won’t always feel or see it, but it will come again.

 

P.S.  If you know someone struggling with depression, remind them to be gentle with themselves.  And please, please, please remind them of how much you love them.  We don’t want you to have answers to our depression.  We just need you to sit with us and listen and love.  And maybe hold us tight when we break down into tears.  Or hold our wrists when we try to punish ourselves.  Help us love ourselves better, and above all show us love.

Porcelain Doll

SilkDress
Source: TheDollStudio.com. Image links to source.

I feel like a doll.  A doll with glass eyes.  A doll made of a porcelain head, arms, and legs.  Fragile, hollow, empty, lifeless.  I look out on the world and see nothing. My eyes have lost their sparkle.  I feel nothing.  I see nothing.  I am a porcelain doll.

I am depressed.  I didn’t realize it at first because it snuck in without knocking.  But now I see it.  This is *one of the ways I feel when I’m depressed.

There are some good friends here at school who would (and do) support me.  But most of the time I do not even know how to ask for the help I need, or even what to ask for.  I grew up in a narcissistic family, and as a result, I struggle to care for myself or recognize my own healthy needs and wants.  I am very good at helping those around me and caring for others, but self-care is a whole other world.

I want to get help.  I want to heal my wounds and be able to care for myself when I’m depressed.  I’m grieving the loss of my childhood.  I’m crying for my younger self who should have been nurtured and taught how to care for herself, but wasn’t.  But mostly, I am just laying on my bed feeling emotionless – staring at a computer screen covered in mindless games and TV shows.  Because I don’t feel anything on days like this.  Some days, getting out of bed and eating meals is all I can manage.

Giving myself (and others) grace is another gift I wish I had been given earlier in life.  And love.  Accepting love is really really hard for me.  My family fucked me over (excuse the language).  And they did it without even realizing it, and with the best intentions and all the love they knew how to give.  But it still messed me up.  Even with good intentions, they still hurt me deeply.

This is a tiny piece of the iceberg of issues I am trying to work through in my personal life right now.  It’s been rough.  It’s even harder while being depressed.  But it’s worth it.  Someday I will no longer be a porcelain doll.  I will be a warrior queen who is able to care not only herself, but also able to care for, stands up for and protect others.

After thought: There was a moment today when I was able to feel something.  As I stepped out of the elevator onto my dorm floor, I was immediately hit by the strong smell of chai.  It smelled wonderful and made me feel happy and energized for a few minutes.  It was marvelous.

* Depression looks and acts differently on different days, with different medications, and for different people.  This description is not meant to in any way envelope the entire spectrum of depression.  My own depression doesn’t always manifest itself this way either.