Some days are good and some days are bad. You never know when a bad day is going turn into a horrible day, seep into the next and the next – all of a sudden you have had a bad week or a bad month. All of us experience our depression in various forms. We all have our telltale signs of the impending doom. I never seem to see it coming though, I always see the signs after the fact.
It starts with a disinterest in taking a shower, I go days without showering and after the first three days, I start to lose interest in everything – I watch my favorite show, do my favorite activities but I am disconnected. It is as if I am going through the motions like a dream, it’s a habit – wake up, go to work, talk to my loved ones and all the while I am disconnected. I don’t realize anything is wrong until this moment when I can’t get up off the couch or the bed. I realize I have been sitting or laying down for hours; without really engaging, without really thinking, just sitting there. The final, worst stage is a complete lack of interest in food.
It’s this huge gaping whole in the middle of my body. Every breath is like breathing black smoke that only adds fuel to the ever growing darkness inside of me. When I was single, I just stewed in my head, letting the feeling wash all over me. I had a job that allowed me to work from home. I slept with my laptop. I woke up, logged in, worked in bed, ate junk food trying to fill the hole, logged off work, watched TV and fell asleep watching TV. I stayed indoors for days, had food delivered, never even opened the windows or the blinds. It was an ordeal trying to get out of the funk. I forced myself to cook or take a shower. I talked to my therapist, made plans with my friends and the good days would return. Or it would be something mundane that kicked me out of it: it’s incredible that while my brain is buried deep under a cloud of sorrow, my body is still running through it’s functions. I get hungry, I get sleepy, I have to use the bathroom. I realize I am taking a lot for granted, being alive and healthy in my body is a gift.
It has been a few years, and I have learned to manage my depression, doctors found the root cause and things are a lot better for sure. There are still bad days but they are few and far between. The darkness and the chasm are all too familiar, so much so that sometimes when I am having a particularly bad day, I feel comforted. Relieved in some ways and the relief is immediately followed by guilt because what am I doing? Finding relief and comfort in my depression?
I am in a relationship now and it is both harder and easier dealing with the bad days. It is hard when my partner finds me vegging – I feel I am letting them down, it is hard when they ask me to talk to them – I don’t want to be vulnerable, it is hard to maintain self-esteem and to function. But now, I remind myself – I am not broken, I am not a failure. It is okay to be depressed, it is okay to have bad days, it is okay to feel bad. This will pass, I will feel better, I will function and there will be good days again. I practice the tips and tricks my therapist taught me, I keep myself engaged in constructive, creative activities and I remind myself that I am human. I try to stay healthy in body and mind and I know that a bad day is not something to dread.
P.S. This was a difficult post to write. Talking about mental health is not easy, sharing your story to strangers is not easy. I hope I can spread some awareness, some comradery and some love.