Saturday, August 18, 2012
A post on depression has been fermenting in the back of my mind for quite awhile, but I’ve mostly been ignoring it, because, at some point, I feel like there’s not a damned thing I can say that I haven’t said many times before, so what’s the point?
But then I feel depression creeping in from the side, sinking its claws in, coming in under the cover of stress or grief or anxiety.
But that’s the thing, you see. How do I tease out depression from all these other things? How do I determine what is an acceptable reaction to events and what is depression being a big fat fucking liar?
As with Grandmom, I am going through periods of intense sadness. Stupid things will make me burst into tears. That, I am pretty certain, is grief.
But in between, I think, are the sneaky tendrils of depression.
I don’t just feel sad, but I also feel utterly alone. I feel as if it’s wrong for me to want to talk about my sadness and grief, that people just don’t want to hear it.
Or even worse, that I’m not eligible for my grief, that I’m not justified to feel so sad.
Part of that comes, of course, from the fact that I feel mortified by my own reactions. When we buried Grandmom, I knelt down to touch her coffin one last time and burst into uncontrollable sobbing. I could not stop myself from what felt like hysterical crying, not matter how hard I tried.
I felt like I was making a huge scene and hated every moment of that lost control just as much as I hated saying goodbye to her.
That’s just weakness, the darkness whispered.
So now, I struggle again, trying to understand why I feel this way.
Why do I not accept my own feelings as valid? Why does this sorrow make me feel like an imposter in my own mind?
Intellectually, I recognize this as my depression speaking. That my feelings are valid and my own reaction and no one–NO ONE–has the right to tell me I’m doing it wrong.
But I can’t stop myself from telling myself that.
Which really fucking SUCKS, let me tell you.
So I’m letting myself feel. And I’m being really damned careful about how much I rely upon pharmaceuticals–but that in and of it self is a Catch-22. Short sleep will kick-start a bout of depression, so I’ve been taking half doses of Tylenol-PM so I sleep, but then I worry that I shouldn’t be relying upon drugs to sleep, that it’s bad to take them, so I berate myself for my “weakness,” which of course makes me depressed.
That’s a fun game that can be played endlessly, let me tell you. (You may remember a similar game I played two years ago when I broke my ankle, over whether it was OK to take pain meds when I was hurting.)
So, we come back to the fact that I know depression is a fucking liar, but it’s like a horrible take on those gawd-awful horror movies–the lies are coming FROM INSIDE YOUR HEAD! If only I could run out of my head to get away. Or even grab a ball bat and beat the living hell out of the vicious invader.
But what I can do is try to keep myself honest. I’m allowed to have these feelings. And if I need to cry, I’m allowed to.
But I also have to remember to search out the joys that exist, and seek out the things that make me laugh. Because just as I am allowed to be sad, I am also allowed to laugh. And it’s my job to share light where I find it, to remind myself and others that we don’t live in the darkness, and even if I visit there, it’s not my home.