Depression isn’t always obvious, y’all! It’s such a silent condition sometimes. Still we think to ourselves, these crazy people can’t control their emotions. They’re idiots. Depression is for losers who whine all of the time. We hate all of those whiners. That’s all they ever do. Whine. They never seem happy. Life is against them. They tell us often. Or do they? Did you ever stop to consider that the happiest people you know may suffer in silence? They don’t whine at all. They sparkle. They shine. Their life is the life that you want. But is it?
My friend, Brandi from Mama Knows It All, challenges us all every year to share our depression stories as part of her annual #DayOfLight. I usually ignore her. I mean, for real, no one wants to hear that shit. I’m not depressed. I’m happy. I sparkle, dammit. That’s what you need to hear, that’s what I need to tell you. I’m happy. I’m always effing happy. Always.
I allude to my depression I guess when I tell you of my marital or parenting woes. But I never tell you about the deep issues. I should tell you about the deep issues. I should be honest with you. I’ve been dealing with depression for years. YEARS. It sucks. I suck, I guess, because I hide it.
Let’s go back. I was a happy child. I’ve had a good life. My parents provided, they were happy-ish. Life was good-ish. I’ll never blame them for what ails me, I’m my own worst enemy. When I grew up, life got real, y’all. Life got tough. I didn’t do well at life at first.
I had baby #1. I was a young mom with a baby that I adored, but she had a really bad dad and I had a really bad husband. He beat me. He beat me hard. He beat me a lot. I mean, I needed to be kept in my place. I got it. But we were a beautiful family…to the outside world. It was great. I had a second baby, she was goreous too, life was good…until he pushed me down the stairs while I was holding her.
I left. I’m glad I left. I was never happy then, never happy with him. Never. But here I was a young, single mom of 2 girls and I really wasn’t sure what to do. I knew we’d make it, but I was losing control of my emotions and fears. I didn’t like it.
I went to my doctor. He was awesome. Seriously, an awesome and understanding doctor. You couldn’t ask for more. I asked him why I had been crying so much. Why had I been so non-productive? Why couldn’t I wrap my head around anything anymore? I’d taken control. I’d left the cancer. WHY wasn’t I OK? Then the question came.
Have you ever thought of hurting yourself or your girls?
Pause. Such a long pause. Like 30 minutes in my head. He said it was only 30 seconds.
NO, I’ve never thought of hurting my girls. Ever. NO!!!
Pause. Looong pause. Actually my pause would have been indefinite if he hadn’t have spoken up. He had to break the silence. He was uncomfortable with my silence. I guess I was too so I’m thankful he spoke so that I didn’t have to.
He prescribed heavy mediation. Super heavy medication. He said that pause scared him. I agreed then that I had a problem, I got on the medication, and went into counseling.
I’m not on medication anymore. I guess the insurance ran out. I guess I felt like I didn’t need it anymore. I guess I’m an idiot. There are days when I don’t know how I function. There are days when I don’t know what to do. There are days when I feel that my family would probably be better off without me because I suck that much. Then I give myself a reality check, I realize that I am good enough, and I move right along. They need me. I’ll be OK.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t “fake” sparkle. I don’t “fake” being happy. For the most part, I am happy. I have a good life, I have a wonderful husband despite our problems (we’re married, y’all, we fight, it’s normal), I have lovely children even when they’re driving me nuts, and I have a job that challenges me that I truly love. But, sometimes, more often than I let on, that beast inside of me, the one that constantly nags at me and tells me I’m just not good enough, gets the best of me. When someone makes me feel like I’m not enough, it completely takes over and I slip into my own little world, the one where the beast rules and I’m not good enough. That’s the dark place that I hide, the place that hurts me, the place that hurts my family and my relationships.
There are days when I know I’m broken and need to be on medication again. And there are days that I feel great and I know I’m just fine and in my happy place. It’s weird. That’s how this works for a lot of people.
We all struggle. We all fight. Some of us hide in the darkness, alone with our desperate thoughts. Some of us shine as an example for others, sometimes just shining to please others. I hide alone. I shine in public. I’m scared of the dark. I’m scared of what others will think of me if they realize that I don’t sparkle all of the time.
I’m just always scared that one day that place will completely take over. Scared and alone, yet hopeful and shining surrounded by loved ones all at the same time. It’s weird. It’s contradictory, but that’s my story.