I have been bombarded with things as of late that are making it glaringly obvious I have a problem and I need to fix it. The problem is fixing it is hard. And it's not fun. And despite that, I know that I am now at a point where I can no longer avoid it. I can't ignore it. I can't fake my way through it. I need to hit it head on. I watched a video yesterday posted on a friend's Facebook wall and I was like, god dammit. Just god dammit all, I GET IT, UNIVERSE. OK? I get it.
I suffer from depression.
I have for a long time, probably most of my life. When I was younger I did a pretty good job at faking it. Out in the world I was a happy, perky, regular teenager. In my room I would cry and cry for absolutely no reason and I secretly thought that maybe, just maybe, I was losing my mind. I had no reason to be sad or to cry and I think a lot of my moodiness around the house was probably written off as hormones. And maybe some of it was, but certainly not all of it.
I always had this hope that once I got out on my own, and I could build my life the way I wanted it, things would be better because it'd be of my own making. Except that didn't happen. In my first real relationship I really thought I was in love. And it turns out I wasn't and I was faking my way through it. I don't think any 17 year old knows what love actually is and by college I realized that there has to be more. I felt like I didn't care about anything. I did well at school and at work, but I didn't actually care. I didn't care if I had people to hang out with, I didn't care about the people I was with, nothing. So in order to fix that, I would go shopping. Because somehow, shopping made me feel happy. I liked having new things, I liked having a wallet full of credit cards, and I liked looking my best because I felt like if I could portray happy, successful, carefree, and young- I would feel all of these things.
Fake it 'till you make it.
Until I realized that won't work for long. Because those bills come in the mail. And it only made me feel worse because now I was broke, cards were maxed out, and I felt guilty and angry at myself for being so stupid. So I would pay the bill, then spend just as much immediately after. It was terrible.
But then I met Matt. And I didn't have the stars in my eyes and butterflies in my stomach but I just knew that he was steady and he was what I needed. I really needed a person to take me down a notch and to help calm me in a way I couldn't do on my own. Which he has. He has been amazing all of these years. Even when he wasn't, in a way he still was kind of great. We got married, I got pregnant and I was over the moon with happiness. I loved being pregnant, I loved nesting, I loved talking to the baby in utero and I was so excited. I felt like THIS, this was my calling. This is what's going to give me a purpose to a life that was basically spent floating around unsure of what I'm supposed to do.
But it wasn't.
As it turns out, I'm not cut out for parenting. In fact, sometimes? I kind of hate it. I cried more in Olivia's first year than I ever had my entire life. I was in the throes of post partum depression which I just never thought I would have because I was so happy and excited to have a baby. I know people worried about me and that was nice, but I was too scared to tell them they had cause to be worried. Because I really hated being a mom. I felt no bond, no attachment. Nothing. I felt absolutely indifferent to this beautiful little girl and it terrified me. I didn't understand how this mothering thing worked and when it was going to kick in, but every day I would wake up and feel this huge sense of despair. Like I had ruined my life.
This will obviously put a strain on your marriage so not long after Olivia's first birthday we had some real marital issues. By her second birthday things were at a head. I was also pregnant with Jackson and this time? This time I felt different. I was absolutely terrified that it could get worse for me and I wondered if there really was a God, why would he curse TWO kids with a mother like me. What the fuck is wrong with him? It's horrible. I tried so hard, so incredibly hard, to be like the moms I would see at play groups and parks who just had all of this joy for their child and I felt like a fraud sitting there thinking, "God- I just want to go to bed. I wonder if any of these ladies would just take my kid for the day?"
After Jackson was born I felt great. Like over the moon, I can't believe how awesome I feel, holy crap THIS is what I was missing the last time. Then I felt even worse. I have obviously short changed Olivia as a mother and she doesn't deserve this. I'm such a terrible parent I can't even love my kid enough, what is WRONG WITH ME??
And of course, I'm seeing doctor after doctor during all of this. I get on prescriptions, some work but make me horribly sick, some don't work but just make me fat, and some just make it so bad that I felt like walking away because everyone would be better off without having to deal with me because clearly I'm defective. Every doctor tells me that "it is what it is" and that feels like a cop out. I get told that at some point, you just deal with it and eventually, things won't be so bad.
Well, I've dealt with it the last 5 years. And you know what? I feel worse now than ever.
I have felt, especially in the last 4 months, that things were slipping away from me. And I thought it is obviously the stress of moving, buying/selling a house at the same time, the school year ending, getting Jackson ready for Kindergarten, planning a vacation, worrying about money, trying to do everything for everybody and keep all of the balls in the air so I look like things are great and I have a great life. Because I do. I have a really great life. I have a great husband, awesome kids, I love my house, I love my job, my family is good, I have friends who are always there, I have a better support system now than ever. And yet...
And yet I hate it all. I hate getting up in the morning. I hate dealing with my kids. I hate listening to Matt talk about work. I hate hearing people complain about dinner. I hate being out in public. I hate having to interact because I don't think I'm portraying "I'm really a happy person" well enough, and here I am. I am sad. I am tired. I feel defeated. I feel like every effort I give is for nothing. I feel like nothing I do for anybody is enough. If someone has a bad day, I take it on myself. I feel like somehow, their bad day is my fault and see? I really am a terrible person, I'm ruining other people's day.
The worst part about this is that when I have talked to people about it, you get a mix of reactions. Some are horrified and feel awful for you, but are unequipped to help you. Others get offended and have a "you are a selfish, horrible bitch. What is WRONG WITH YOU? You appreciate nothing that you have." The only time I have ever felt like someone actually gets it is when I read Hyperbole and a Half's posts on depression (adventure and part two)Then you have a few who will make you feel worse by saying, "Well it's all my fault, I was a bad (fill in the blank) for you so yup- just blame me." And it's those times where I just want to scream, IT'S NOT ABOUT YOU. It's about me, and I feel awful and sad and I have no reason and this is really the worst feeling in the world.
Or so I thought.
But then last night I had a dream that I felt like this and I found out Matt only had a short time to live, like days. And in my dream it's him in a bed begging me to pull it together because he can't be here to help me anymore and he just wants to know I'll be OK. Because if I'm OK, everything else will be OK. And I just lost it because I know he's right. Without him, I wouldn't be able to function as much as I do. He takes over when he can tell I have nothing left to give that day. And he never makes me feel bad about it. So at the end of the dream, he dies and all that's left is me sitting in a room, all alone, wondering what do I do now?
So that's where I am.
I try every day to get better. I've changed my diet. I exercise. I take vitamins. I have a routine, I get enough sleep, I have responsibilities and things I'm accountable for, I plan things that are fun and that I enjoy, I take time out for myself, I'm doing everything a person can do. Except for medication. And at this point, knowing how I've felt when on them before, it feels like a last resort. It's the white flag saying I can't do this on my own and nothing is enough, so please medicate me so I feel nothing at all. I won't feel happy, but I also won't feel sad and be crying all of the time. Win? Doesn't feel like it. Yes please medicate me so I feel sick or gain a shit ton of weight so I feel even worse about myself but at least I won't cry at the drop of a dime.
So, that's what it is. Life is hard, it's not meant to be puppies and rainbows all of the time, but it also shouldn't feel like death every minute of the day. At least I'm pretty sure.