When Everything is Sad

January 18, 2017

Anyone who has dealt with major depression knows that it invades every cell of your body, to the point where everything, absolutely everything, can lead to extreme sadness.

I haven’t been there for a whilrubye, but it appears to be coming back. I paid my ex-boyfriend some money I owed him, and felt like that was a bit of closure.

Apparently, I wasn’t ready for closure.

This sent me into a tailspin. I have managed to convince myself that I will be alone forever, and never feel happy again. Part of this is grief, absolutely. I loved him—I still love him—and I’ve lost my best friend and the man I loved.

Part
of it is depression. The signs are far too familiar. I’m sleeping too much ruby2and it never feels like enough. I have no appetite at all except for sugar. I’m losing interest in everyday activities. And I’m sad. I’m crying like I can’t stop again. Not every day, at least not yet.

Yesterday I got up and felt incredibly sad. I did what I could to feel better. I went for a walk in the sun with the dog. I took a hot shower. I had to sit down in the middle of the shower because I was crying too hard to stand up. I just couldn’t stop.

I finally was able to calm myself down enough to do some work, and I looked over at my dog, lying in the sun, looking incredibly contented.

Somehow, that was the saddest thing I had ever seen. That dog, who I love, who brings me joy, that dog, lying down contented, that was tragically sad.

That’s what depression does. It steals the joy in absolutely everything. I don’t want to be back there.

 


Depression Dreams

January 16, 2017

It hasn’t happened in years, but yesterday I woke up from a dream in which I had been very, very depressed. I woke up feeling heavy and hopeless and sad. It was terrifying and I’ve been carrying the weight around for two days.

It’s strange how dreams can feel so very real. Terrifying. I couldn’t shake the feeling, and I’m still having trouble with it. I’m trying to remember that I’m going to be OK eventually.


Fiction vs. Reality

January 11, 2017

*This post contains spoilers but only of super old books and movies*

When the 6th Harry Potter book came out, I was in rural Mexico with a friend. We took a special trip to Walmart so I could buy The Half-Blood Prince the week it came out, and I read it almost all in one sitting, just as I had done with the previous five Harry Potter books.

When I got to the part where Dumbledore died, I was devastated. And I know people use that work quite often, but I mean, literally, I was devastated. I felt like a friend had died. I was in shock, grieving, and stunned. I cried and cried and couldn’t get out of bed. I tried to hide this from my friend and probably told her I was sick or something.

I was so sad. Really, I was severely depressed. When I am depressed, I can’t differentiate between sad reality and sad fiction. I was mourning Dumbledore like he was a good friend, not a fictional character.

That is not the only time it has happened. I was reading a book once where a dog died. The dog was old and had had a long, happy life, and passed away quietly in his sleep, but it felt like it destroyed me. Depression somehow made me have no filter between reality and fiction.

Depression has been creeping up on me again lately, ever since the breakup in April, my book release (a good milestone but any type of change/accomplishment is hard and I keep being reminded that my ex is not there to experience this with me), and the cold, dark winter. So it shouldn’t have been a surprise when I took my 3.5 year old nephew to see Babe (the pig movie) recently and I cried through a lot of the movie. Only a couple of animals died or were kidnapped and it was done very lightly, and he (not even four years old yet!) was a little scared but fine, and I was crying in the dark. Because the overwhelming sadness is back. I’m fighting it better than I have been, but it’s back.

I don’t want this grief.


Coming Back from a Loss

November 4, 2016

I’ve been neglecting my blog for a while now. First I was neglecting it because I was doing ok and I didn’t want to write about depression. Then I was neglecting it because I was going through losses and transitions, and I just couldn’t do one more thing.

In March, I had my tonsils out and the recovery was really rough (if you’re thinking about having your tonsils out, do it young. Turns out 41 is not young). In April, my boyfriend of three years, who was my favorite person, best friend, and love of my life freaked out and left. The week before, he had said in counseling that he was sad that he had waited so long to open himself up to love and that he really wanted to make this work and that if he left, it would be out of fear. He left the next week.

In June, I left my job for a number of reasons, and it was the right decision, but it was a hard one. I went back to being self-employed. I got a new housemate. Changes are hard. An old friend died, and it’s still unclear if it was an accidental overdose or suicide, as he OD’d the night before he was going to go into rehab. I hadn’t seen him in 20 years but it felt like quite a blow. My dog had to have major surgery and caretaking in the middle of all this was tough. Oh, and I published a book.

I’m kind of reeling. Almost everything in my life looks good right now. But I miss my ex more than I can say – I miss both the role (having a partner in life, having someone to bounce things off of and who is a priority and considers me a priority) and him himself. He is a wonderful person, but not so good with opening up and being in relationship.

So, I’m back, and I’m trying to be honest. It’s been hard, and the weather change, impending time change, and political mess are not helping anything. I need to process.


Crying

July 16, 2016

I hate crying in front of people. Absolutely hate it. It feels far too vunerable and personal. Also, I used to be punished for crying. When I was very young, I was hit when I cried. I don’t remember this – I found out from getting my childhood therapy records. When I was a little older but still in elementary school, I was sent to the garage when I cried so no one had to hear it, with the threat of having to sleep in the garage. So you can see why I have some baggage about crying in front of others.

I have been crying a lot in the last couple of weeks. World events, personal events, and maybe just exhaustion from feeling too much. I cry while I’m driving sometimes, before going to sleep, while grocery shopping, and during yoga.

This isn’t constant – sometimes I’m totally fine But when I’m in it, it’s totally consuming. I just can’t stop crying.

I’m wondering how many years of sadness and trauma I’m letting out. And I wonder how many more years of this type of intense crying I still have in me.

And even with all the horrible things going on in the world, selfishly, the biggest sadness is the break-up. It came in April and as far as I can see, it came from him being scared of someone really knowing him. Our counselor agrees with my theory, although my ex said no, no, it had nothing to do with fear.

That is the biggest source of the unending tears for me. Current events have been horrible. An old friend either killed himself or OD’d this month and that was tragic. Racism is in full swing and people are dying. But somehow, the loss of this relationships is what feels like it is going to do me in. We were a good team, I love him, he loved me, and he got scared. And the loss feels too big to accept.


Solstice

June 17, 2016

Note: I have joined a writing group recently and I read in a story slam where each person got five minutes to read something they had written about “solstice.” I immediately thought, “Oh no, I have to write about depression.” I tried and tried to make it about something else but I couldn’t. So here it is and yes, I read this ALOUD IN PUBLIC and thought I was going to die but I didn’t. Didn’t even throw up.

——

The summer solstice is undoubtedly my favorite day of the year. The magic of the long, light day and the much shorter period of darkness is much more powerful for me than you’d think, especially because I live an area that doesn’t have the extremes of much further north or south. However, I have clinical depression.

That may not seem to relate, but for me, light and darkness are not just metaphorical parts of my depression. I learned early on that the world looks darker–sort of twilight–when I am depressed, and that I’m much more likely to be depressed when it is dark.

My depression did not come on after a breakup or a death, although those have both been triggering factors for me as an adult. I was depressed as a very young child–the kind of depressed that children have no business being. I also learned to talk, read, and write very early, so it was even more jarring for people around me to see how sad I was, because I could communicate it so clearly.

As early as kindergarten, I routinely wished to not wake up in the morning. I didn’t have a plan to die, but most mornings the thought process was something like, “I wish I had died, but since I didn’t, I guess I should get up.” That continued well into my 30s.

In college, my roommates started having candlelight dinners because it made them feel fancy, and I panicked. I felt like I was losing my mind because I didn’t know why candlelight dinners were making me feel so bad; I just knew that I didn’t mind the candles as long as all the lights were on. That was the year I went on Prozac because my whole world had gone gray. This wasn’t just an expression; I actually couldn’t see in color as well as I used to. I became a psychology major that year and learned that major depression can, in fact, decrease your ability to see in color, which was one of the most validating facts I have ever experienced.

I love colors and light. I love to paint and knit, and my favorite part of both is choosing the colors I use. The walls of my house are covered with paintings, mosaics, photographs, posters, and textiles, mostly in bright colors. I am the kind of person who turns all the lights on even though I know it’s bad for the environment (and I love the environment). I wait eagerly for the longest day of the year and I treasure the days leading up to it.

The summer solstice is my favorite day of the year, but the day after is another story. There’s no noticeable difference from the previous day, of course, but I know that the days are starting to shrink, and that each day I’ll get less and less light. By the end of the summer, people are talking about how nice it will be to feel the crisp fall air, and I’m fighting panic at an earlier dusk.

I can’t explain what it feels like to start slipping into depression–not being in the deep dark hole yet, but losing my balance on the edge, and knowing there’s no chance I won’t fall in. The all-encompassing grayness that starts in my peripheral vision and slowly takes over everything is terrifying and always ends in hopelessness.

When I’m not in the middle of it, I get so angry, but I don’t know what or who I’m angry at. Depression feels so evil and malignant that it’s hard not to believe it’s a personal attack. Many diseases make people want to fight for their lives. Depression makes you want to end it.

After years of therapy, medication, and misery, I was lucky. I found a medication that didn’t just take the edge off my depression like all the others had, but lifted me above it, at least most of the time. But the old triggers are still there at times.

I’m trying to look at things a little differently this year. I don’t know if I can avoid the slow panic that ramps up beginning at the end of June and colors the beautiful sunlit days with gray. If I’m lucky, it won’t be more than a couple of rough patches. If I’m not lucky, it will be excruciating, almost paralyzing, but I’ve learned by now that I will make it.

I’m working on making the day after the winter solstice my second favorite day of the year. It’s dark, it’s cold, and the days are short. But it’s the beginning of an upswing.

 

 

 


Transitions

June 10, 2016

Too much to explain, but just bullet point updates. In the last three months, I’ve:

  • had surgery (tonsillectomy)
  • gone through a break-up (not by choice; he freaked out about getting close to someone)
  • had major conflict at my church
  • gotten a new housemate
  • quit my job
  • taken writing my book very seriously
  • gone to a continuation high school graduation of a beloved former student
  • found out another former student is in prison for life
  • joined a writers’ group
  • agreed to share my writing in public

I’m exhausted and back to randomly crying in public.