Everyone has days where they feel sad, hopeless, empty. A day here and there when nothing seems to be going right. A day where getting out of bed is a struggle you don’t mind losing. The good news is most people, typical people, wake up the next morning and are ready to take on the world. They woke up on the “correct side of the bed”. They can easily carry out their normal routines and enjoy things.
This, unfortunately, is not the case of a diagnosed Depressive.
I’ve been unwell for so much of my life, that sometimes I am unsure if I am actually better, if I have overcome the latest bout with Severe Depression and her sister, Severe Anxiety. I can easily tell when I have clawed my way out from the quicksand, my head finally above the surface, but the last few inches seems like an eternity to rise from. Living with these two, even when well, is a constant battle and a huge drain on my battery.
I fear mornings when I wake up and know I’m off. I feel the melancholy taking over. My heart is a void, all emotion down it’s drain. I don’t want to move. I want to remain in my bed. Soft, yet firm mattress. Warm blankets. A cozy cocoon. If I stay there, I will feel safe. I know though, that I can’t. Years of therapy and battles has taught me I need to force myself out of bed.
So I rise.
I walk, slow, feeling the weight of my body all pushed down to my feet. It’s an extreme struggle to take a step, but I push onward. Dragging myself to the kitchen, I carry out my routine starting with feeding the cat. After, I climb the steps trying really hard not to crawl up them and enter the bathroom. I plug my flat iron in and start it and brush my teeth. The routine is killing me on the inside. As I gaze at myself in the mirror, those horrible negative thoughts come back:
“Why get ready? Why go to work? They will be just fine without your worthless self”
“You’re look horrible”
“You don’t deserve love. You don’t deserve your husband, your daughter, your family, your friends.”
I hold back tears, repeatedly telling myself that this is my Inner Bitch talking, not the real me, the real Stephanie, ultimately failing at convincing myself.
Somehow I manage to get dressed and somewhat care about my appearance for work, hiding my inner dialogue and turmoil from those around me with the elusive faux smile. In 20+ years, I have become an expert at it.
I get to work, still sporting the fake grin, but once in my cubicle, it is shed away. I become quiet, a recluse. I do not want to leave the cubicle. I do not want to interact with anyone for fear that they may see what is going on with me. I just desire to sit in my chair all day. On and off, I will fight back tears. Sometimes a few will make their way down my cheeks. I don’t care if the sun is out, if the weather is beautiful, I want to stay hidden, be invisible.
When I get home, I am exhausted. Heart still empty. Body still drained. Mind still double-crossing me. I permanently erase the smile as I walk through the door. At this point, my 10-year-old daughter instantly notices and says to her father who is in the kitchen preparing dinner, “Mommy is having a Depression day.” Yes, baby, Mommy is.
Dinner is spent with me looking down. I play with my food. Some of it makes it into my mouth. I am not hungry. I just want to go into my room and hide. I have no desire to watch TV, read, pay games on the Kindle. Even scrolling through my Facebook feed doesn’t appeal to me. I just want to be alone, alone with my hopeless self. When I finally am, at the end of the day, tears fall… and every negative thought I have or action I’ve done feeds them.
I take a deep breath, swallow my pills, and eventually fall asleep hoping that tomorrow will be “normal”.
A day that most people have once in a while, but I am not the typical person. Most times, I do not wake up the next morning feeling better. It can take me a week or more to wake up “normal”. This frightens me. Experts (Psychiatrists & Therapists) say that after two or three weeks of feeling like this, that you are entering a Depressive state, that you are clinical. I am already clinical, so what is the big deal, right? I am scared of another episode with the Severe sisters, Depression & Anxiety. My episodes have only gotten worse as I get older. This last one took just about 2 years to get through. What would episode #7 do? Would I survive episode #7?
This most recently happened to me in December (one of the reasons there were no new posts from me). For over a week, ten days, I woke up likes this. Over a week, I didn’t exercise. I didn’t even take my daily walks at lunch that I love so much. I was getting worried. I saw my therapist during this time. Even he looked a little worried. He assured me that I could contact him whenever, day or night, if I needed to.
Then on the morning of day 11, I woke up fine.