I can almost remember a time in my life when I thought depression was a feeling. That it was being sad all the time. Not wanting to smile, crying a lot, acting, well, depressed. I know better now. There are certainly times when depression manifests that way for me, but usually that is not the case. It would be easier by far if it were. Then I'd have a few days of sobbing a lot, and I'd clue in pretty quickly to what was going on. I should clue in to what is going on- I've been dealing with this for over a decade. But it takes weeks, usually, before I realize it.
For me, depression is more like inertia. First I just get tired, and maybe irritable. I start snapping at stupid things, yelling at the kids and Jeff, feeling absolutely unable to drag my ass out of bed in the morning. I start staying up later, because I really need some time alone, which obviously doesn't help the tiredness. And slowly, so slowly I can't even tell till it's really taken hold, all the joy and life just drains right out of me and I end up sleepwalking through my life. When I'm really depressed, I actually cry less, because strong emotion is something I can't access easily. I become a completely cerebral and selfish creature, living only in my mind, which chases its tail endlessly, and existing only to serve my needs, which are mainly to sleep and find excuses to not show up for my life. Now I know that on some level, this is just basic necessity- I'm too sick to live, so I just function until I get a bit better. But I also know that I don't have the luxury of withdrawing completely. I have a family, kids, friends, and a husband who need me. And I know that my withdrawal does not serve the cause of health. I can only get better by letting people help me. Yuck. Have I talked about how I hate needing help?
So thank you, all of you, who have been here, bearing witness, standing with me and standing for me. Thank you Anj, for helping me see that this is a chance to give a gift to my children, who can learn that it's ok to have problems and not hide them. I fear their pain at seeing me in need, especially my oldest, but I am starting to feel that God wants me to allow them to minister to me. Thank you Sarah for coming over so many times these past few weeks, even though it's a long drive and I can't just hang out when you're here. Thank you Rachel. Thank you KP. And thank you all the women (well, mostly women) whose words I read today and came away feeling a bit encouraged and a lot less alone.