Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Bleak House

I'm about to do something that might not be too safe. I like to present myself to the public of the world wide interwebs as a person of clear mind and outstanding character, a girl that laughs in the face of adversity and walks with a spring in her step. I certainly don't want to make anyone uncomfortable or come across as melodramatic and lame. I have been known to be both of those things, and I do not wish to propagate that personality aspect with this particular blog. I just want to be honest, and I just want to share. Maybe someone out there needs to hear this. I don't know. I could certainly use it.

I suffer from a delightful disease that was once called "depression," but has now been upgraded to "major depressive disorder." I guess that sounds more medical. Maybe because so many people like to whine about how "depressed" they are, the mayo clinic (or whoever's in charge of that sort of thing) decided it might be easier to give it a more technical/medical sounding name. It IS, after all, a medical condition. I have a history of it, and I come from a long line of afflicted who, if not properly diagnosed because of their generation, were terribly misunderstood. It is, as they say, in my blood. And this one is heavy.

I bring it up now because I seem to have slipped deep into a bout of it over the past few months. It's a funny feeling watching things slip out of your grasp, sinking, but spinning uncontrollably. I could not tell you, if you asked, when it started, or give you an outline of my descent. The pictures are never that clear. That's what it is: a fuzziness in your brain, a cloudiness, that fogs the reality, the logical order of every day life. Maybe it happens in slow motion, but a blind slow motion, not one during which you see all the little nuances of every single move made. Slipping into depression is like sinking slowly underwater. It's comfortable, yet suffocating, calm, yet terrifying.

I feel it in my whole body. Every muscle aches. Sometimes I think I can't even move under the weight. Every single decision I make throughout my days, is tossed up against this wall that I watched building around me, yet said nothing. It's a heaving of myself into each task, and it's exhausting. Sometimes I have to convince myself that I have to talk. I have to will myself to communicate. I have to fight myself to keep from crying.

And sometimes I do cry. I cry until I laugh at myself because I know exactly where I am. I made it home a few days ago and sat myself back in the far corner of my house, and I cried out loud, "I don't want to be sad anymore," and then I laughed, and I breathed, and my dog licked my knee.

And it's no one's fault. It's not even my fault. It just is. Just hovering there, completely unrelated to the earth's rotation. Simply a wire or two in my brain that is malfunctioning. But it's very lonely.

I suppose that's why I'm writing this. Depression is terribly lonely. Sometimes I don't even want to be with people because it feels more lonely than when I'm alone. Because I have no idea what to say. Because it takes so much energy to keep from responding to "hello" with "I'm so tired of being miserable." I can't find anyone talking about depression online except doctors talking about how we need to talk more about it. To whom? Who among us is able to take on, even for a brief moment, the cross we, the depressed, flail beneath? Who would we want to do that to?

Yes, I take medication, and, yes, I am a believer. Sometimes it takes work, to find the right drug and the right dosage, and sometimes everything changes, and you have to go back to square one, but it's worth it not to feel this way. It's worth it to have hope that the world isn't quite ready to write you off. I'm also a believer in therapy. NOTHING feels quite like having an hour a week during which to talk while someone listens. So few people really listen to each other. So many people need someone to listen to them. Someone that takes the weight for just a moment, and then helps you grow strong enough to bear it yourself. The weight is always there. We do have the capability of carrying it, and that's a relief.

So, I hope someone reads this, and feels relief. I hope someone stumbles upon this, and it soothes the dull pain of waking up to depression again and again.

Even with medication, depression is a tough road to travel, but it doesn't last forever. It can't. As soon as this room becomes too dark, a light will find its way in.


Bret said...

Sorry to hear about your struggles, Caroline. Lots of people love you... not that that makes it any easier to shoulder the burden of depression. Hope things get better soon!

Nancy Caroline said...

Thanks, Bret, that means a lot.

Queen Mother said...

You've always got a friend in the white house on the hill. I love you and it takes great courage to share this with people. I have always appreciated your bravery. This too shall pass.

Julie Best said...

You are a light in many peoples' lives. Know that, because it is true. Come running with me soon, because it is fun. :)

diana said...

Lovely lady, I love you. Listen, does your therapist have a Hang in There Kitten poster? That's probably what's missing.

Linda C Crowder said...

I was working today on my own blog, and I occasionally click the little link at the top of Blogger's dashboard that takes one to the next blog on their list, randomly. I arrived here, at yours. Girlfriend, my heart bleeds for you. I understand so well what you are going through. But, maybe this wasn't a random thing, my landing on your blog today. Go to my blog and see what I posted today. It might help. At least it will make you smile.
Hang in there, that little light will grow larger.

Miss Durian Pancake said...

Hang on there, Caroline. I know you can do it. Check out my blog for a story in progress!!