So I write about things like career crisis, and social anxiety, and people’s innate behavior. Sometimes I write about parenting. I write with honesty. I don’t have another choice. It is just the way it works when you don’t really have a filter.
In any case I think it is time to write about something even more honest than career confusion.
Many of my close friends know I battle depression because when they ask me how I am doing in a casual chatty way I answer with a more disclosure than is comfortable kind of answer. “Oh, I’m adjusting my meds- I haven’t really wanted to get out of bed this week.” But I say it with a smile so they don’t get too worried.
I wrote once about how it actually feels to be depressed. I called it pre-menstral me because that seemed more temporary and approachable than the real fact. I am depressed.
I first started talk therapy in high school when my dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer. It was a bit of a lark then. Almost like a paid friend. I was in therapy because of conditions outside my control. I was a victim and it was a comfortable place to be and a novel way to be perceived.
In college I don’t remember being depressed. My live in boyfriend (now ex-husband) was for sure. He self medicated by smoking pot daily, writing convoluted sci fi and picking political fights. I was super together in comparison. That relative sanity masked some real struggle. It came out through work. I wrote about expectations, academic accolades, and the inability to get started on big projects.
It was after graduation, and during my divorce that things got bad.
And have never really gotten better.
For 15 years I have been in therapy, medicated for most of them. My outer life looks good. I have some weight issues, some career confusion, but far outweighing that is my incredible family, happy life.
The gloom is always present. Or at least it feels that way when it is present. The best parallel I can make for those of you with a clear head is pain. When you are in pain you cant really imagine life without it. When you don’t feel pain it is hard to conjure it. This gloom runs in the background- pushed back by art projects with kids, and French Open tennis, and walking in the woods. It can flare up in quiet or in busy-ness. One missed kids birthday party and the sinkhole opens. The cheerful invitation still sealed in its envelope. Heart pounding while I wait for the date. May something FUCK. Its June.
Imagining the kids waiting for Oliver’s RSVP. Imagining Oliver finding out that he missed the party. What kind of person doesn’t open her mail? How incredible SAD this situation is. Almost unbearably sad. One missed party = personal character assassination and perceived crushing experience for two seven year olds.
Do I know this is not the reality? Yes. I know. I know this is not real. I call and leave a funny apology message. I decide to spare one 7 year old and not tell Oliver he missed the party. In bed that night it goes on the list of failures. So long.
Do I know how this sounds? How miserable? Yes.
Not for help. I know how to help myself, I can look back and see this has been coming on since the Holiday Party. The one where I cared about RSVPs. I know it wasnt around last summer. I was OK then. I am not good now. I will be good again.
I am writing it because it helps me to say it. To yank it out of my head, this gloom blanket and put it in the sun to air. I am writing because some of you may feel it. Maybe even more than I know.