It sneaks up behind and I don’t see it coming until it’s settled all around.
The fog that clouds my mind.
You can see it by the dishes piled near the sink. The dishwasher that needs unloading.
My lack of attention to detail.
I went shopping but I forgot bread and milk.
It disguises itself in tasks incomplete.
Like the stack of Christmas cards printed but never sent from last year.
It’s in the sharp responses I give my husband. The irritation when I snap at my children. Then manifests from the shame that comes afterwards.
The endless to-do lists that only get bigger with each passing day.
All the things I’ve meant to do. And I really did intend to do them, but ran out of time, energy, and intention.
Each day the list grows longer and I fall helpless to its enormity.
Depression seeps into every aspect of my life but it’s veiled so unless you’re looking closely and with experience, you might never recognize how much I suffer. My self-preservation to keep up the bare minimum is working overtime.
You won’t recognize it in my face.
No one ever does.
Because I still smile. Not just at friends but at the strangers I pass by.
I love my children. My husband, too.
My clothes and makeup are no different than when I’m soaring high.
The kids will make it to school on time.
I’ll still let you cut in front of me in the school pick up line. I won’t be a jerk or honk my horn.
You won’t see me overwhelmed. You won’t see me curl back up in bed. The anxiety that claws its way into my mind. You won’t witness the tears that come in the privacy of my home, or the hopelessness that settles deep into my gut when I drag myself back out into the world.
And when I trip up, my excuses are well practiced.
I’m just busy.
I have a lot on my plate.
I’ve learned and practiced how to function in this deep, deep sadness. If I didn’t, I’d lose all control. I’d lose jobs and my husband and all the relationships I care about.
But it’s also crippling, to go about day to day living as if nothing is wrong. Pretending. Letting everyone around you believe you are just fine. Because I’m not fine.
Because it’s bad enough this disease claims my joy.
If I saw you coming. If I knew you were around the corner just waiting to slip into my very being I’d have prepared for another battle. Instead I take it. I take it and take it, again. Because I know you don’t last. I know you can’t survive. At least not forever.
Because I haven’t given up. Maybe it’s because I’m too stubborn. Maybe it’s those I’ve most trusted with your darkness… my therapist, my husband, a friend who all refuse to let me go it alone. Either way I chose to stay. I choose to fight.
Making a choice to be strong is the first step. Not being afraid to name you aloud is next.
But that doesn’t make you leave. It’s another season to endure. Another day, week, month, or year to survive your unwanted company.
I’d like for you to go, but we both know it’s not that easy. Besides. You never really leave. Doesn’t matter what I do. You always come back.
But maybe this time will be different. This time I have hope.
My depression hasn’t changed, but I have. I’ve been through this before, and so have the people I’ve reached out to for help. This isn’t a path meant for one, and that’s something I’m beginning to understand. I’m not alone.