Blog

Jun6
2018

My Depression Hasn’t Changed, But I Have

By Kathleen Shea

Depression.

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.

Depression.

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 laugh.

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.

Depression.

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.

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Comments (7)

  1. Joyce Parnell

    This describes living with depression so well! Thank you for putting my thoughts into words!

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  2. Kat

    Beautiful. Thank you. Just the other day I explained my depression using Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak as how I view it. But fog works as well. It covers like a film you can’t quite wipe away. And the part about sharp responses to my husband. I get that. I’m so exhausted and it’s a fight every day to just be around people. I don’t want to smile. I don’t want to hear your stories and what you did over the weekend. I may ask you how your weekend was but only because I feel I have to since you asked me. It’s all pretend. That charade we show people while inside our heads we are screaming SHUT UP… please don’t try and talk to me, or ask me a question or try and include me in a conversation…I’m tired.

    Reply  |  
    1. Avis

      I know exactly how you feel. I want to say PLEASE STOP TALKING. I can’t hear you right now. I’m so tired. Can’t you see that?! I get it…

      Reply  |  
  3. Kat A.

    Hi. My name is KAT, too. I can relate to this post and to the comments. I still get social anxiety and I still get triggered, but I’m thankful for medication, therapy, caring & compassionate loved ones who didn’t dismiss me or give up on me. I’m grateful for my faith in JESUS and for my new coworkers. Yes, I have changed. I can now work again because I’ve learned skills to tolerate distress and to regulate/contain my emotions. I’ve never read or seen Harry Potter so the fog analogy works better for me. Like you, it “clouds my mind” and also makes me feel like I’m operating in a tunnel, through that thick fog, in slow motion while the world spins around me. I agree, the depression hasn’t changed. People may insist that it gets easier the more you are exposed to others. I disagree. It’s equally hard, but I’ve learned to cope. Thank you for sharing your story. I pray it encourages our peers and educates others. You’re right. We are not alone.

    Reply  |  
  4. linda

    Sharing this to my friends suffering from depression, this is the right thing to do,kill it before it kills you.. Think of your family❤️❤️❤️

    Reply  |  
  5. Avis

    Thank you. That was so accurately, eloquently, honestly put. And it’s me, too. I don’t have a single clue how I make it through each day. But I do. Sometimes, I snap at my children, or my grandchildren. Sometimes, I don’t answer the phone, or the text. Because whatever…gumption…that had me moving forward simply seeped out. And right now, I have nothing left. I can’t put on the face. I’ll put it back on later. I have to. It’s how I move forward. So, again, thank you for sharing, and putting into words I couldn’t find, what I’m not able to adequately say.

    Reply  |  
  6. Melissa

    Thank you for sharing. It means a lot to know others feel the same

    Reply  |  
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