“I don’t want to see anyone. I lie in the bedroom with the curtains drawn and nothingness washes over me like a sluggish wave. Whatever is happening to me is my own fault. I have done something wrong, something so huge I can’t even see it, something that’s drowning me. I am inadequate and stupid, without worth. I might as well be dead.”
Margaret Atwood, Cat’s Eye
The above quote is the closest description I’ve found to how my depression feels. The isolation, the numbness, the shame, the feelings of worthlessness. Unfortunately my depression came back around this past week, much to my dismay. Every time I feel better I think that I’ll be able to handle it better the next time, but it’s so strong. I know I am strong too, but the darkness is so easy to give in to. The need to sleep was particularly present this week. Emotional exhaustion, maybe my body’s reaction to protect myself. After sleeping all yesterday evening and last night I woke up this morning feeling a little more myself. I missed work this week unfortunately but 3 days of depression (and only one really bad day) is somewhat progress. I feel like I’ve come out the other side of this one. And next time maybe I’ll manage it even better…
I can clearly recognize what led to this depression, so that is something and an important part of healing. My grandmother passed away last Friday. At first, I felt okay. Sad she was gone but relieved her passing wasn’t painful and she was finally at peace. However, everything that came after, the food, the preparations for her wake and funeral, the day of the wake and funeral, were pretty exhausting and set me off my routine and self care habits. All of these things went well and I needed and wanted to honour my nana’s memory, but I let my mental health suffer in result. With my nana struggling with mental illness all her life (bipolar disorder), my own mental health wasn’t on my mind enough. On Tuesday of this week, the day before I was planning to go back to work, I felt off. I could feel myself slipping into a low, but instead of doing anything to combat those familiar feelings, I retreated. I binged. I laid in bed. I distracted myself. And the next two days I was in a definite depression.
I thought it would be helpful to write this out while I’m still not feeling back to 100%. I usually save my writing for times when I am feeling quite good, but it is important for me to recognize my depressive moods and emotions as I’m feeling them and face them head on. I know if I had of confronted my feelings on Tuesday and did something (yoga, mediation, journal, talk it out) I may have been able to prevent the depression that was to follow.
I am lucky that my depression is so brief – I can guarantee I’ll start to feel better after a short number of days. But the frequency is hard to deal with. I feel like I just get going on a good spurt, back on track and managing my life, and the depression will knock me down again. When the darkness takes me over, it’s so hard to imagine I was ever happy. But, I am happy and I have a happy life to live. These lows cannot just disappear without me learning how to manage them. And that’s what I need to set out to do.
Thanks for listening,