Talking about my depression. It’s something I rarely do. I prefer not to give additional life to the overwhelming darkness that often consumes my hope, my energy, and my positive thoughts. But while I have three someones to listen to me when the death march gets too loud in my head, maybe you don’t. Or maybe you just think you don’t (which in a depressive mind is often the same thing). So I am here, opening up to you. Talking to you. Because if baring the darkest part of my soul can reach someone else, even just one someone else, then it’s worth it.
Depression became my lifelong companion in high school. I was on Spring Break, freshman year, when the phone rang at 2am. Even though it was a house phone, I swear it rang with a different tone. A tone of foreboding.
News of the worst kind. News that my teenage nightmares were made of. Even before anyone said it, it was like I already knew. My mom couldn’t bring herself to do it. My older brother- the one that hid all my baby teeth in his closet and all his spare change under my pillow, just so I could believe in the tooth fairy back in second grade- took my arm and got down to my level.
“Dad had a heart attack. He didn’t make it.”
My world turned in a way only death and loss can spin it. Like riding a rollercoaster you were only pretending to be brave enough for. But there is no getting off this ride. Because even when you finally set your feet on the ground, your equilibrium continues to wobble.
My dad was my bestest best friend. For a girl that had a hard time making friends with people that exsisted outside of books, the deep conversations at the table with him were my life force. He loved me. Not only that, he got me.
You never know how much a person can hold a group together until they are gone. He was not a perfect man. We were not a perfect family. But when he died, those left behind became individuals, no longer a sum of all parts. Now we were just apart.
Looking back I realize that the three of us were fighting the same battle, each in our own isolated way. But as a 15 year old girl, I just saw more loss when my brother moved away and my mother tried to move on.
Me, I turned to drugs, to black eyeliner, and to more books. More and more books. And notebooks. Countless words in countless journals.
I did eventually crawl out of that dark hole. I met my best friend, my soul sister, a woman that I am so, so lucky to still have in my life. (I love you, girl!) I had a shining senior year with a letterman jacket, a high gpa, and an acceptance letter to my dream school.
But depression is an internal war fought over a series of battles, pryyhic victories that leave your mind littered with crippling negativity and self-destructive behaviors.
Even when it leaves you, its never really gone. I have fought depression again and again in my life. Post partum after I had my twins, and again after I had my son, and again, recently, about something that I am still not ready to talk about.
But though I’ve had to fight again and again, each time I’ve been stronger, and climbed out quicker than before. You can do this too. Know that every time you fight, you are stronger than last time. Know that you are a survivor and that makes you awesome. And that someone gets you.
Someone gets you. If you take nothing else, take this one statement with you. When your mind taunts you, remember someone gets you. You are not alone in feeling alone. I am here, fighting.
Tomorrow I will be back with a list of what works for me when I feel alone. I’m waiting til tomorrow because I want to take the time to write it right, for you. Because you are important to me. So I’ll see you tomorrow, but I’ll be thinking about you all day.