This entry was inspired by words from my massage therapist today (thanks, Stephanie). I told her about my struggle in the middle of depression, and that I blogged about it yesterday. She told me that she liked that – writing in the midst of it, instead of just recalling it later.
So with that in mind, I’m going to try and write about my depression journey as it is happening. My experience is unique to me – no two folks struggling with this illness manifest it in quite the same way. So these are my experiences, and I wouldn’t presume that they apply to others, although depression does have some common characteristics but with different expressions.
The past few days have been punctuated with sudden tears – I’m crying out of the blue. And then I’m sobbing. Cried in therapy on Monday, and in psych doc’s yesterday. Deep sobs, as well as tears rolling down my checks – not bothering to wipe them away unless they interfere with my vision. That’s why it’s easier to sob at home – no reason to hold back. Finding it very hard to express the sadness out loud – saying the words makes me cry. Writing is a bit easier – I can pause writing to sob if I need to, and you the reader will never know.
The doc asked me yesterday if I feel hopeless. I said yes, but then qualified it to say that I feel more resigned/stuck/helpless than hopeless. Like “Here I go again, and there’s nothing I can do to stop it. I’m already in the depression.”
I’m grateful to friends who remind me that God is with me in this, because I feel so isolated and alone. Even though I know people care and they tell me so, depression makes it easy to dismiss those sentiments as, “Yeah, thanks. But I don’t see God anywhere.” Of course, truth says otherwise – I can’t trust what my feelings tell me, because depression lies.
I had a hard time going to bed last night – why bother, since it’s just going to bring another sad day. But I woke up early – eager for my massage. So that’s good, because depression doesn’t motivate me to do anything, and it steals the things I used to like to do. So being eager to get a massage is a positive – looking forward to something instead of dreading it. There must have been a little dread, though, since I got really anxious before I left the house, had to take a pill to calm my nerves and flip-flop stomach.
I have no desire to talk to anyone, and chit-chat is a chore. It’s easier if I can get the other person talking, so I can listen but not have to contribute much.
I can put on a smile, even laugh – I can have moments where I’m not in total darkness. But those moments are short-lived. And they make me tired.
I feel lazy, which makes me feel guilty. But I’m not lazy, I’m tired. Through and through. I feel like no one understands, but that’s not true. I’m glad people understand, but at the same time, I really don’t care if they do. That makes me judge myself as ungrateful, which also makes me feel guilty.
I’m often way down the trail of negative or sad thoughts before I realize it. I try to stop it by bringing myself back to now. But then I judge myself again for letting my spiraling thoughts get the best of me, not taking every thought captive to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5)
I’m a very harsh self-critic. I’m trying to replace those thoughts with how God sees me – His love and compassion and patience and grief for my grief. It takes lots of discipline – some moments I do it well. Other moments, I’m sobbing again.
Now trying to decide between food and nap. My stomach is growling but my eyes feel heavy. Decision making – even something as simple as this – which should I do first? – is very hard with depression. I’m probably better off if someone just gently tells me what to do, so I don’t have to decide. Except I want the right to decide. Not that I would – I have no will, am being bounced around by my circumstances, am not expressing my choice. Because that’s too hard to do.
I think I’ll go take a nap.