So a few weeks after, "making it public" that I fight depression, I finally started to make a breakthrough. Every day since hitting puberty my days have been filled with the question, "will today be good? or will it be bad?" It never felt like I had a choice in the answer to the question. It seemed like no matter how badly I tried to "fake it til you make it" or to "just stay positive," if that day was going to be bad, it stayed bad. I would fall into an emotional slump that I just could not bring myself out of, and sometimes it would last for days. Like I said though, I made a breakthrough.
I don't like posting about depression for many reasons. I don't like talking about it either for the same reasons. I've felt impressed to write about it here for a while now though and so here I am. I think I first started to feel like this somewhere between junior high and high school, 8th grade-ish. It took until a couple years into high school, taking a depression gauge test in my psychology class before I really understood what I was feeling. It was soon after this, trying to explain how I felt to other people, that my negative feelings in talking about it were born.
You can't really explain depression to someone who has never felt it. They give you this blank and sometimes pitying look and make a stupid comment like, "I hope you feel better soon!", or "Can't you just get over it?" Yeah, sure, no problem! Done! All set, life is joyful and wonderful and all rainbows! Oh, and then there's the even worse response; someone who doesn't believe you or thinks you don't know what you are talking about. Man I hate that! "Are you suicidal? No? Then you're not depressed." They look at you like you're just having a rough day and need to get over it. Hey! How about feeling the same way for five or so years?! Rough day? Right.
No, I'm not suicidal, never have been. I never cut or did anything destructive that could cause me harm. I just stopped living. I have always referred to the ebbs and flows of my depression as "good days" and "bad days", with many more "bads" than "goods". My "bad days" in high school usually consisted of my having minimal contact with people, saying very little in class, doing my work alone, going home, and sleeping the rest of the day away. How I managed good grades going on like this I don't honestly know. Sleep was my way of getting away from everything. As far as I can remember I was always tired when this all started. I literally feel exhausted Always, no matter how much sleep I get. Looking back to the days I was dating my husband, in my senior year of high school (an all-time low point for me depression wise) I realized a big chunk of our time together I spent sleeping with my head in his lap. For some reason he loved me enough to look past that (thank goodness!). I wasn't over working myself at school. I was only taking one AP class, in math (my favorite subject) and I did none of the homework for it outside of school. All of my other classes were simple. I literally coasted through my senior year and still, I was so exhausted.
Beyond exhaustion I just had no interest in doing anything. When I was in elementary school and junior high, I was the project queen. I loved to be busy doing crafts and brainstorming ideas with my mom. Looking at my mom and how she thrives being busy at all times it is no surprise to find myself the same way, as well as several of my sisters. We just like being busy. Then suddenly, I stopped. Mind you, I didn't stop wanting to be busy and I still felt my absolute best when I had accomplished something or completed a project. I just couldn't do it anymore. I had no energy or motivation to get anything done. As you can imagine, a lot of self-loathing ensued. A person who thrives on getting stuff done but has no energy to get anything done can't help but think she's failing at life.
I didn't join many clubs in high school. Looking back I wish I had. I wish I had done choir and tried harder in the Technology Students Association club that I did join. I wish I had been more social, made more friends, and smiled more. Instead I hid. Senior year was the worst as the few friends I did have had either graduated or abandoned me. I went to school, drove home for lunch, then came straight home after school. The closest thing I had to a social life was my already graduated boyfriend (now my husband). I was angry a lot during that time too. I pushed away many of my friends and I picked several verbal fights.
Then there is my lack of a memory. I hadn't realized it was connected to my depression until recently. The inability to concentrate. I struggle even to stay focused in a conversation with someone who is taking too long to finish a thought. By the end of their thought I've long forgotten what the beginning was about. I am often asked "do you remember when..." and the answer is almost always no. I don't remember conversations, I don't remember what so and so looked like, and I don't remember what we last read in our family scripture study last night. I couldn't tell you last night what we had read last night. Very few things make a lasting impression in my mind to warrant a permanent or even long lasting spot there. I seriously have to sit there for a good few minutes to piece together a good picture of my husband in my mind (we've been together for 2 and 1/2 years, married 1 and 1/2 years of that time). I hate it.
Anyway, here I sit, hoping for more "good days." I watch Big Brother grow and I do my very best to be there for him. He is so important to me and so I tend to focus any and all energy I have on taking care of him. This usually leaves me with a very messy house and a hungry husband. As Big Brother goes to bed each night I find myself looking around my house in distress and sitting down to my computer hoping it will all go away on its own, because I'm tired, and I just don't have any more energy to give.
Once or twice people have mentioned medicine to me. Only problem with that is that I nurse Big Brother and I want more kids. Breastfeeding and Pregnancy don't go very well in a sentence containing Medicine. Sometimes I like to imagine that I'm on an episode of House and that perhaps maybe depression and exhaustion aren't the problem but instead, symptoms. Maybe I'm not getting enough oxygen and it is making me tired and that in turn makes me depressed and lacking in the energy to accomplish all of the things I want to. Is there a simple way to fix breathing problems? Or perhaps a baby safe drug to cure depression and exhaustion? If only.
Sometimes, like today, I have "good days." I've been waiting to write this post, saving it for a "good day." I can't tell you how many times I've started writing this on a "bad day" and giving up half way through, lacking the motivation or desire to say anything more. I love "good days." These are the days were I go to bed feeling good about myself. I look over my day and feel like I accomplished something, no matter how small it may seem to others. Today for example, I hung up a bunch of our pictures. That's all I got done, but I've wanted to do it for so long it feels huge. I'm watching as little by little, "good day" by "good day" I'm able to turn this new house into a home. I'm trying so hard to immerse myself in the holiday season this year. It all of my excitement I have been having many more "good days" than usual. I've been able to do lots of decorating and have been working on my project for my husband's Christmas present (So Excited! I'll tell you all about it once I've given it to him). Also, for those of you who are confused, "She always sounds happy on her blog," I tend to do most of my blogging on "good days." Once I've got Poetry Corner up and running properly, check it out. Most of my poetry writing takes place on "bad days." It's kind of ironic, but most of my best poems came from being depressed. Poetry needs emotion behind it to have feeling and truly sound good. I struggle to write it on the "good days."
As I near the end of this post I'm finding myself feeling a little foolish. Why do you guys need to know Kim feels depressed and has felt this way for the past five years? What if more people think I'm making it sound worse than it really is and that I just need to get over it, get more sleep and suddenly become an optimist on life (I fondly refer to myself as a Realist, but mostly I'm just a Pessimist)? I don't know. I felt like I needed to post this today and perhaps it is for one person. Maybe someone out there needs to read this, to know they aren't alone, that all of the people telling them that they are stupid and dismal and faking it, are wrong after all. Honestly I really hope to turn this into a good thing. I hope I can keep posting about this, about how I conquered one of my biggest mountains and be able to reach out and help others to do the same. I can't do that today, but today I can tell you you're not alone.
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