The hardest thing to explain to someone is depression. If you’ve never suffered with depression, consider yourself lucky. Imagine the worst you’ve ever felt in your life, and the anxiety that came along with it. I hope, that if you don’t suffer with depression, you’ve only felt like that a handful of times. Depression is the worst possible mindset you can be in. There’s no blood work that you can do to become diagnosed with depression. There’s no brain scan that you can do to become diagnosed with depression. Although hard to diagnose, do you know how many antidepressants are out there? There are hundreds! The only conclusion that I can make to that being true is the fact that our brains are so unique that it takes the ultimate pill to “ease” depression. There’s no cure for it. I only wish that one of the bottles of pills on my nightstand was to rid my depression. I wish it was like a fever or a headache and I knew exactly what to take to free myself from the pain. Depression is hard to live with. It’s a daily struggle of WANTING to live and WANTING to thrive despite your mental illness. If you know much about me, you know that I’m usually the one having fun, making everyone laugh, and you’d think I had my shit together. My house is always spotless. I’m USUALLY very well put together. Considering what life has thrown at me, I’m often told “I don’t know anyone stronger than you.” or “You are the strongest person I know!”- WRONG. It’s a daily struggle. I want to live and to be successful, so I fight it EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Imagine being a busy-body, do-all, fix-all whose got all of the world in her hands to be successful, yet is so mentally fatigued from depression that she can’t even get out of bed on some days. In my down days, depression makes me despise the sun peeping in through my bedroom window in the morning. It’s like a wake-up call to get up and have to live through another shitty day. Depression is knowing that your antidepressant drug is your only hope of half ass making you feel better, yet you don’t even have the motivation to pick up the bottle to take it. What happens when you get into the routine of that? You miss a couple day’s worth of your medicine and you quickly find yourself spiraling downhill- physically sickened. Often times when that happens, a person with mental illness doesn’t even realize why they’re falling off of the cliff until they get a little dose of reality and realize what they’ve let happen. After that downward spiral, the path to feeling “better” takes a few days. You see, antidepressants are tricky. It takes a few missed doses to feel a difference and when you’re crawling out of your depression, it takes a few doses before it stabilizes you again. It’s not like a pain pill that’ll warn you that you’re in need of your medicine. What’s the worst part about depression? You can’t even explain why you’re not motivated. You can’t explain the pure sadness that crowds your brain. There’s nothing to explain- it’s called depression and it sucks.
Depression is very, VERY frustrating for someone who WANTS to feel better. I absolutely hate lying around the house with absolutely no motivation to even brush my teeth. Thank God I’m a very clean person- no worries- my teeth get brushed daily and even if it’s only to change into new pajamas, I shower daily. Depression can be so bad for some that the motivation for daily hygiene is a struggle. The desire to be around another human- even my kids- is a struggle when I’m depressed. One of my most absolute favorite things to do is to go shopping. I’m LOVE buying clothes, shoes, getting pedicures, etc. Depression doesn’t care. Depression sucks the life out of me so much sometimes that even the things that I enjoy the most are dreaded. Being depressed is like being in a twilight zone. You think to yourself all day about your mental illness and how much you hate it. I will literally zone out and obsessively think about how much I want to feel better. I brainstorm about what it would be like to have a magic pill that would cure my depression. I make plans in my head that I’d love to do once I feel better and then dread making those plans simply because I don’t know how long my spell will last. Talking on the phone with my best friends is another one of my favorite pastimes. Depression causes me to dread the sound of my phone ringing. My phone shows that I have a million unopened text messages and a thousand missed calls and voicemails- why? Because I have no motivation to put any thought into anything else besides doing what I need to feel better, and that is usually sleep.
I’ve had to surrender to my mental health and reach out for help. I have got to stay on top of my medication and in touch with my psychiatrist. I’ve had to become vulnerable. I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that I suffer with mental illness and rise above it. Not only because I hate being so damn miserable, but because I have children that I brought into this world. How unfair to them to live a life with a mentally ill mother who doesn’t want help? I have an amazing husband that loves me unconditionally. I have a circle of friends who think the world of me. My kids know that I suffer with mental illness. Is the right answer to their questions about my depression “well, kids, get used to this life- lucky for you, it’s genetic! Mom sucks and you will, too!” Hell no! My answer to their questions about my mental health is “I will fight tooth and nail for you! I will constantly make sure you’re happy! I will openly and honestly speak with you about mental illness and how we will get through it.” I truly believe the cycle can be broken. Just because it’s genetic doesn’t mean that you are cursed with a life of misery. See, I wasn’t taught how to navigate through mental illness as a child. Sadly, mental health issues are frowned upon. They’re not something that you want to be the topic of your evening dinner. But, why not? If you have any other debilitating ailment, you seek treatment. But why not take care of your mental health- your brain- and how it controls everything about your life? I want everyone to know that mental illness doesn’t have to define you. You don’t have to suffer forever and you damn sure shouldn’t have to do it alone. I’m breaking that cycle. I’m learning what I need and what I absolutely do not need to live successfully with mental illness. I can’t wait to share so much more with you on my life, how I cope, my relationships, and my points of view. Some of my writings will be raw as hell- others, funny as hell. (Ask my best friend and my husband who’s the funniest person they know.) 🙂 Get ready!