I've struggled with depression since I was a little girl. I was 5 years old and dreaming of the walls closing in on me, waking just before I was flattened into an Azia-pancake, gasping for air, crying and wishing I had never been born. Obviously, being only 5 years old, I had no idea that what I was feeling was a depression. I was in kindergarten! Depression has been with me for at least 23 years, sometimes that's a hard pill to swallow.
I remember fighting with God at that early age, I was sad so sad. I thought that God couldn't possibly be real & if he was: I was clearly not one of his people because he didn't care about me at all. I would cry out to him, Why did you put me on this planet? Why can't you just take me back? I don't want to be here. I wish I wasn't alive. He never answered me, or so I thought. I'm sure it was his gentle hand that lead me through each day, Him that calmed my heart enough so that I was able to fall back asleep.
That's some deep stuff for a little kid to battle, no wonder I was such a little weirdo. Seriously, I was such a weirdo. Growing up, it was the books that saved me. I read from dawn until dusk. Getting lost in the stories of other peoples lives. I even kept at notebook, writing before I could really write.
I was reading at a college level in second grade and was pulled out of my classes for special lessons; which lead to lots & lots of bullying. Which made my depression worse. Already feeling strange, and sad, and then being teased for the one thing that truly brought me joy did not do much for my self confidence.
|It's terrible: but I've never identified with a fictional character, like I do with April Wheeler from Revolutionary Road.|
I've previously written about my tendency to make depression an idol & I've really gone out of my way to keep myself from being held hostage by this lingering cloud that seems to darken even the sunniest of days sometimes. That's exactly what I'm saying when I say depression never really leaves you: it's not something that can be cured, it can only be managed. And, sometimes, like all things, it wants to crawl out of it's cage and breathe. But, you must learn to tame the beast or it will destroy you.
It's cyclic, depression-you feel good, feel great, feel really great, feel alright, feel off, feel sad, feel really freaking sad, feel okay, feel good, feel better than good, feel great, feel really great... and then back to the pits. Some stages last longer than others. You could go from feeling low to feeling great in one day, and stay great for days, weeks, months or vice versa. It's quite unpredictable. And, usually once you think you've figured out your "cycle", it goes and changes it up on you.
|If it was the 1800's- we'd all be crazy. Source|
Me? Well I take a small dose of Zoloft (because, let's be real: what kind of 5 year old has depression? Probably one whose brain doesn't quite work right), I stay in The Word & seek out communion with other believers, I openly discuss my struggles with my closest friends and family (Sarah (Atheist, I might add) & Garrett are my safest of places, among a few others), and I've decided it's time for me to give therapy one more shot because I feel I have a lot of work that needs to be done in a certain area that I can't seem to move past. I think abuse is like depression, it never really leaves you: you just have to learn to exist with it. I need therapy to help show me the tools needed to do this successfully.
There is an awesome TEDtalk from Andrew Solomon called "Depression: The Secret We Share" - Sarah sent this to me back in January and it really brought a unique perspective to both managing depression and understanding that it's okay to stay on medication for life.
- one of my favorite lines from the talk is "
But, that is exactly it: don't shut it out: but don't make it an idol-- just acknowledge, do what you can to manage and be strengthened through it. I know that I would not be the person I am today without realizing my need for God. I know that isn't the case for everyone, as I have many Atheist friends. But, I couldn't imagine dealing with this hole in my heart, without having God to ask for peace and strength. There is this song that is often my anthem on my hard days: I will rage and cry and feel joy while I listen to it:
There are days that nothing works. Where the "Yellow Wallpaper" seems like a reality. But, it's just a phase. It will pass. Sometimes I have to fake it, smile, and go through the motions. Because, soon enough the cycle will begin and I will be fine.
I've asked this before: but, Dear Readers: do any of you struggle with depression? Or know someone who does? What do you do to manage the rain clouds?