People like to wrap depression up in a neat, tidy little box. Inside the box are sadness, tears, and perhaps some suicidal thoughts. But there’s nothing neat or tidy about depression. It comes in many shapes, forms, and sizes. It can be something you just “have” or something that is brought on by an event or series of events. There are many different faces of depression. This is mine.
I can feel the darkness moving in swiftly. It comes from no where and without warning. I dig my heels in and prepare. I know the darkness. I’ve lived in it before and survived. Barely. I’m able to fight it off on occasion. More often than not, however, that dark cloud centers itself solidly over my head and follows me wherever I go. When I think of clouds, I think of something light and fluffy. This cloud is oddly heavy. It’s a storm cloud as the worst storm you can imagine moves in. I can barely breathe as the weight of the darkness seems to be squarely on my chest.
I’ve tried to fight it. I’m an intelligent person, after all. I should be able to determine what my mood is. I should be able to take deep breaths and just move on from the daily irritations. Everyone gets upset or has a bad day, right? This is so, so much more. If you’ve never lived it, you can’t possibly grasp the hold the darkness has on you.
I find myself frustrated by people who want to label it. Depression, they suggest. I’m not depressed! Depressed people are sad and sit around crying. I’m not sad and I’m certainly not crying. What I am is angry. I’m angered by people, sights, and sounds. Everything is amplified and completely unbearable. I’m also not suicidal. Suicide is one of the most selfish acts by a human. (Before you judge my opinion on that, please know I earned that opinion the hard way.)
The sound of someone, anyone, talking makes my heart race and it takes everything in me to not just scream at the top of my lungs so they’ll go away. I want to be left alone with my anger. I’m so incredibly crabby I can’t even stand myself. The anger is exhausting and I only want sleep. I want to be away from the people, sights, and sounds that are a normal part of life, but which are, in those moments, unbearable sources of anger. I want to be away from myself because I can’t stand the anger; the crabbiness.
The hardest part of living in the darkness is being fully aware I’m stuck in this madness and not being able to do anything about it. It’s as if I’m having an out of body experience. I’m watching myself react completely irrational as if it were a movie. I’m screaming at myself on the “screen” how ridiculous I’m being. But there’s nothing I can do about it. My rational self watches helplessly as my irrational self goes through the motions waiting for the cloud to go away.
And it does. The cloud vaporizes as quickly as it arrived – swiftly and without warning. I can feel it disappear and I suddenly feel lighter. I approach people cautiously, just to be certain it is indeed gone. I breathe a sigh of relief. A deep breath; one I was unable to take even a moment ago. I proceed through my days as happily as I did before the cloud arrived. Because I am a happy person. I have a great life. I don’t allow myself to think about the cloud or the person I become while it’s hovering over me. I focus on the positive things because I am blessed to have so many.
Those are the things that get me through the storm.