For the last several months, I’ve taken leave of everything but the daily “must do’s”. I have spent the last several months in a world where just getting up is a struggle. I’ve heard the word “depression” thrown around in phrases like, “Oh, he’s just a little depressed,” or “I’m so depressed, my team lost the playoffs!” But I have learned to associate other terms with depression. Terms like sad and blue don’t even come close to describing the mind wrenching agony that one can put themselves through.

I’ve always considered people who were depressed to just be sad or a little tired, I learned differently. There were so many days that I hated the morning and knowing that I had to face another day. It hurt and my mind didn’t want to cooperate. Imagine having a mind full of words as many writers do, with images and stories floating around just beckoning to be wrote down and not being able to think of even one. Some days, I woke feeling even more tired than when I’d gone to bed and the thought of having to be functional made me even more exhausted. There were days I simply could not do it, instead I chose to hide away; shunning the very people I knew wanted nothing more than to help me. I didn’t want their help, their pity, or even their eyes on me; my own eyes a permanent shade of red from all the tears that I shed.

I would have good days, sometimes several in a row. Those were the days that I could see a faint glimmer of my old self and I would begin to think, “Hey, I have this thing beat!” Then a bad day would come, little would be accomplished, so another bad would follow that until I would find myself drowning in fatigue, guilt, and hate. Things that I love, such as decorating for Christmas or even just sitting back and enjoying the lights, no longer brought me joy. They became chores, things that I did just to make it through a couple more minutes. This is no way to live.

I’m still fighting, and trust me when I say fighting, it is nothing less than a knock out, drag out brawl; but I’m doing it. I’ve discovered the meaning of friends, especially those who stood by me (and not in the literal sense) when I struggled the most. They listened to me complain and still cherished me enough to just listen. I learned the value of setting reasonable goals; accomplishing them has given me a little more strength for the next day and the next couple of goals. I’m taking pride in accomplishing what others find trivial, because a couple of months ago, I didn’t have the energy to do simple things like clean out the microwave or do the dishes before bed. Those things might be small and simple for other people, but they haven’t had to battle all day to remember easy things that should come readily to their mind.

To those of you who have suffered from depression for any length of time, my empathy goes out to you and I now know how impossible it is to “try harder” when you’ve given your all just to make it through the day without falling apart in front of the world. Just staying glued is sometimes the hardest chore of all. To those of you who have never suffered from this brain numbing, heart hardening, body draining disease, count yourself very blessed indeed. This is something that can destroy your life as we so often see. My advice is to set small goals for yourself everyday, making new ones at the end of every night. Seeing those simple things accomplished can do more for your mental state than any bottle of booze. My second bit of advice is surround yourself with people who understand that there are going to be some days where rallying yourself to just go through the motions is going to be the most that you accomplish, but when you do need them, they’re right by your side. There is no perfect mix for dealing with this life altering disease, so in the end, you have to find what works for you.

Thank you to everyone who stood beside me, even when I couldn’t stand. You provided me with some form of normalcy when I needed a lift up and out of my mind, which as I’ve said before, I just needed a vacation from. I’m getting better, realizing that I just have to take it day by day and see the value in what I do when others do not. So once more, thanking for never leaving me even when you thought that I had left you.

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