With Good Reason

We sit on the couch, and I'm wearing pajamas that I may have been wearing for more than a day.  

"Are you really depressed?"

Tears well up in my eyes even at the words.


"Do you think it would help to talk to Xola?"

"I just don't think it would help.  There's nothing really to talk about..."

She understands.  We sit for a moment before our conversation continues.  

The shortness and darkness of winter is hard this year, harder than I ever remember it being.  I have been getting tired in the evenings.  I dislike being cold, and it's so cold.  Around 5:30 or 6:00 I find myself freezing, and a bit overwhelmed with life in general.  A couple of times this week I've fallen asleep as my kids played their videos and video games.  I wake feeling exhausted and a little bit useless.

I don't have a lot of experience with being depressed with good reason.  I have struggled with anxiety and depression for years, and take medication, and will continue to take it likely until I am dead and gone.  I am happy to have it.  When I go off my medication, anxiety creeps on me like frost over dewey grass, and I cry for no reason.  This is different.

This depression is not a lack of seeing that a better time will come.  I know it will.  I know that I won't feel like this forever.  This year has been spectacularly awful, and I have spent so much time just trying to process everything that has happened.  I'm to the point now where I just feel kind of numb, and I'm just letting it happen.  I don't think there is any other way than to just feel it, be okay with it, work towards things that will make me happy, and let it be.  I don't like to wallow, but I feel right now that I just have to let things be what they are.  

I cry a lot.  Things that are sad make me cry.  When people are nice to me, it makes me cry.  Writing makes me cry.  Sometimes the smallest thing triggers it and it's like all of the hurt, confusion, pain, anger, and sadness over the things I've lost this year come welling to the surface and their only way out is through my eyes.

Every feeling seems to feed into all the others.  The cloud of depression tanks my self esteem, the body confidence I've built.  Losing my job the way I did and so many fruitless interviews makes me feel like maybe I'm wrong and I'm not a great asset, not smart enough, not good enough.  My fuse is short, and I feel like I'm not parenting the way I should be.

I get tired of people asking how I am.  I get tired of choosing to either say I'm fine/ok/good, which seems to be the expected answer, and being honest.  The thing is that when people ask how you are, how your day's going, how you've been, they don't always want an honest answer.  The expectation is a short social exchange, not a baring of one's soul.

Some people just don't understand.  I tell them I am depressed and the next day they ask how I'm feeling, or if I'm feeling better.  No, that isn't how it works.  It's not just sadness.

There often seems to be some expectation of improvement.  Like, people ask how things are going in a way that makes it clear they feel bad for me, but it's my job to make them feel better about it.  You can ask me what's new in the most positive way you want.  It doesn't change the fact that I'm struggling, and that things haven't gotten better, and that I don't have any good news to report.  In fact, you've just made it just that much worse by putting the burden on me of assuring you that something is different.  When I tell you it hasn't, I feel like I am a disappointment.  What I really need is just love and support.  I don't need assurances that things will get better or I'll make it through.  I know that.  Unfortunately, knowing doesn't often make it easier.

Many days, I don't feel like doing anything at all.  I apply for jobs and do my chores, and then I watch TV and just sit in the quiet because soon I'll have to pick up my kids from school and parenting is a challenge right now.  I sit at home a lot, because I don't have the money to do much else.  I don't see my friends as often as I'd like.  Scott is gone, 3 hours away, and sometimes when I'm in the midst of two or three weeks without him, I can't believe how much I miss him.  I always kind of thought it was silly when I had friends who talked about not being able to be away from their significant other for more than a couple of days, but now... I get it.  It's hard, and it's just getting harder for both of us every time he has to go.

The life I had planned and was working towards 9 months ago is gone.  For the second time in 3 years, I face the in-between, this place where I can clearly see my past but cannot make out the future.  It's like the things I was working for have been swept from beneath me, and I don't know how to get them back.  The numbness of depression brings a lack of passion, and when my Mom asks me if I want to go back to school or if I could do anything, what would it be, I have no answer.

I wonder how many times I will have to start over.  How many times I will have to begin again.  I don't have answers.  I try to be gentle with myself, and look forward, and believe that next year has to be better.