I don’t have a pinpointed moment when my depression started. I don’t have it bookmarked on an old journal or calendar and it says “Oooo, guess what..I’ve decided to become a depressed person today.” If I had to put a time frame, I’d say around junior high school/middle school. I know I stopped eating and became very thin. I know I began journalling a lot then. Those were the years leading up to my father’s stopping drinking when I was 16. I’ve only become more conscious of my depression since I became a parent and worried that I’d passed it on to my children. I’ve been on medication since I was in my third trimester with my daughter. I was “officially” diagnosed with post partum depression when I had my son two years earlier.
What people don’t understand is no one chooses to be depressed. No one goes about looking for ways to become depressed. No one chooses to wake up and just suffer from depression. Yes, we can find things depressing – like the current state of Presidential affairs in this country or the fact that Disney owns the right to Star Wars now – but that IS a choice. It’s momentary and dealable and can be easily gotten over. With actual depression and for those of us who suffer from it, we feel like we have made life for those around us miserable. Their only role in our depression is that they wanted to help us and they wanted to see us happy again. They want us to be able for us to see how they see us, as remarkable people. It is in these moments where the dreaded crossroads show up. The crossroads in a depression where one way leads you to believe that everyone else would be better off and happier without you in the picture. You want to just stop the people you love from having to deal with the drama you bring into their lives.
I’ve been at that crossroad twice in the past year. This is the first time I’m owning up to being there twice. Most …. well a trusted few…..know I’ve been there once. But it was twice. I thought I was replaceable. I thought I was forgettable. I thought I’d be a shoulder shrug of “Oh well, she’s gone…..where do you want to go for dinner?” kind of thought. What I didn’t realize is that those were my thoughts.The people show love me would end up with questions that can’t be answered. They would be punishing themselves for not being able to help me and stop me. They would have wondered forever if they had the right words and could have talked me down.
I’m crying as I write these words because I know how selfish I am even considering ending my life. I am struggling today. I don’t know if it the meds….my hormones…the time of the year…I don’t’ know. I’m worried about opening up to a new doctor about all of this. Depression is this inner battle I’ve had to fight harder lately. It has branched out to more aspects of my life and some days like today it is very had to control. I feel very isolated when I struggle like today. I want to explain my moods but can’t find the words. I want to tell you that I am trying like hell to just smile and not be sullen. But days like today, I feel the need to keep moving. I’m afraid to stop. If I stop too long, I may not move again.
I’ve been asked about the tattoo on my finger. The semi-colon. I got it to remind me after the first time I felt like I was heading down the wrong road in the crossroad that no matter what, no matter how worthless I feel, I need to keep going and choosing to pause rather than taking a full stop is better. I have chosen to battle depression every day because it will be with me every day, but I will stay here and fight. I will keep on going. I will not try to escape or run away. I WANT to stand and fight. I didn’t get the tattoo because I’m PROUD of what I thought, I got it to say that if you want to really know why it’s there, I will tell you.
I know that I will have moments, like today, where I feel like I’m slipping back, but even though it may not seem it, I can tell you with all the honesty in my heart, I am in a better place than I have been in a long time. Having depression sucks. I know that I’m not alone. It’s okay to ask for help and I shouldn’t be embarrassed or ashamed. I know now that I am a fighter and my life can depend on it.