When I look back over the years of my young adulthood I can see clearly that depression and I have co existed for quite some time.
There are periods where, in retrospect, it is quite obvious that I was depressed. It didn’t occur to me at the time that my fantasies of walking out the door away from my life and never returning were symptoms of my lack of coping strategies. It didn’t seem so odd to me back then to think how nice it wold be to fall asleep and never wake again. Fortunately the time I found myself counting tablets I had both the good friends to support me and the good sense to call them.
There were times I battled on, sleeping in the day time while hubby was at work and the kids played and watched tv, then laying awake at night wondering what my problem was and why I couldn’t just snap out of it.
Years have passed, and depression is often close. I was for a quite some time using medication to help manage it.
These days I can recognise the signs in myself and I have a plan and strategies I use to make sure I do not allow myself to fall back into the foggy hole that sometimes calls.
It might sound strange, but there are days when the effort to take care of myself is great and the temptation to slide away for a while is strong.
It’s not that I like the fog, it just sometimes seems easier to go there than to fight it. I am careful to not get to close to the edge. I am careful not to flirt with it too much.
When I notice the signs I am moving closer, I limit my social exposure, I don’t push myself to maintain a perfect house, I make sure to write down the things that are bothering me so my mind can shelve them instead of lugging them around all the time taking up all my emotional energy, I talk to my psychologist, I hang out with my chickens.
My Hubby knows that if he asks “are you OK” and I say “yes” when I obviously am not, that I am anxious but unable to give space to that lest it lead to a negative thought spiral I will get lost in. He tells me I can admit I am anxious and he won’t push me to talk, and I believe him, but sometimes the thought of saying the words makes me feel like I will choke.
My doctor tells me that when you live with a lot of stress reactive depression is a normal and understandable response, but that I have so much insight and I cope so well. She says it would be more unexpected if I didn’t feel overwhelmed sometimes. And that might all be true, but the years have taught me that I cannot just snap out of it, so I must not get into it…. I must care for myself first.
And so, here I am.
Floating on the edge of depression.
When I vanish online for a while it is usually because I must in order to avoid being in that place of having done too much.
When I take too long to respond to a message or text, or when I fail to answer the phone, it is usually because I do not have the emotional energy to process a response.
When I turn down an invitation it is usually not because I don’t like to be around you, but because I simply can’t manage to do anything other than care for my immediate needs and those of my family.
When I seem aloof and a bit too much like I have it all together, it is often because if I give in to a negative thought process I know I will stay there for too long and not be able to pull myself out.
It is not an uncomfortable place here, floating on the edge.
It is familiar and it is my normal.
Depression is not something that is inherently bad.
The realisation that I am here neither upsets or surprises me.
It just is.
Image is the view looking over a valley from a lookout.
The valley is completely obscured by thick cloud.
There are cliffs visible in the distance and
a tree overhanging in the top right corner.