Hi. My name is Meg. 47 year old wife and mother. I am a person living with depression from as far back as I can remember. It is a mild, yet chronic, coming and going dependent on sunlight and seasonal changes, and triggered by just about anything. Been on the same med for quite a while now and thinking it may be time to seek therapy again. I sleep way more than the average person needs to because it feels peaceful and safe. The dark days, unfortunately, are greater than the days that I feel pure joy and contentment.
I have never felt that I did not want to live, but there are some periods of time that it is hard to function, with even the simplest of daily tasks being excruciating to participate in and accomplish. Then comes the guilt. It is just this constant grind of angst, and the process of pushing it away and keeping it at bay. And then on the good days I try to truly acknowledge it and live in the moment.
The reason I felt this urge today to share my story is that the stigma we all talk about and fight against happened to me in a very real and intimate way just yesterday, by my very own family, the people who love me most. My husband and 14 year old daughter. I am very open about my depression and my life is very much like an open book to people who care to listen. It is a way to educate, plus it is healing and therapeutic for me personally to allow myself to be vulnerable and open about my struggles. So we talk openly about my depression as a family, but there is no real acknowledgement there, no real action of their part to know fully what it is like. They are afraid of it, as if it is contagious and they might catch it, and it is just too uncomfortable for them to talk about. They could ask me anything and I would share. I’ve talked quite a bit, in fact, with my 3 teenage children, so that they know what they could be up against in case the genetics of my family line of mental illness disrupt their lives. So last night they openly mocked me for having “multiple personalities like Sybil”, joked and laughed in front of me about it, and expected that I, too, would not be offended and should join in on the fun. My husband make a crack about me not being normal, and I finally had to say something along the lines of “wow, you certainly wouldn’t make fun of a person living with cancer, but it’s ok to when it is a condition affecting someone’s brain and moods.”
It hurt deeply, but I didn’t let on. I just sucked it in and pushed it away and got over it. But it was very real for me in that moment and just crushed me that they could be so cruel. So I’ll end with a poem I scribbled today, which I sometimes do, out of no where, when I can’t sleep:
She saw the world all around her, but wasn’t in it.
The edge of the cocoon, that thickness of numbness,
existed between her and what normal life looked like.
Beyond her reach.
Where happy people did life.
What was it to feel that?
Only fleeting moments to know.
Yet life happened, or whatever this is called.
Not a wasted life, to be sure.
Blessings and gratitude fill up many a day.
But also guilt.
For the ineptness.
Trapped, she is banging on the window.
Don’t you see her?
Can’t you hear her?
And she is so tired.
Tired of her.
She sits motionless.
Feeling foolish, but not lonely.
A slug, yet not sad.
Just lifeless. Hollow.
With fake smiles so the kids won’t see and have their lives be less than what they deserve.
Hold it together, please.
Oh joy, to be you.
Thank you for allowing this space to write. It can be very healing!