The Bloggess* says "Depression Lies." I can tell you pretty emphatically that this is true. Depression tells you that you're not good enough. You're not pretty enough. You're not fierce enough.
It tells you that you will never succeed. You'll never get that book written or get your house clean.
It tells you that you'll feel better if you just sit there. You'll feel better if you stay in. It'll be okay if you just don't move or breathe or think or be anything.
The worst thing about it is that Depression talks in your own voice. It sounds like you. And it feels like you and you think it's you. You start to believe the lies because they seem like they are coming from you.
I've wanted to write about my depression on here for a few months, but I haven't. Because this voice in my head told me that no one wants to hear about it. The voice told me that it's not like I'm that bad off. I've never wanted to kill myself. I've never been less than functional. I've never struggled to live. I've never self-harmed or been in any danger. Blogging about depression, Depression said, is for people who are really hurting. Not me. I'm fine.
That's the lie that Depression tells me most often. I'm fine. It tells me that it's okay to feel this way, because this is just the way I feel. It's just who I am. It tells me that everyone lives inside their heads like this and there is nothing wrong with it.
Depression, so sayeth The Bloggess, lies.
I've been fighting and aware of my depression for about 18 months. After yet another successful thyroid test, I finally broke down. I told my doctor that I still felt bad, I still felt like crap and I didn't understand why the test said I was better while I felt so much worse.
She gently suggested that maybe I was fighting depression. It made sense. The symptoms matched. And clearly, things were not good. I was trying desperately to hold onto a marriage I already knew was dead. I was taking on more and more at home and at work. And I was feeling more and more like a failure. My days were not easy and my nights were worse.
The thing is, I think my doctor-provided-wake-up call was no where near the beginning. What drove me to the doctor for my thyroid issues (which are really real, but intermittent) was actually symptomatically depression. And before that, I suffered what I optimistically called "baby blues," right after Maren's birth. And maybe that's all it was. Maybe.
But when I think about what this feels like, it's pretty obvious I've felt it before. This is how I felt when I left college. It's how I felt when I came back to a job I suddenly hated after giving birth to Brynna. It's how I felt for about a year after I got married. Ironically, it's not how I felt after Ethan died. Which is probably why I've never been willing to call it depression. Shouldn't depression feel worse than this? Shouldn't it be harder?
And that question... Shouldn't it be harder? That is probably the question that has kept me in it. Because if it isn't harder, then it isn't depression. And if it's not depression, then I can't do anything about it. I'm stuck feeling like this. It's just me and I can't be helped.
Last weekend, at the NonCon, I didn't speak to as many people as I wanted because I had a very difficult time with my anxiety. Anxiety that isn't entirely new, but is so much worse than it used to be. Last weekend was another wake-up call. I'm not all better. I'm not peachy keen. It's not just me. I can be helped.
Depression still lies. And I am really, really tired of being lied to.
*If you don't read The Bloggess, you probably should. But only if you are slightly unhinged. I don't think the completely hinged would get it. Also, only if you don't mind profanity, because she makes me want to be a better cusser.