My husband is often my hero. He’s seemingly fearless, funny, and most of all. he is a dedicated dad and husband. He works extremely hard at his full-time job, pushes himself physically with his weight-loss goals, pushes himself mentally as a full-time student, and spiritually considers himself a work-in-progress as he consistently finds way to participate in his Church.
I consider myself very fortunate to have him as my partner and even more fortunate to be able to witness his shortcomings. He is fairly public about his battle against depression. Because of that, I’m finally ready to go public about mine…
Social media is a great tool- I enjoy making status updates that are clever, Instagraming pictures of my kids that are funny, and Tweeting about politics and religion. I try to keep it real by updating about the giant mess my kids (usually Jonah) made or posting a picture with my messy dining room table in the background, but by not being upfront about my depression I feel like I’m hiding behind a permanent Instagram filter- smoothing out the roughness, lighting the dark corners.
In high school I had my first real defining moment of realizing I was depressed. I vividly remember looking in the medicine cabinet to see if anything in there would make me feel better. Fortunately, there was nothing more than some Alka-Seltzer and Ibuprofen.
Depression is a disease, an illness that never fully goes away. The way it manifests itself is different for everyone. For me, I feel everything more intensely but simultaneously feel a numbing dullness. It’s a struggle between wanting to surround yourself with others, so you can put on your happy face and feel closer to normal and wanting to curl up, staying inside for days seeing no one.
Guilt is also a nice little side effect of depression. When things are going perfectly, you feel guilty that others are cold, hungry and without shelter. Watching the news is next to impossible for me. You feel guilty for feeling depressed, because it could always be worse. “What more do you want? You have everything you need!”
The crazy thing about depression is that it can come and go… Often staying gone for months or even years at a time. Nothing triggers it. Nothing makes it fully disappear.
I have suffered from post-partum depression, anxiety combined with depression, and years with no depression at all. I have taken prescription medication, I have been to therapy, I have read books about depression, scoured the Internet for resources and blogs, and even tried to will myself to not be depressed.
There were times I wanted to end it all, times I couldn’t get out of bed to go to work, times I didn’t eat for days on end… It’s ugly and it feels weak.
Depression isn’t weakness. As time has gone on, I’ve found things that work for me, I’ve found patience that I needed to have with myself, and I’ve found an appreciation for who depression makes me.
Depression intensifies all of my emotions- especially the great ones. Depression makes me a great listener. Depression gives me compassion. Depression gives me empathy. Depression makes me try harder to make you laugh. Depression forces me to check on the people I love more often. Depression makes it easier to appreciate light after the darkness lifts.
A lot of things about depression are ugly, but those things make it beautiful.