Because depression needs to have a face.

So, it’s been a good minute since I’ve written anything of value (if I ever write anything of value) and I guess the only reason I’ve got is that there is only so much patience a person has for the sad/heavy stuff before they start to get annoyed and I was afraid to bore you. I wasn’t sure how to let everyone in without sounding like a complete victim. So I stayed away for awhile. Believe me I really wanted to spill it while it was all happening.

I was on a run yesterday, the first in a really long time. I had attempted a few runs last summer but most ended in a sobby blubbery mess, so I quit doing it. But yesterday I felt a motivation I haven’t felt in a while, one that felt like this would be different.

I have a favorite route that I decided to take. The first mile and a half is a hard incline and at the top is a gorgeous view of the mountains. Stables and horses, and an orchard set the atmosphere; it’s peaceful and beautiful, especially at sunset. The third mile is all downhill. I can’t really explain the liberation and sense of accomplishment that comes from a full throttle run toward sunset after a hard battle but it’s a great feeling of appreciation of being alive and in that moment.

The music blares in my ears and I set off, half expecting the same result I’ve had but I eager to just get out there. It feels good, familiar. And I hear this and it takes me back. I hit the pavement, ignoring the bite that is in the air, it’s got my attention and I listen. I hear it. It is me. The story, the bridge.

Standing where I am now, standing up at all

For whatever reasons, and I’m sure my therapist has a list, my miscarriage last year completely leveled me. It destroyed me head to toe, inside out. Can you visualize an imploding building? That was me. I was emotionally bankrupt, too hurt to see past the hurt and mentally exhausted. If not for a few people that cared enough to see the hurt that was behind the shell and supported how much help I needed… well, honestly I’m not sure where we’d all be today. I’m lucky that we all made out ok.

I was used to feeling like I was never gonna see myself at the finish line

We.

Because it affected everyone in this house. Not just me. I like to think of it like a drop of ink in water, it starts small and in one spot, but pretty soon the entire glass of water will be black.

The word depression evokes different feelings from different people. Sometimes it’s used as a descriptive term; an emotion, like being sad. It’s been thrown around so much that the weight of what it is, in some ways, has been lost. That’s fine. But when I say depression here, what I mean is the clinical term. I’m talking the down and dirty depression, the diagnosis. The kind that, for some people, ends in a very sad and tragic way.

Hanging on to parts of me, hanging on at all

The only (and I do mean the only) reason this story does not end in that tragic way is because I couldn’t bear the thought of my boy feeling or thinking that I didn’t love him enough to stick around. That he wasn’t worth it. He most definitely is and I’d be damned before I let him feel like that, but I can’t say I didn’t also feel resentment for being stuck which only fueled the guilt fire and made me feel more out of control because I couldn’t find my own footing. It spiraled and spiraled and I’ve never felt more lost and alone than how I did then. My own self-love vanished, and I didn’t know how to cry out in any other way than in the ways that I did. It was not nice and polite. It was raw and it was real. And I needed help.

I was used to seeing no future in my sight line

I hated myself for feeling the way that I did. The little love I had left I gave to my boy and friends. Whatever was left (which admittedly was not much) I gave to my husband and I had none left for myself. I’m not saying that anything I did was right, this is just how it all played out. I felt like I was at the mercy of this thing that was in my head. I couldn’t do anything without making it worse. So I just gave up. I gave up. I had nothing to offer anyone, not even myself. I stopped living. I was a shell. I felt nothing and I cared about nothing, I was nothing. I was vulnerable and paranoid. And I couldn’t stop my head from spinning.

Sometimes it feels like they wanna remind me
Send all those villains after me

You are in control of what you think and how you feel. If you want to be happy, just decide to be. Unfortunately, that is not the case with depression. The thing that is important to understand about depression (and what I’ve learned from doctors and experts since), is that it exacerbates the parts of one’s brain that is responsible for emotions like anger, sorrow, fear, paranoia and the parts that are responsible for reasoning, logic, decision-making, and positive-thinking fall asleep. Obviously there is plenty that is not understood, and more out there than just this clear cut definition, but for the sake of this post, we won’t dive in too deep.

I could not help myself. I could not help myself.

This thing that invaded my head was a liar. It made me feel worthless, I was unable to logic myself out of any kind of thinking. My future stopped. I felt hopeless. And if you can sit and think about just one day without a bit of hope or a different tomorrow, you quickly find no reason for your existence. What, you begin to ask, is the point of even being around. And I wished I could just disappear. I wished and prayed for someone to take me out of the game.

Rustin and I were not well, we were the opposite of well. We could not get along. Not necessarily as a result of this, but it didn’t help. We were hurt and angry and bitter, and suffering in our own ways. We messed up and messed up some more and made things worse until we were at a place where something had to give. As a last ditch effort to save our family, we saw a therapist. It was the final straw, the thing that would decided if we were going to make it or not.

I’m not their hero
But that doesn’t mean that I wasn’t brave
I never walked the party line
Doesn’t mean that I was never afraid
I’m not your hero
But that doesn’t mean we’re not one and the same

I knew that if I didn’t do something, my family would fall apart. It already was. My husband and I were on the brink of divorce and I couldn’t live with the weight of everything, my family, my pain, our marriage, sitting on my shoulders anymore. I would not let my emotional instability be the reason our family fell apart. And so despite my cloudy thinking, I decided that I wouldn’t give up until I felt I had rung every last bell. So I walked into our therapist’s office and told her that I wasn’t ok, that I needed help. Words I felt I had said a million times to a hundred people, but I gave it one more go. And she referred me to the person that would ultimately save our lives. Mine.

Feeling like I am now lighting up the hall

We worked hard, she and I. I dug deep. I was in it for a tomorrow for my family, with or without me. Even if it did all fall apart I couldn’t allow them to make excuses for me, they wouldn’t be able to say that I didn’t do everything that I knew how to do or seek more answers when I ran out of those. So I drank every bit of water which she lead me to, and it didn’t get easier to swallow. Sometimes. Sometimes I felt like she was the only person who wanted me to be healthy (again, the liar). I was constantly working, running my wheels and most of the time it didn’t make me feel any better. I felt the same. And I couldn’t understand it. She was encouraging and had nice things to say, but there wasn’t anything she could say that would make me believe her. I believed I was a horrible person for feeling the way that I did over a little miscarriage and creating this massive mess in my wake. I took responsibility for everything that had happened to us. I felt the world’s problems on my shoulders. I belittled the heaviness that had happened to us and I ridiculed myself for being “sad”. I was mean to me.

I was used to standing in the shadow of a damaged heart

Aren’t we all? It wasn’t until I learned how to be my own best-friend that things started clicking slowly. I had to learn how to be nice to myself, to forgive myself. That was hard. I was so used to exercising the other part of my brain, and working myself up to being kind to me was like learning to walk all over again. It’s easier now. I still catch myself sometimes when I get too hard on myself. Can’t stop working out the right muscle or it will go weak again.

I never thought I would be out of that horrible period in my life, it seemed like it would last forever. It did last forever. It was dark, it was scary, it was lonely and I don’t want to do that again. I got the right treatment for my depression. I’m one of the lucky ones that got a diagnosis and got the proper treatment on the first go. I’m not saying it was easy. It was the opposite of easy, and it wasn’t a fast turn-around either. Before this I merely mused that I suffered from depression, but a diagnosis made it real. Instead of shame, I felt relieved that I finally had a name for this. I have control again.

Learning all I know now, losing all I did. I never used to feel like I’d be standing so far ahead.

I had to face the reality of losing everything in order to save myself. I didn’t know that I had to save myself in order to save my family. I had to be selfish and work on myself and hope that everything else wouldn’t fall apart while I did. I didn’t know it at the time but that little baby, and my boy, saved my life.

I come up around the bend and see the beautiful sunset and houses below me. People are taking their afternoon strolls with their families as I run by. I am here and this is real. They acknowledge me and offer warm smiles. If they only knew, it wasn’t long ago when I didn’t feel worthy of accepting their smiles.

It was a hard incline but in that simple moment, with just my running shoes, I recovered that last piece of myself that had been missing. A sense of pride for keeping our family together and not settling for a half-life. I did that. With help, yes. Together, all of us, in a lot of ways. But I could finally take responsibility for the parts that were built from my own hands, I helped to create something good. And that feels good.

I realized that the thing that had been going wrong all along, that which made my runs unsuccessful and the reason why I couldn’t pick up my camera anymore, was a collision of a former self and a past self that couldn’t connect just right. I can’t recover that person I used to be. I could never be that girl again. The sense of loss is real to me, future and past; I could lose everything at any given moment, it happens. I’ve been changed too much. And when the two selves collided they crashed, hard. What had been missing was the bridge that connected the two. Forgiveness, acceptance, and love for me.

It comes in different forms. It is the motivation to lead a healthy lifestyle, it is standing up for yourself when you need to, it is speaking up about your needs and desires. It is the decision to make a difference in the world and believing that you can. All of these things and more, are a gentle nudge in your own direction.

Sometimes it feels what I recovered you lost
Sending your peaceful loss to me

Depression is ugly. It’s an invader of families. An invader of life. It undervalues the beautiful aspects of life and in place of one’s best self it leaves the ghost of one’s worst self x 10. It’s an ugly cycle that will continue unless it is interrupted. It must be interrupted or it will never go away on its own. Like diabetes, it must be treated. Not necessarily through medication but through some form of treatment. It’s a disease. And it’s real. Some people can’t just choose to be happy because they don’t have the ability. It’s not an excuse, it’s a disease and it’s real.

Sometimes it feels like the side that I’m on
Plays the toughest hand, holds the longest stand
Sometimes it feels like I’m all that they’ve got
It’s so hard to know I’m not what they want

If this at all sounds like you, I can’t be your hero but let me assure you that there is more for you. The sense of control that you’ve lost is there, you just need a hand. Don’t do it for you if it’s too much. Sometimes doing it for someone else is the little push we need to make the best decisions for ourselves, even if we don’t realize it at the time. And that applies to everyone in some ways, not just those dealing with depression. You can be your own hero.

I’m not their hero
But that doesn’t mean that I wasn’t brave
I never walked the party line
Doesn’t mean that I was never afraid
I’m not your hero
But that doesn’t mean we’re not one and the same
I do my best to walk the finest line
Till I’ve had all that I can take

I am not any different than anyone else on this planet. Had I not revealed this part of myself you wouldn’t know it had taken place. I don’t have a constant rain cloud over my head like the commercials would have you believe. I am normal. I try to be a decent human, just like everyone else (well except the serial killers). And I screw it up, just like everyone else. Just like normal people do. I put my kids first, just like you moms out there. I compete with myself, just like you athletes. And I hurt sometimes, just like you humans.

On this day, the anniversary of our first miscarriage, we will not mourn the little lives lost or remember our battle last year with regret. We choose to be thankful for the chance that we’ve been given to recover ourselves and do things right. There is plenty to celebrate and today is no different than any other day. We are together and I can’t find a better reason to kick up our heals and rejoice in that. I’m not saying we’ll make it through the day without feeling a sense of loss, but if it happens we’ll do it together.

Together. And here.

Cheers and happy Saturday, friends.

Forrest. Forrest Gump.

**************************************************************************************************************
Music: I’m Not Your Hero
By: Tegan and Sara

Standing where I am now, standing up at all
I was used to feeling like I was never gonna see myself at the finish line
Hanging on to parts of me, hanging on at all
I was used to seeing no future in my sight line

Sometimes it feels like they wanna remind me
Send all those villains after me

I’m not their hero
But that doesn’t mean that I wasn’t brave
I never walked the party line
Doesn’t mean that I was never afraid
I’m not your hero
But that doesn’t mean we’re not one and the same

Feeling like I am now lighting up the hall
I was used to standing in the shadow of a damaged heart
Learning all I know now, losing all I did
I never used to feel like I’d be standing so far ahead

Sometimes it feels what I recovered you lost
Sending your peaceful loss to me

I’m not their hero
But that doesn’t mean that I wasn’t brave
I never walked the party line
Doesn’t mean that I was never afraid
I’m not your hero
But that doesn’t mean we’re not one and the same

Sometimes it feels like the side that I’m on
Plays the toughest hand, holds the longest stand
Sometimes it feels like I’m all that they’ve got
It’s so hard to know I’m not what they want

Sometimes it feels like the side that I’m on
Plays the toughest hand, holds the longest stand
Sometimes it feels like I’m all that they’ve got
It’s so hard to know I’m not what they want

I’m not their hero
But that doesn’t mean that I wasn’t brave
I never walked the party line
Doesn’t mean that I was never afraid
I’m not your hero
But that doesn’t mean we’re not one and the same
I do my best to walk the finest line
Till I’ve had all that I can take

Comments

  1. Christy says

    Thanks for sharing your heart and healing on your journey. It’s been a long year, huh? Please let me know if you ever need anything! You are a beautiful person and I think the world of you! <3

  2. Joanna says

    You put perfectly into words feelings inhale known a few
    times in my life. Thanknyou for sharing your raw and beautiful
    heart, Janey.

Share Your Thoughts