Being depressed is easy.
I mean, it’s not easy, of course. It’s horrible. And soul-sucking. And never-ending. It destroys lives, both directly and indirectly. No, it’s fucking awful and not the least bit easy.
But what is easy, at least for me, is falling down the hole of sadness. Falling into what Anne of Green Gables referred to as the Depths of Despair. The fall comes seemingly out of nowhere, and the ground is comfy and sad. Wrapped in my depression, I can sleep for days at a time, eat very little and stare into space. Sure, in the past I would lose jobs/boyfriends/grade points while it was happening, but only Happy Ezmy cares about that crap. Depressed Ezmy cares not for such trivial things – she cares only about being sad, cozying up to the sad, embracing the sad.
Ever since my postpartum depression lifted, I have become much better at staying Not Sad, or at least Not Visibly Sad. I am, for example, better at recognizing the signals of sad. I can see a wave of depression coming, and I know how to tackle it [head on and with gusto]. And I’ve been doing pretty well, on the whole. But it’s HARD. It is an almost constant struggle, forcing oneself to run off the pain, to eat properly, to stop bringing bottles of wine to bed, to make time for oneself, to even shower for crying out loud. Seriously, every Sad day, I struggle to just brush my teeth. I do it, because I have kids, and a husband, and a continuous mantra in my head of It Could Be Worse/Life Is Too Short/You Can Do This. But I’ve come close to not doing it. I can’t brush my teeth today, I’ve thought, as I lay in bed. I just…I can’t.
What is particularly hard is knowing that there is no end. Coping strategies are helpful, certainly, as is plenty of support from friends and family. But this struggle will always be here. I will be re-motivating myself forever. I will be a person with mental health issues forever. And like I say, I’m better at it. Better at seeing it, faster at recovering from it, more comfortable owning the issue and making it part of me. Still, this is small comfort on days like today when I wake up with that familiar weight of sad on my stomach and have to force myself to get up and live. Annoyingly, I get no immediate satisfaction from having performed well today. I’ll be satisfied on the other side, certainly, but for now I’m just tired and annoyed at myself because I’d be less tired if I hadn’t insisted on all out living this day. Baking, exercise, playing games with the kids, reading, and running in the brisk evening air. All things that bring me joy when I’m in the right frame of mind, all things that I slog through when I’m not.
Anyway. Everything is perfectly fine, of course. Kids are great, albeit riddled with viruses, husband is awesomesauce, friends both near and far are the bestest. Life is amazing and beautiful. I can do this. Just having a moment of blerg.