Living with depression takes unbelievable strength. Many think it’s something that makes all of us out here, dealing with depression, weak. They are mistaken. Not many can handle the feeling of drowning all day, yet get up every day, and live their lives. Yes, living life isn’t just about the happy times, it’s about the hard times, the sad times, and everything in between.
Living with depression takes unbelievable strength
Depression, as I’ve said, is different for everyone. There’s no cookie cutter pattern to it. Therapists know of the signs, and can tick off things that are clearly indicators of depression. However, how it affects each person, and how each individual chooses to handle it? Totally unique. What we do all have in common: strength. Each of us has an unbelievable strength in dealing with what’s happening inside of our heads.
I can only speak for my journey. If I didn’t have this inner strength, my home would crumble. Kids missing school, because I wouldn’t be taking them. Our family missing out on traveling, because traveling can induce the worst anxiety, which for me, leads to my depression settling in, putting its feet up and staying awhile. Every day, I wake up, I lay in bed to talk myself into my day. When I travel, I have to write down a mantra for myself, and read it over and over, to psyche myself up for the experience.
It’s not once in a while, it’s each and every day. I don’t sleep that well to begin with, which adds to my issues. However, sleep isn’t the solution, and I have to handle what’s being thrown at me, whether I get sleep, or not. Some days it takes me 5 minutes to convince myself to get out of bed, whereas some days it takes me an hour to convince myself to get up. Many times, I get up because I have to pee, and there’s no other choice.
Strength from within
It’s pretty well known in our home, mommy doesn’t like to talk to anyone in the morning. Everyone attributes it to me not being a morning person. Honestly, it’s because I need too deal with feeling like I’m underwater, struggling to breathe. In my head, all of the things that need to be done not just today, but also tomorrow, and the next day, as well as the day after that, weighs me down. I have to refocus, and it takes a bit of time for me to find the strength from within.
Help is always nice, but it doesn’t alter my thoughts. Inside my head is chaos, which is why I don’t sleep well. My brain doesn’t shut off, or calm down. It’s always racing. I have to physically TELL my brain to stop overthinking.
I have to yell loudly, “focus, Staci. FOCUS.”
Yes, I have to talk, out loud, to my thoughts. Tell them to quiet the f*ck down. Does it always work? No. The days I can’t find the strength from within, are the days I’ve got to task out things to others. Or, the world around me crumbles, and I don’t care what goes on around me. As long as I am surrounded by the covers on my bed. They are my friends on my worst days.
Strength to ask for help
Many days, a call is made to Mr. Sunflower, “Once again, you’ll have to step in and though you hadn’t planned on having to bring a child to an activity after you get home from work, you are now. Or the child will miss it. It took all of my energy to talk myself into picking up both children from school today, and I can’t go back out there again.”
I cry a lot less, as long as I ask for help. I break down a lot less, when I remember to ask for help. However, it’s only when I remember that it takes strength to ask for help, that I remember to ask for it. I thought asking for help, was a sign of weakness for far too long. I’d tell myself “these are my kids, and my home. I should handle everything all on my own.”
It turned me into a horrible mother. Depression showed up in a vicious temper, ending in kids crying, and me sobbing every night for being a shit mother.
Yes, yelling once in a while, and getting upset, is normal. When it shows up all day, every day, to the point you’re frightened to even be around your children for fear you’d change who they were becoming? Yeah, that’s depression. I wasn’t aware of it, but I am now.
So, now, I ask for help when I feel myself slipping further into my anxiety, and depression. If I don’t? It doesn’t go well for anyone around me.
Strength to live in the positive
It takes a lot to put one foot in front of the other, when your thoughts are negative, as well as, chaotic. All of the world’s problems, as well as your own problems, and this annoying habit I have of taking on friends’ problems….just sit with me. It’s like a movie playing in my head, but all of it is harsh, negative, and depressing AF. I can’t move when this happens. It’s like you can see your life happening around you, but you’re under water. If you’ve seen Divergent, the original movie, and Tris has to face all of her fears – there’s one where water pours into a glass box she’s in, and she can’t stop it.
That’s depression. Anxiety starts it for me, and that’s the water pouring out of the pipe above me in the box. If I don’t get a handle on it, if I can’t find something to plug up that pipe, I’m done for. Paddling away, trying to find air to breathe.
Avoiding the negative
To avoid a lot of the negative hoopla truly crushing me, I don’t watch the news anymore. I try not to look at it on Facebook. More often than not, I’ll go silent with friends. It just means I don’t email, or text. If they contact me, I keep it short. It helps me find the strength to live in the positive. It’s so much easier to get sucked into the negative, which I never understood. However, it’s what happens.
It’s almost like the negative knows me, and welcomes me. It “gets” me. Understands me like nothing else. It takes a lot more strength for me to tell the negative “step aside, I’ve got to live in the positive.” Perhaps because I’m sarcastic, and grew up a cynic, the negative just feels like it can invade my brain. Like an old friend, or an old shirt that fits me better. It takes great amounts of strength to block it out, and live in the positive.
A skill I’m still learning. A skill that gets stronger each day, slowly, steadily, and with a great amount of conscious effort.