My Depression

Recently there have been a lot of articles and commentary regarding depression, anxiety, mental health, and suicide.  I read these articles and can’t help but feel as though people think they know what someone else’s mental health was/is like.  I know that mental illness and diseases have similarities defining them, but I won’t act like I know anyone else’s experience with depression or anxiety.  I only know mine.

My depression.  A shadow lurking in the background. Sometimes unnoticeable even to me, but always present, ready to take advantage of any vulnerability.

My depression.  Sometimes it wraps around me so tight that it’s hard to breathe.  It’s so tight and heavy that the weight is too much to even sit up, or get out of bed.

My depression. It consumes my thoughts as I lie awake, trying to sleep.  Sleep is the first guard I put up- but soon depression creeps even into my dreams, becoming inescapable.

My depression. It strangles my relationships, sucks the energy out of me to return phone calls, texts, emails.  It slowly creates mountains between me and the people closest to me.     So many relationships have become distant or nonexistent due to the power my depression has had over me.

My depression.  The guilt it feeds isolates me from those I love most.  The support, love, fear, frustration, and strain it causes on others strengthen my guilt and fuel my isolation.

My depression.  It feeds my self-hate.  It replays mistakes I’ve made over and over in my mind. It recalls awkward conversations from years in the past, it continuously finds my faults and focuses in.  It tears open past wounds, never allowing anything to fully heal.

My depression.  It clouds my mind, slows my thinking.  It steals my words from my mouth, leaving me with lost sentences and silence.  It pushes my memories far away, forgotten, maybe forever.

My depression.  A disease that not only haunts my soul, but also my body.  The scratching at skin until it’s raw.  The reopening of scabs until they turn to scar.  The blood to remind me of it’s everlasting presence.

My medications.  Change an all-consuming burden in to a dull, constant ache.

My Pip.  A constant therapy dog, despite his continuous need to bark at rabbits.

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My son.  A soul not yet burdened or consumed by this disease.  A reminder of all that is good in my life.

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My self-awareness.  A way to slowly try to combat what depression has taken away.

My choice.  To stay.

My goal.  To always choose life.

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Memories Like These

My mind is most accurately described as a sieve. I often forget things that happened last week- or even yesterday. It’s awesome because I can frequently watch movies several times. I usually remember the main plot, but the ending seems to be a surprise every time. Back when I was a kid, I read all the Harry Potter books. I know something REALLY BIG happens in the end, *no spoiler alert*- but I don’t remember what it was. at all. Unfortunately, while my movie selection is never-ending, this particular quality of minedorymeme is not super helpful when trying to claim that my husband never told me something, or when I try to remember if I was supposed to babysit Kateri and Rosemary.

I attribute this lack of memory to my late teens and early twenties. Before then, I was able to remember quite a lot about my childhood and different occasions. Through college I began a fierce battle with depression and anxiety, which for many years was coped with by not coping at all. I was successfully [depending on your definition] able to navigate nursing school and learning to be an adult, with suppressing all emotion and feelings that I was experiencing. Since then I have since learned that my [un]coping mechanism was not a long term solution, but the effects on my memories are here to stay- at least for now.

Last week itIMG_0215.jpg got up to 76 degrees in Wisconsin. WHAT?! To celebrate the weather, my mom [who was watching my nieces] and I decided to take a long walk at a marsh not too far from where I grew up.  The Horicon Marsh is part National Wildlife Refuge, part State wildlife refuge.  It’s all beautiful.  I also just learned via Wikipedia that it’s the largest cattail marsh in the country.  Thanks, Wikipedia!

 

My mom and I have special relationship [I like to think].  She is my confidante, and I truly consider her my best friend.  Since I’ve been married and had Cormac, I haven’t spent nearly as much time with her as I used to.  It’s always nice when we are able to spend some quality time together.  We talked about this new blog thing I’m trying out.  We laughed about my last post, locking Cormac in the car [because if you don’t laugh, you cry].  We joked that I was going to have to have way more events like that happen to keep writing anything interesting.

We had a picnic lunch with the girls and Cormac, and walked about 3 miles.

 

Cormac decided to poop through his clothes (typical Cormac), and Rosemary took a tumble out of the stroller – don’t worry- she was fine.  All in all, it was a pretty typical afternoon spent with some of my favorite people.  There was no specific event during the day that stood out or was incredibly abnormal.  It was fun, tiring, and relaxing all at the same time.  It wasn’t something super ‘notable’ to put in a blog post, per say.  But it was everything I want to remember about this part in my life.

I am sure that I won’t remember this particular afternoon in 20 years, or even 5 years.  Not with my memory at least.  But when I think back about when Cormac was little and I got to stay home with him, I want to remember the feeling I had last Friday.  I want to smile back on the thoughts of spending time with my favorite people in relaxing and beautiful environments.  It’s memories like these that I want to bottle the essence of and carry around with me to old age.

I think that it’s all the run-of-the-mill things in life that can shape how you view your past.  I hope that this ordinary afternoon will shape my past in a positive way- and I hope to continue to capture these moments in time.  I want to recollect all the good vibes as I continue on this journey.