Depression is like a heavy, ill fitting coat. The kind of coat that encompasses you, hangs off your arms, comes down over your hands, and feels too heavy on your shoulders. It’s not comfortable, it doesn’t provide warmth, it doesn’t do the things that a coat should do, but it’s there anyway, pressing down, smothering, forcing itself into your personal space without any sort of permission. Depression is the kind of coat that never matches the weather and it takes your entire life force to take it off, if you can at all. Even when it’s warm outside, even when it’s not raining. Depression says it’s always raining.
But, what do you have to be so sad about?
Why aren’t you happy?
Look at how much you have!
You don’t know real struggle.
You should just be grateful.
Just get over it.
Make yourself be happy.
Stop thinking about it.
I don’t see that there’s even that much of a problem with you.
Just chill out.
Stop being such a baby.
Your life is so good, it doesn’t make sense!
That’s the thing. Depression doesn’t make sense. Depression doesn’t respect the fact that I have a wonderful life, a great family, supportive friends, an amazing boyfriend, or a secure job. And if that’s frustrating to you and you think YOU don’t understand, imagine feeling it. Imagine living it. Imagine knowing all of the great things about your life and still not wanting to get out of bed, not wanting to interact, unending restlessness, irritability for little reason, and just general unhappiness. Imagine the spiral of feeling ashamed and ungrateful, inarticulate and closed off, and knowing with any shred of logic you possess that you have reasons you shouldn’t feel the way you do, but you feel it anyway. You feel it anyway, and you feel it deep, you feel it permeate through your bones and you ache in your very core, in places you’re not sure you’ll ever be able to reach.
I can write about this today because I feel relatively clear and honest. I ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on the way to work and I smiled. I liked the way my hair looked and the shirt I’m wearing today. Today doesn’t feel enormous and insurmountable. That doesn’t mean that it won’t, but at this moment, I’m okay. I prayed on the way to work and asked God to give me patience and grace, and sometimes I just simply pray for God to help me be happy. Help me find the positives, help me see the good, help me smile, and help me get through the day. Sometimes, that’s really all you can ask for anyway.
Loving me isn’t easy. Depression, for me, manifests in some of the most unfortunate ways. I withdraw, I shut down, my emotions and reactions default to anger, or I’m either completely indifferent. Sometimes, I don’t care if it snows oats. Other times, I would like to watch the world burn. My mood swings are debilitating, my irritability more than any one person should bear. My Mom has dealt with it for years, my brother and sister understand it, so do my closest friends, and now Chad knows. They know not to take me to heart when I say I hate everything, when I sleep for what seems like days, when I’m cranky about living, and when I push so hard that they can barely hang on. I make myself sad when I think about it, because I can’t imagine how much these people must really love me to put up with me like this. I don’t feel worthy. I’m probably not worthy. I just tell myself that my good days must be incredibly rewarding and hope that I’m not always miserable to be around.
Some days are worse than others. Giving up my Grandmother has obviously been a trigger. The change of seasons and colder weather kills me. Working in customer service is a cornucopia of anxiety. Honestly, I have more good days than bad anymore, but I still wanted to write about this. I’ve wanted to write about it for a long time and the words were never there. Because even though I have more good than bad, the bad is still there and it’s still a tremendous struggle. I thought maybe someone could read this and find comfort in knowing it’s not just them going through the motions, it’s not just them smiling and cracking jokes and trying to get through the day.
It’s not just you with the unfortunate, too big, cumbersome coat.
It’s me, too.