Sometimes the depression end of the mental illness that I get to enjoy hits me like a nice thick fog with claws. I can hear it coming but still can’t quite escape its nasty grip. It grabs on and envelops me, surrounding me in a dark cloud no matter which way I try to turn. But pretty soon I don’t try to turn any way anymore.
It’s sadness and frustration and hopelessness all rolled into one entity. It’s wishing all that feels wrong could just wink out of existence, that somehow I could wave a magic wand and have everything better. On extreme times, it’s wishing I could wink out of existence. The cloud allows me to see out, and I know others can see in just fine, but they can’t tell that anything’s happening. It somehow eerily makes others blind to my inward suffering. I end up feeling alone, isolated, and misunderstood.
I want to scream and cry sometimes. I want to talk it out. But talking doesn’t help because there are no solutions, and the people around me have nothing to say that can change the stark reality of the dreary fog. I want someone to have answers. I so desperately want that. I want someone to fix it. When I’m pushed into the depression it’s usually because circumstances in my life have become a bit too much for me to be able to handle anymore. This time around, it’s all the things I wrote about earlier in the week. It’s not having any time to myself to think or write or just care for my inner self for the whole summer. It’s having huge expenses and a bunch of seemingly nonstop little ones drain my bank account this year and make me nervous about spending any little sum, so I don’t even want to take all of my kids to see a full-price movie for a nice change of pace (even at matinee prices, it would cost almost 40 bucks for the five of us to see “Brave.” I mean, come ON!). It’s this darn broken foot. It’s the frustration of having no control over almost anything in my life lately. So many things have conspired to drain me of my resolve and my strength, and now I am down to the level of near-hopelessness.
Oh, I wish a miracle would happen. I wish my blog and website could be wildly successful. I wish I could get some time and inspiration to write the book I’ve been planning and researching for months now: and to feel that it’s even possible to get it published if I do manage to get that mythical time and inspiration together. I wish that I could find the motivation in myself to lose some weight. But with a broken foot, the exercise part of the equation is more than challenging: the recumbent bike sessions I’ve been doing this week aren’t going to cut it.
I wish that I could feel comfortable enough with more people to really say how I feel, but I don’t trust many people to do so. I’m pretty much afraid of how people will respond. My husband at least has learned over the years to stop saying anything that I could remotely construe as platitudes (because those make me go from 0 to 60 in angry miles almost instantaneously), but now he just says nothing. That’s only a slight improvement on the cliches and pep talks; I just wish he could say something that would really comfort me or encourage me. I wish I could find it in me not to feel at all resentful that he can’t do this for me, because it’s really not his fault. Very few people are very good at dealing with someone who’s laboring under the fog of depression and that utter hopelessness. That’s what’s so frustrating: it isolates so quickly and easily. No one knows how to respond. I know. I get that. But it still makes me feel alone, and angry, and doubly sad. I am deathly afraid of people’s judgment, of their fear, of the possibility that they’ll think I’m weak or that I am just a complainer. (I usually feel fairly strong. That’s the problem: I’m too strong. So even when I feel weak and hopeless, everyone else still thinks I’m fine and just leaves me alone.)
I’m afraid. I’m tired. I’m exhausted. I’m actually just overflowing with “sick-and-tired”-ness. I’m at wit’s end. I’m utterly sick, sick, sick of feeling like this on a somewhat regular basis, of feeling that life has me cornered, that I have no control over my own destiny, that I’m Sisyphus pushing, pushing, pushing on that rock. I’m SICK of looking at that rock.
That’s the thing: I’m not the type of person who expects to have anything handed to me on a silver platter. I don’t think the world owes me a living. It’s the opposite, really. I work hard all the time to take care of myself and my kids and my husband. I work hard in volunteer roles to help other people. My heart goes out to everyone else I hear about who’s in need in any way and I wish I could help. I am always doing something that’s practical in some way. But when I get into this down mode, I wish that all of my efforts would finally bear fruit, that the rock on the hill I constantly am climbing would just sprout some legs already and MOVE, dammit. My arms are tired.
Again, I guess that’s why I’m writing this blog. I want to put into words what I experience, in the small hope that what I say can be of help to someone else out there climbing their own hill, pushing on their own insurmountable, immovable rock. Man, I wish I could just pick up your rock for you and toss it away, let it crumble into a million pieces as it rolls down and hits the valley floor. I wish you could do the same for my rock. And I wish that I could help everyone out there feel more comfortable talking to someone in my position right now, make you feel able to say something encouraging, able to sit it out and not run away cringing. I want to feel less alone. I want others like me to feel less alone.
It might be another thing that’s impossible, but like all the other goals in my life that seem impossible right now, I just have the tiniest hope that they might, might, MIGHT be possible, in some other universe in which I am happy and capable again.
5 thoughts on “Too depressed to think of a name for this post”
Kathy, you are one of the most accomplished people I know, you have done so much with your life, you have a wonderful family, and still have time to do your web-sites and blogs. Cheer up!!! I think if you made a list of pro’s and con’s your Pro’s list would be HUGE!! Anything I can do, let me know…. Hope you and your foot feel a little bit better today. 🙂
Best wishes to you. Chemical brain issues are difficult and I hope you find what can get you out of the fog. And I hope you can find a friend or two who won’t mind hearing about the downsides.
Thanks. It’s a challenge that goes away for a while and lets me live in peace, and sometimes it pops up again to plague me. But yes, it is nice to have a few people to talk to who understand in a fashion.
I can’t remember how I stumbled on your blog, I think it may have been regarding a post about George Albert Smith and Depression. I’ve been following for a couple of months. I know you wrote this particular post a couple of weeks ago, I hope and pray that you are having better days this week. I know how isolating mental illness can feel, so I thought I’d share a brief story that your post reminded me of, just because I personally find comfort in knowing that I am not alone in my battle. Anyway, it was the caption on your picture about not being able to make a better graphic on photoshop that prompted me to share. I love to make birthday cakes for my kids, and I am a huge perfectionist. I have put more hours and sweat than I can count into making extraordinary birthday cakes. Well, a few months ago I was in a particularly bad place with my mental health during my son’s birthday. I was barely able to make him a cake, and it looked truly terrible and I couldn’t make myself care. I looked at the cake and said to my husband on a whim, “Wow that cake is a real outward indicator of just how bad I’m doing.” And you know what, it was the first time I saw a glimmer of understanding in my husband’s eyes about what it’s like for me. It was like all of a sudden he had a small understanding of just how much I was struggling. Not because he hasn’t tried, but chemical depression is one of those things that you can’t truly understand until you’ve been through it. He has witnessed me agonize over the smallest details of making the *perfect* cakes for years and years, so for him to see me not be able to care about a cake was very tangible for him. Anyway, I’m not trying to make a point other than you are not alone. You don’t know me, but there is someone out there who relates a little to what you are enduring. Hang in there. Better days will come (and go, because that’s the way this works unfortunately), but you will get through these hard days and you will have better ones. You can do it!
Heather, what a great insight. It’s funny: our husbands or others who are with us day in and day out can see what we’re doing and how we’re reacting, but they still just can’t *get* what it’s LIKE. Again, one of the several reasons I’m writing about this topic on a blog: I want to somehow reach some people who don’t know what it’s like and help them to grasp it a little bit so they can be more empathetic with their loved ones. Plus, I definitely want others who struggle to not feel quite so isolated. It’s great to know you’re out there and just pushing through day by day. I’m doing a bit better, but it still feels like some things right now are a bit more than I can handle. I can do the day-to-day things, but I just am wanting to say NO to all the stuff people are asking me to do that is, honestly, kind of extraordinary. I’m right now just at the level of ordinary. And that’s OK.