This post is the start of a series I’ll be posting on mental health and my experience with depression and other mood disorders. I’m kind of terrified to publish it. It’s my darkest, my deepest, it’s my real. It’s scary to show people real, I mean, I’m always real but this is… this is ALL of the real. I’m writing these not for sympathy, attention, or even encouragement. I write because it’s therapeutic and because I feel like someone needs to write it … and I guess it’s going to be me. Someone needs to say “hey, this is ok. you aren’t crazy. you are going to be ok, someone else feels this too. you still matter, you are still you, you are still LOVED.” I write because I need someone to read this and say “me too.” I write because… that’s just what I do.
On paper I have the most light filled life.
A beautiful husband, son, and daughter.
A healthy body. A healthy family.
The ability to write, to paint, to read, to run, to laugh.
A body that fits into it’s 22 year old wedding dress.
A husband with a great job.
The choice I have to stay home.
A killer head of hair (thanks mom.)
Food. Good food.
A Mother and Father who love me.
ALASKA. How many people ever get to live in Alaska?
And you all see it. You all embrace this light filled existence and call it “Sharon”. And maybe some of you want it. Maybe some of you are jealous of it. Maybe some of you strive to have it all “just like she does.”
But you don’t see everything.
You don’t see the dark.
The days of staying in bed until far after my husband has left for work.
The marathons of movies for the kids.
The pile of dishes from yesterday, and the day before, and the day before that…
The weeks I go without getting out of pj’s.
The panic attacks.
The embarrassment of calling in “sick” to church callings, outings, favors.
The dread of morning.
The prayers for night.
The constant, CONSTANT heavy fog making even the sweetest light blurred and shaded.
It’s hard to explain depression. I understand why people who have never experienced it don’t understand it because even when I’m in the depths of it, even though I’ve been dealing with it for the majority of my life now, I don’t understand it.
I don’t understand it but I know how it feels.
Depression feels like finding yourself stuck in a rip tide, a dozen or so yards from shore with only a boogie board to cling to. Unable to touch and with loud suffocating waves crashing down on top of you, you kick and kick with an immense amount of force and urgency. It’s concern turning to panic and terror when you realize your efforts are getting you no where, you are alone, and your body is quickly getting sucked into the sea. Depression is understanding how people drown from pure exhaustion, how they finally just give up. It is screaming and screaming and SCREAMING for help while the waves continue to choke your lungs, while you watch beachcombers, families, and lovers mosey past, enjoying the sun and soothing sounding waves. It is wondering if you’ll drown while only a football throw away they sit and laugh and embrace each other, unable to see or hear your plight, watching as you seemingly paddle along enjoying the waves.