Thursday, April 22, 2010

What it is

We have all heard of depression. We picture people (usually women) sitting in bed with a box of tissues sobbing. But what we don't think of is the woman laughing in line at the grocery store. She's depressed too. We also don't look at the mom lovingly pushing her son on the playground swing. She's depressed too. And the guy in the next cubicle at work with the pictures of his happy family on his desk? Yep, he may be depressed too.

Are these people masking? Are they in denial? Maybe.

For me, it's complicated as I'm sure it is for so many. Most people think depression and suicidal thoughts/tendencies go hand in hand. I can honestly say that through my entire life battling depression I have not once been suicidal. Not even when the good doctor looked at my True/False answers on some confusing questionairre and demanded I be committed to suicide watch in high school. Not even when I was seeing hallucinations in the throes of post partum depression and threatened to take a bottle of pills if my husband left me alone. Not even when my son died. Not even then.

There have been many times I prayed to be comfortably numb. I prayed for the ability to just not care for once, to not feel the pain or the fear or the sadness for once. But I've never been suicidal. Quite the contrary, I have such extreme anxiety I sometimes can't stand it. My old therapist called it PTSD, from what only a hypnotic regression session would say. I never did have that session. The anxiety is overwhelming most of the time. As I type this I am seeing my husband and youngest son out the picture window cleaning out the car out of the corner of my eye, and it's all I can do to push the visual of him getting hit by a car out of my mind. Realistically I KNOW he's within arms reach of his father, who would give his life to protect him. But that gives me little relief from the fear.

My battle with depression is a mixture of tears and joy, of smiles and sobs. It isn't just the times when I cry or fear or avoid or mask or stand on my soap box, it's also the times when I love and laugh and play and feel the warmth of things that make me happy. It is a journey to finding me, one that I am going to force myself now to walk honestly.

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