This post will be brief, I just need to write. In truth, I have bipolar disorder, not depression, but for me the lows come far more often than the highs. In many ways I do have it all. I have a wonderful, adoring husband who is my best friend, I have two children who bring me joy, I have friends with whom I share deep bonds, I even have a shiny new car and a brand new home. None of those things, however, are relevant when depression comes a’knockin.
I am not going to to go into a list of woe is me. I am sad. I am fighting a battle within myself that no one can see. I am fighting the urge to harm myself (successfully so far!), and trying to be the best version of myself possible for my family. I am writing this ,really, as a way of processing my feelings. I am also writing this so that any of you fighting the same war within know that you are not alone. This will pass. It always does. I just keep reminding myself of that, over and over. The thing about invisible illness is the loneliness. I turn into myself, trying to limit the negative effect I might have on others; fearing I’ll just be a bummer and people will find me tiring. I want to be alone, but I also want desperately to feel supported.
Here’s an example: I have recently been very removed from social media (when I am in a state like this, the last thing I want it be attacked my selfie’s, cat videos and politics). As a result, the obvious happened; I became lonely and isolated, thus adding to my depression. Why isn’t anyone calling? Why haven’t they noticed I’m gone? These thoughts floated around in my foggy head. The answer is likely that people are busy and have their own lives and are probably not monitoring my social media accounts for signs of isolating behavior, because, duh…who does that? So what did I do? I stupidly posted a facebook status saying “Got a few messages asking if I was ok. oh yeah, I’m super great everyone. Just busy.”. This, of course, garnered many likes and left me feeling empty and stupid. I think this is somewhat typical behavior. What’s that term….oh yes a cry for help. A cry that went unheard, because unless you’re in my head, things are looking pretty good for Michelle, right? Even today I find myself reaching out to my friends with light and breezy messages in hopes of….hopes of what? Really, if you know tell me, because I am making myself nuts over here.
And of course depression’s good buddy guilt has shown up for the party, too. This cycle of beating myself up for not being supportive enough of my friends right now, attentive enough to my children right now, engaging enough for my husband right now, etc…is on repeat in my head, pushing me under water.
Maybe that’s why I felt the need to write this. Maybe putting it out there, in black and white, will take away the power. I can see the steps I need to take. I know this is only temporary. However, knowing and feeling do not always see eye to eye. My friends, if you know someone who is fighting this battle and they go silent on you, it’s a sign. Don’t get all crazy and smothering, but a little text or note of love or support could go a looooooong way. You can’t really do anything to help “fix” a depressed episode. That’s our job.
With luck, my next post will be an amazing, joyful celebration of life. That’s waaaaaay more my style, and probably much more fun to read. If you’ve read through this whole thing, kudos to you, because even I think it’s a self indulgent bummer of a bore. But hey, at least it’s honest. Sending a hug to anyone who needs one.