When I am in it, I am in it. I know it, my husband knows it, and my daughter, without really knowing what IT is, knows it.
It is a dark and lonely place. The old adage “you could be in a crowded room and still feel alone.” Yeah. That is somewhat true. It is lonely in the people sense. No one understands, no one gets me, my body is present but my mind is not. In that sense, yes it is extremely lonely. What makes depression a tad different is that you’re not truly alone, your inner monologue that plays over and over like a broken record keeps you company, and OH what company it keeps!
When you have lived over a decade with this voice in your head it can easily become the one you trust the most. These last few weeks this voice and I have had our regular love affair. The hard part is, just like any love affair you tend to tune everyone else out, have your blinders on and focus solely on that one object of all your affection.
This is getting weird, I can feel you shifting in your seat saying “what the heck is this? This chick is off her rocker”. You would be right sir. I am off my rocker.
Setting the love affair analogy aside for a minute, let me describe the physical effects depression has. Have you ever run a full out marathon, like the full 26 miles? Yes? Well, look at you, aren’t you the epitome of health and fitness! I bet you like to casually bring it up in random conversation. Like, we could be talking about cheese and you say, “yes, this Gouda reminds me of the smooth pavement in the 26 mile marathon I ran last week.” And I would go on eating my cheese loathing you.
As you can guess, I have not run a full marathon, but I imagine the pure exhaustion I have is similar to that of having just run one. How would I know? Well, there was a study that said if you are pregnant, you use up as much energy as that of a marathon runner. At least I think there was, or maybe I just read that in PEOPLE, but I would like to believe it’s true. It makes me feel like a super hero. “OH, you ran a marathon? I grew a LEG!”
When I am in it, the very thought of anything exhausts me. It really is a true feat to just get my kids food. Every step throughout the day, from the moment I wake up, every decision, every movement, feels as though I am wading through 4 feet of thick goopy mud, and when it gets really bad, it’s 5 feet… and that‘s how tall I am. Yes, I am short. It gets hard to breath, and it gets hard to think of anyone else. With great difficulty, I will admit, a lot of those days, it is hard to think of my children first, and then not get annoyed that Ezzie needs a diaper change. This may seem selfish, this may seem like I am a terrible mom, or person. Trust me, that is what I am saying to myself already in those times.
My long term companion that I have been with for over a decade has convinced me that I am that. I am a terrible mother, I am a terrible spouse. What is the point? Why do I try? Why am I here? What good am I? You look awful! Why did you eat that slice of cheesecake? Oh dear GOD, why did you eat the WHOLE cheesecake?
I can hardly believe that anyone would say such things, but this is what the big D says to me. This is what I believe, for days, weeks, sometimes months at a time. So why then would I not just break up with this companion, why would I continue this abusive relationship?
Here is the simple and sad answer. It’s familiar. I know it so well. I know the ins and outs of this relationship; therefore, it can’t really disappoint me. Colm teases that I like to burrow. When I am cozy and tired. I burrow. That is what I do when I am in it. I burrow. Quite frankly, breaking up with someone you have lived most of your adult life with just can't be easily done. Have you tried it? There has been way too much investment of time. It is not a switch you turn off forever. Like any long term relationship you've had, there is a permanent imprint. Unlike a real relationship though, depression is lurking around a hidden corner trying to win you back. This relationship is one that will probably be on and off again for years, maybe my whole life. It is ingrained in every fibre of my being, and only those closest to me know when I am going through it….well now those I am closest to and all those who are reading this, in my head it’s thousands.
So, the truth is, I guess, between God, Colm, and depression, I am a polygamist...
Now my point. Where is the solace, the glimmer of hope, in an otherwise depressing post? My solace and my hope is when I break up with my companion, and get through the mud, come up for air, and see the light again, I think to myself, “how, how can anyone, how does anyone get through that without faith?” The same time that I am being told how awful I am, and how there is nothing but sorrow, I am screaming out “Where are you GOD?! Why is this happening?” Through the mud, through the dark, when I have doubt, by some miracle, I still fight with Him. Even when I become complacent and burrow in my depression, I can still take comfort that He hears me. My relationship with Him is just as pronounced as my relationship with Depression. When I am in love with depression I am fighting with God, and when I am in love with God, I am fighting depression. Whether you are fighting or loving, you are still in a relationship, at least that’s what my priest says.
Along with being the creator of Deep Thoughts Big Red Chair, in which she exploits her children for laughs, Sharon is also proud to be the co-creator and illustrator of the Saint of the Day for Kids app. Having attended film school, giving her life for two years with NET ministries, being a former parish and school youth minister, writing and playing music on the side, working for the Diocese of Saskatoon, and being a wife and mother, Sharon’s skill in NOT knowing what she wants to be when she grows up has allowed her to venture into exciting territory. She does not plan on changing that any time soon. With all of the gifts, projects, and talent, the main focus of it all has been evangelizing in a unique way.