Self-Awareness and Depression

I am depressed.

It’s not the first time depression has come to roost in my head and in my heart. My first spell was in middle school, as I struggled with glasses, braces, a perm, and being the smartest kid in class. The second time was in college, when I was being called into a more spiritual life but didn’t have the understanding of what was going on. I just knew that traditional schooling and I were not getting along, and I let things get quite bad before I sought help. It’s come back a few times since then, as well. Usually it was tied to my attempts at going back to school. I suspect there is a message there, but I’m still not sure I’m ready to hear it.

Now that I’ve totally upended my life, I knew there would be a “change hangover.” A person can only take so much. So I tried to take my time and make sure I was taking care of myself. But as the months drag on, I think it’s time to face the music and call a spade a spade. My depression is back.

My energy level is abysmal. I struggle to keep my fires lit to make it through the workday. On weekends I am both restless and exhausted. I could stay in bed forever. As I try to get a handle on the new job, consider returning to school in the spring, and feel called to learn ceramics, I have no idea how I can muster up energy for it all.

My resilience is also shot. Any piece of bad news or a misunderstanding between Neal and I throws me for a loop. Instead of it taking minutes or hours to recover, it takes days.

And poor Neal doesn’t get the best of me. He gets used up me, at the end of the day, and the end of the week. We’re still trying to get our communication styles aligned and it’s been a bumpy road. It doesn’t mean we love each other less. But I certainly don’t feel very lovable or loving.

This time around, I have more tools in my toolbox. I am self-aware and spiritually connected. But it is still very much a struggle. No one would know from looking at me, I’m very good at keeping up my “everything’s fine” mask. (Perhaps with the exception of being at home with Neal, then it slips.) But beneath the surface, there is a very surreal, dramatic, exhausting battle taking place. Most of the time it’s just a steep uphill slog against exhaustion and a gray demeanor. But when it’s bad, it’s bad. Adapted from my journal:

I am close to the edge of despair.

This is how depression works. This is how the illness feels.

I want to RUN. I want to NUMB this pain so BADLY. I don’t want to feel this way anymore. I don’t want to feel at all.

I hate feeling helpless, but I know I’m not. I know I am strong, and that I have support.

I wish I drank.

I’m thankful I don’t drink.

I wish I could turn this emotional pain into physical pain, then it might be more bearable.

I’m thankful that I’m too squeamish to hurt myself.

I wish I could give up.

I’m thankful that I’m too stubborn to give up.

Right now I am just trying to accept that it is what is. And I pray, asking my Spirits for help. And I wrestle with how to talk about this with the people I care about, and who care about me. And I mull over whether it’s time to see a professional. One day at a time, I’m making my way. I’m thankful for the little edge that self-awareness gives me.

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