The confidence that people see in me, it is fake. The charming smile and happy chatter, I make it all up as I go along. I have learned how to hide the side of me that makes people uncomfortable, the side the requires a little more maintainence than the fake side because no one really wants to know.
My last major depressive episode was almost three years ago now and it was a doozy. I woke up one Saturday morning and I despised myself. There was no reason for this but the depth of hatred I felt is incomprehensible today. I began to cry and I could not stop. I was suppose to work that evening and as I sat on the toilet hating myself, tears coursing down my face I could not see the end to the tunnel.
Over a three day period of seeing my doctor and facing some wicked accusations at work and at home, I was done. I had sunk so deep into the morass I did not even know at that time if I could climb out of the pit that I found myself in. I was put on medical leave from work. I was put on medication and a counselor was found for me. For the first three weeks I was home all I did was sleep, twenty-three of twenty-four hours I was curled up in my bed, ignoring my son, my now ex-husband, my friends, my life. When I was awake I sat in front of the t.v. or the computer, because it was mindless and I did not have to think.
Slowly as the medication began to work and my serotonin levels evened out, I began to crawl towards the light. I thought that maybe I might live through this. That I might actually be alright. And it was a long journey. It was a slow journey. I had to confess to my mom my addiction to codeine that I had the year my father died and how I almost killed myself. Not intentionally but I came close. My rotti Nero saved my life that day.
I had to face up to a lot of hard truths about myself. I had to rediscover myself and the parts of me that I had buried for so long. Because that is a part of what depression is. For myself at least. I lose myself in how others perceive me and I am not true. I do not express my anger or sadness but tamp it down so no one really knows what is going on. And truth be told I am not really a good sharer of my feelings. I talk a lot but for the most part I keep others talking so I do not have to.
I live with this savage beast daily. When I have down days, I wonder is this the start of another episode? When I have super good days in a row, not just one, but several, I wonder if I am going into a manic episode? Do others view me as unstable? I know that I bounce around a lot and can be hyper but I never know really if it is the illness or my natural state of being.
I no longer fear the stigma of depression and anxiety. I no longer worry that the beast within is going to destroy me. I have not conquered him but he no longer has his claws dug into my soul, squeezing the colors from my life. We seem to have come to an uneasy agreement. On occasion I will allow him a brief moment of freedom, but than I reseal him tightly into the vault that I have built. On the days that I allow him out, I take a mental health day and curl up on my bed and cry myself to sleep. Those are the days that I really wish to have someone, anyone hold me and just say ‘You will get through this. You have the strength.’ However as I do not share these days it is unlikely to happen.
The beast within. It has the power to drag me under and keep me there but I refuse to bow down to his desires.