The Beast Within

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.

 

Beauty and The Beast

It is hard.  How do you explain to someone who’s serotonin levels don’t fluctuate. Who never have had the sense of impending doom? Who wakes in the morning and goes through their day without once wondering if they have fucked up so badly they will be without work in the morning? You cannot.  Because for someone who does not live with depression, your words may paint pictures but it cannot convey feelings.

Depression is an angry beast, insidious in how it creeps in and affects every aspect of your life.  No one wants me, no one cares, no one can understand how I feel. The abyss beneath your feet, it is real, all consuming and you spend hours tightrope walking to ensure your sanity. But you cannot explain. You cannot show.

And it feeds your bliss too. My creativity surges when I am in a depressive state. I can write poetry that makes your soul bleed, I can write prose and entice those who do not read, to devour my stories. And want more. So I crave the blackness, I crave the sleepless nights and boomerang days. I live in my head, during work hours, during down time, coming out of my fugue to care for my son. I live in a world of fantasies. And it feels good.

Not only do I live with depression, but so does my bff and her daughter.  My bff is on medication and lives a calm serene (LOL sometimes) life. She is willing to give up creativity for stability. Her daughter and myself, we are artists. Not that my bff isn’t but We Are Artists. We need to create. Via the written word, paint, media. We have words to speak and a need for the world to hear. However, our creativity is closely tied to our depression. (I have a feeling my bff’s daughter is going to disagree with me and this is because all my beliefs are based on her mom’s perception of her rather than my own as I have not spent any time with her) but anger and passion fueled by depression is addictive.

The beast is depression. The beauty is the brilliance that spills from my mind and fingers, from the paint brush on the canvass, the ability to convey my thoughts and worries. I know this is disjointed. It may not make sense but to me there is beauty in the truths I have found tonight.