“When will it be sunny again?” My five year old asked me this a few weeks ago when I was putting him to bed. It’s January and dreary so I assumed he meant the literal sun. But then he added, “It’s never sunny anymore. It’s dark and it’s cold and we can’t go anywhere or see anyone.”
My eyes immediately welled with tears and pain for this little boy who was catching on to just how much the world sucks right now.
“Maybe tomorrow,” he said.
He then rolled over and went to sleep but his words hit me right in the gut.
I’ve been living in a depressive episode since December 26th. Sure there have been happy moments, even hours, here and there, but the heaviness of the world I’m living in is not lost on me. Someone said to me that “everyone is depressed right now.” And it made me really think about how people think about the word depression. How misunderstood it is. Being sad and being depressed are very different. Just like being stressed and having anxiety are also different. At the risk of being super vulnerable I felt compelled to explain what living with depression is really like – for me anyways. I’ve never really put it into words before.
For me, living with depression is like walking through life trying not to step on a land mine. The land mine being the small or maybe insignificant words or event that trigger you into a downward spiral. You know situations that trigger you but it doesn’t mean you don’t put yourself into them regardless. You know the people that trigger you but it doesn’t mean you don’t let them occupy space in your life over and over again.
I’ll do better tomorrow.
For me, living with depression is not showering for days at a time. It’s knowing you need a shower. It’s knowing a shower will make you feel better. But it’s not having the energy or motivation to go through the motions of actually having a shower. It’s finally smelling yourself and forcing yourself to do the bare minimum and shower. When did fucking showering become so difficult?
I’m too tired anyways, I will shower tomorrow.
For me, living with depression is waking up and counting down the minutes until it’s time to go back to bed. It’s loving sleep because it’s the only time the noise quiets. Its climbing into bed throughout the day because it’s your safe space where you don’t have to pretend that everything is okay when it’s not.
I’ll spend less time in my bed tomorrow.
For me, living with depression is walking around in a state of fog. It’s forgetting things. It’s losing things. It’s catching yourself staring into space. It’s not hearing those around you, regardless of how loud they are. It’s pretending to not be in a fog and have it all together even though you’re falling apart.
I’ll feel better tomorrow.
For me, living with depression is feeling incredibly lonely. Even surrounded by loved ones, it’s feeling alone. It’s knowing that no one can really understand how I’m feeling or make it go away.
I’ll feel less lonely tomorrow.
For me, living with depression is being overwhelmed by the smallest task so much that you end up doing nothing at all. Literally, nothing. You become so paralyzed by your emotions that you just sit. That’s it. The laundry piles up. The dishes pile up. Your house is a mess at all times and you know cleaning it will make you feel better but you can’t bring yourself to do it.
I’ll do it tomorrow.
For me, living with depression is mindlessly scrolling through social media for hours on end. Only to become more depressed at what you see. It’s deleting social media apps off your phone because it triggers you, only to download them again an hour later. What if you miss something important?
I’ll spend less time on it tomorrow.
For me, living with depression is buying things to get that fleeting euphoric feeling. It’s then staring at 10 unopened amazon packages in the front entryway for two weeks without opening them. It’s not remembering what you bought or even caring. You probably didn’t need any of it anyway.
I’ll open the packages tomorrow.
For me, living with depression is forgetting to eat. It’s binge eating. It’s eating to fill a void. It’s having the worst possible relationship with food and using it to survive rather than to nourish.
I’ll make better choices tomorrow.
For me, living with depression is constantly wondering why the people who say they love you stick around. It’s overanalyzing things they say or don’t say. Things they do or don’t do. It’s jeopardizing relationships because of the constant need for validation. It’s apologizing unnecessarily. It’s needing things you haven’t actually asked for and then being upset when those needs aren’t met. Your loved ones are doing their best but supporting someone with depression is hard. You wonder why they bother at all.
I’ll be easier to deal with tomorrow.
For me, living with depression is parenting in survival mode. It’s wanting so badly to be the mom you always dreamed you’d become, but falling short at every turn. It’s big feelings in front of small humans who don’t understand what’s happening. It’s constantly worrying that you’re fucking up your kids. It’s buying the art supplies and the educational toys with every intent of playing with them but never having the emotional energy to do it.
I’ll play with them tomorrow.
For me, living with depression during a pandemic, with a stay at home order, in the dead of winter, is it’s own living hell. With no formal routine the simplest of things like showering, like eating, like cleaning – all go out the window. Stuck inside a messy house with a messy mind, messy kids and nothing to look forward to. The normal distractions that get you through the depressive episodes are non existent and likely won’t be for a long time.
I’ll implement a routine tomorrow.
For me, living with depression is hard. It’s not harder than what anyone else is going through. It’s just hard. It’s hard to be positive. It’s hard to find the bright spots. It’s hard to keep going.
For me, living with depression is fighting to stay alive. It’s constantly trying to make it to tomorrow.
If you know someone living with depression remind them that you’re there. Even if you can’t physically be there right now. Just be there. Tell them you love them. Tell them things will get better because history shows us that they will.
If you’re living with depression, I’m here. I see you. I love you. And things will get better. For you. For me. We’ve got this.
Title Lyrics – “Meet Again” by Harry Hudson