Hey there peeps! I’ve been MIA for a week now, and want to apologize. Or explain, really. You see, I was really depressed. I have depression, and it’s definitely part of who I am, but I do not believe that depression defines me. Yet, last week- it did. It took over my brain and made me incredibly sad. I was crying all week, I was angry, I was angry at being angry, and I was desperate. For me, when depression takes hold, I become so embarrassed by my perceived weakness that I hide from the world. I don’t want to be judged by my depression, so I don’t want anyone to see me when I’m like this. But this is just a self-feeding loop, and the lack of contact with my friends and family makes the depression even worse.
When I went to the psychologist on Friday, she described my emotional state as, “rock bottom.” When you hit rock bottom, something has to give. And for me, all I could do was think about killing myself. I just wanted the pain to stop, I just wanted to rest, I just wanted some peace. So the doctor suggested I go on a road trip where I was the captain, I decided where and when and what. This motivated me to get moving and start planning a little trip to Charlotte.
And I did plan. I was going to go on a yarn crawl- visit a bunch of local yarn shops in Charlotte. Take Murphy and stay at a Red Roof, maybe visit a couple of dog parks. But the more I thought about the trip, the more I realized how alone I would be. And that scared me more than anything. I know I needed loved ones, I needed to feel and be loved. I needed to be rescued.
T went to class like normal, and I started the Saturday like most days- coffee and blogs. But I was dark, so dark. I became terrified at what I would do to myself; I even wrote a suicide note asking for forgiveness for possibly doing something so mean and hurtful to those who love me. See, when I’m depressed, I know people love me and I know I love myself, but I can’t see any way to deal with the anguish of my emotions- the pain is too great.
Looking for help, I went online to Suicide Hotlines and read through the words there. The words commiserated with my feelings and talked clinically about why I was feeling that way. How insidious this disease it, how it warps the rational thinking part of the the brain so you can’t actually think rationally. I read this and knew it was true- there was something in me desperate to live, even more desperate than the need to end the pain.
So I called my parents to come help me. I needed them to comfort me and to help me think rationally. I was ashamed that I needed their help, I’m old enough to take care of myself; but I needed someone who knows me and loves me unconditionally. Someone who wouldn’t condemn me and tell me to “snap out of it.” Someone to hold me while I cried uncontrollably. And I did, and they did.
We went for a walk to get out into the sunshine and talk about my options. I thought at first that I needed to go to an in-patient clinic to keep me from hurting myself. But the more I thought about it, the more I thought about the treatment plan there- group sessions and craft classes and music classes, all designed to get you to think and talk. But I’ve been doing that shit for over a year now- I’ve filled my days with craft projects and talking to the psychologist. Where has it gotten me? And frankly, I just kept thinking of how over-dramatic checking myself into a hospital would be.
We talked about my short-term options, and looking for ways to connect with more people so I don’t feel so isolated. Emailing friends on a weekly basis has helped, but frankly, I feel like I’m the one always reaching out. And sometimes I end up feeling like a bigger looser than before I hung out, just too weak to even be good company to my friends. I love hanging out with my friends, I just need something more structured as well, something with an overarching goal- like work or volunteer work.
I talked about my job search, and how unfruitful it’s been. There is nothing out there for planners. Most plans are government-sponsored, so you can imagine that those jobs are the first to go. The political thought process is:
we the government don’t have enough money to run our city now, how can we spend money planning for the future?
It’s sad really, and short sighted, but completely human, I suppose. Anyway- job searching has been another recent failure. So we brainstormed about volunteer possibilities. I want to volunteer in my neighborhood, try to make it a little bit better and try to feel more connected to my community. I thought of volunteering at the Neighborhood Charter School, the Grant Park Conservancy, and the Atlanta Zoo. I had volunteered at the Grant Park Farmer’s Market, but they never got back in touch with me. So I made a mental checklist of people to contact for volunteer opportunities.
After the walk around the neighborhood, mom helped me out a bit around the house. I haven’t been in the mood to clean up, and if I don’t do it, it doesn’t get done. So after a few light house chores, dad helped me box up the garage sale items while mom cooked a nice meal. It really helped having help, I really like working in teams much better than being solo.
My parent’s visit really helped me release my sadness to make room for other productive thoughts. It gave me a gentle motivational push to consider my options and methods for keeping the sadness at bay. Connecting with people is really the key, so I’m going to keep up with my friends as I have and add volunteer opportunities, too. Hopefully that will get me out of the house and keep me involved. The Neighborhood Charter School committee has already emailed me back about opportunities, so I’m going to a meeting tonight to find out about helping in their garden where kids grow seeds into lunch food. Cool!
And I had a movie night with my mom and a good friend. It was nice hanging out in front of the TV knitting, but not being alone. T is traveling all week, so my opportunities for being alone are endless. The girls made movie night a fantastic way to keep the sadness at bay. And that’s really what it feels like with depression. It feels like the sadness is a lake of water beating against my damn of resilience. Sometimes the water splashes over, sometimes the damn crumbles and the deluge is let loose. But with my friends and family, I’m able to rebuild the damn.
Thanks for listening. I’ll report on some of my knitting progress in a short while. Talk to you soon!