1-1-13 Telling it how it is.

In keeping with the one resolution I will make this year which is to live more fearlessly, I am going to post today.  This keeps my resolution because ordinarily I would not post today. I would not post today, because I am really, really depressed and nobody wants to read about that. But since I’m endeavouring to live a more authentic life, I’m going to tell you all about that.

I had a terrible New Year’s Eve. It couldn’t have sucked more. I was invited to a nice party with nice people, but at about 5pm without warning, depression started creeping in curling insidiously around me. I went through the motions of getting ready for the party.  But by 7pm I was curled up in a fetal position in bed. I told myself I would just have a little rest, I’d feel better by the time it was time to go. But I didn’t feel better. I felt worse, and worse and worse. By 8pm I knew there was no way that I could go to that party, with those nice people…I just couldn’t. I did not have the energy to smile and pretend to be ok.  And I couldn’t think of anything worse than being “that girl” at the party who sits mournfully in a corner alone waiting for people to ask her what the matter is…. Ugh. Everyone hates that girl.  Especially at a New Year’s Eve party.

My little girl who was all dressed up, in a cute glittery skirt, her beautiful blonde hair brushed away from her excited, glowing face came into my room.  “Mommy?! Aren’t you coming to the party?” I told her I had a headache. I did in fact have a headache. I had a headache from the horrible, disgusting internal struggle that is depression. My head throbbed from the non-stop, pounding, unrelenting chatter inside my head when I am battling the creeping onset of depression.  He face fell. “But mommy! You have to come!” I told her that she would have plenty of fun without me, she didn’t hang out with me when I was there and she wouldn’t miss me at all, she’d be playing with the other kids.  She started to cry, “I don’t want to go without you” she said.  My heart broke. I was ruining this holiday for my family. I was creating a traumatic memory for my child.  But there was nothing I could do. I was in the grip. That’s the worst part. When you desperately want to get out of the grip. You know you are hurting people, you are hurting the people you love best in the world and the internal struggle to stop doing that is immense. But you are paralyzed. You.just.can’t. snap.out.of.it.

These are the emotions I expected to feel on New Year’s Eve: hopeful, excited, grateful, loving, loved, warm, embraced, magnanimous, generous, purposeful, reflective.
These are the emotions I felt on New Year’s Eve (and continued to feel on New Year’s day): hopeless, depressed, bitter, cold, abandoned, excluded, lonely, small, selfish, angry,regretful and frustrated. So frustrated.

Today I managed to drag myself out of the house but only as far as the car as I watched my children sled down the sledding hill. I sat immobilized in the van as I watched my adorable cherubic toddler sliding down the hill with her father. My face was not frozen in a smile it was frozen in a stoic stare. I watched the scene out there, happy, energetic children, my faithful, kind, long suffering husband, cheerful, functional parents with their children, and I felt dead inside. My family and the scene outside may as well have been existing in a snow globe. It all looked so beautiful and perfect and I desperately wanted to be a part of it all,  but I was separated from it. Both literally and figuratively. I was on the outside looking in. I imagined that this is what it would feel like to be dead, to be a ghost watching their loved ones go on without them. To ache with everything that was in me to be with them, to hold them, to laugh with them. But to feel held back by something that I couldn’t escape, some unseen yet overwhelmingly powerful force.

The worst of it is fading now…which is why I can type this.  I will be OK.  I have some friends who care and “get”  it, I have family who may not get it but care. I am blessed. But I’m pushing “post” on this one, because this, this is depression. It is ugly, it is horrible. It knows no season. It doesn’t care that it it is New Year’s Day or Eve. It doesn’t care that this is supposed to be the day that I start fresh and hopeful that I had all sorts of cheerful plans for this day. It doesn’t give a single damn that I have beautiful children who cry because I can’t join them at a party, a sweet husband whose heart breaks when we do this..yet again. A precious baby whose days of sitting on an adorable little sled are numbered. It doesn’t care. This is depression.  It doesn’t let me end this post with a nice little flourish, a pretty little bow, a rallying cry. It just is.  It’s a bitch.

If you know someone with depression, please know this. They are more frustrated by it than you are. They are not just wallowing. They need you to show them that you care even if they push you away, even if they ignore your calls or don’t answer the door when you come by. They need you tell them that you love them, even if they act cold and petulant and petty toward you. They don’t need you to tell them how blessed they are, how much worse their life could be and how they should snap out of it. They know that. They know that only too well, and it makes them feel 100% worse to be reminded. And they would give anything to “snap out of it”. 

They need to know that you will not give up on them and that depression is what they have, not who they are.

I hope that 2013 is treating you gently so far and it if is not, strength my friend. Things will get better. It’s hard to believe it, it’s impossible to feel it, but from experience I know it. Things will get better. xo

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leah said...

I can't say I know exactly what you're going through - but I've been on the verge of tears a few times today, while expressing to DH that I have quite a few things on my mind that I need to do better and lack motivation to do them. For example - I barely ever cook at home anymore. When I do, it's along the lines of frozen chicken fillets and canned corn. Even that doesn't happen much. On another note, I have not a single thing up my "wife/mother" sleeve that is good enough to be more fun or entertaining than one of the screens in our house - video gaming, tablets, etc., and it makes me nervous that I have nothing to do with my kids (or DH) that doesn't include us looking at a screen. Lastly, money issues that are just always there. DH is a wonderful provider, and I supplement with piano lessons (a lot of them), and still, when the van, the heater, and 2 toilets all need to be maintenance within 20 days, our savings account looks at us and laughs! That's not to mention the new set of tires we have to put on the van next oil change in February. I write these things to just put it out there that I do sympathize, at least somewhat. I'm sorry you're dealing with this and I wish terribly that we could just sit on a comfy couch in yoga pants and snuggies, eating Oreo truffles, and watch the premier episode of Downton Abbey, Season 3, letting all the other cares just disappear for a little while - together. Love and hugs.

Eden said...

You are loved, and you said it yourself... Your best, lasting hope you already know... It WILL get better, you WILL feel like you again. Just hold on, muddle through the lows the best you can and watch for the coming of the good parts.

AV said...

Thank you for this post. My 19-year old daughter was recently hospitalized for depression, and it is enlightening to find out what she might have been feeling inside. (Not pleasurable, but enlightening.) While I've had short bouts with depression (small "d"), I have no experience with big-D Depression. You are a brave soul to put it all out there.

Elaine said...

Thanks for this Kirsty. You are not alone. I too suffer from the big D. You have put into words perfectly, the way I feel when go from 100 to 0 in minutes. I am sending you lots of love.

michelle said...

I cannot even pretend to know how yu feel but I do commend you for doing this post. It will help others (like me) to better understand what depression is all about and gain a better understanding of how we can support those we love that suffer from this horrible illness. You are brave and beuatiful, a wonderful mother and wife and I hope that the cloud lifts and that the soon the sun will be playing in your life again. Love and hugs. xx

Anonymous said...

I can understand why New Year and depression go together. I always find it a kind of frightening date. All that unknown lying before you! And all those expectations. Just horrible! I echo what Michelle said. I too have had small struggles with the small d at times, but it is mild enough that my dose of Primrose Oil fixes it. I love your resolution. Something we can all consider. Authentic is a great way to live. Love you.

Nancy from Oregon said...

Wow. You have such a gift for writing. Thanks for opening up your thoughts like this; it's healing for the rest of us.

todd said...

Things will get better u hsve a true friend that loves n cares for u my whole family loves n cares for u ever need to talk im all ears ok. Love u Todd

Thalia Randall said...

I'm so sorry and sad to read this post. Love you muchly, sister. I send you thoughts and prayers because they work better than any advice I could (not) give. Love you! Xxx