I struggle with depression.
I’m not sure why we use the word “struggle” for depression. That makes it seem smaller and easier than it really is. That seems more like untying a hard knot or maybe wrestling. That doesn’t seem sufficient enough to me.
Most days it’s more like an all-out war, guns blazing and bombs going off. Some day’s I’m winning, some days not. Some days I lay down my arms and wave the white flag and the depression wins the battle. Some days I’ve won the battle, and it’s locked in a cell awaiting a jailbreak. A jailbreak will always come.
I always knew there was a very large chance I would have depression sometime in my life. My mother has fought it for my whole life. I don’t remember ever not knowing that. Many others in my family fight that fight. One of my grandmothers took her life, likely from losing her war with depression. We don’t really know, she wasn’t ever diagnosed.
I’ve watched for it my whole life, wondering if it would come.
When my first three kids were born I watched for it. It didn’t come. I watched for it when we feared so much for Peanut. Both times. It didn’t come then either. It came when I had to go back to work after Lunchmeat was born.
Even for all my watching for it, and figuring it would come at some point, I was not prepared, I did not see it for what it was.
I spent six months crying all the way to work. I would park in the garage and pull myself together, fix my makeup and go into work. I cried whenever I thought my kids or Husband couldn’t see me. Sometimes I cried when they could.
What was really scary is what came after that, when the crying stopped and I went dead inside. So dead that I figured it would be better if I really was dead. I spend the six months’ worth of drives thinking about just driving off an overpass to end it.
Even then, even with all my knowledge and experience with other people’s depression, I didn’t know. I couldn’t see. There was nothing but blackness. I couldn’t think enough to even see what it was. Until, one day, and I don’t even know what it was that caused it, I cried again.
The deadness was gone and replacing it was this crushing, horrible pain and sorrow. Then, I was finally able to see that I was in trouble and I needed help. It took me about six more months to be able ask for it.
I finally went to the doctor, I told him what had been happening. He gave me meds. The meds took some of the burden and I could go on without being crushed. I was able to start fighting.
Fast forward another year and a half, I got pregnant. I was doing really well mentally so we decided for me to go off my meds. My OB told me if I needed them they were fine for pregnancy. I went off, I was okay. My pregnancy was a blessing in many ways, not least of all mentally. The depression got locked far away and deep down. I was very lucky that it stayed locked up for about a year after my second son was born.
About four months ago the jailbreak happened.
This time, I was much better prepared. I was more aware and I KNEW much sooner that I was in a war and I knew that my life, and the life of my family was a stake. I fought, most days, with everything I had.
Right now I feel like I’ve got it backed into a corner. If I keep doing what I’m doing I hope that it will get locked back up again.
If it does or not, I must be ever vigilant, because the jailbreak always comes.