I have depression. There I said it. It is not who I am, it is not what I am but it is something I live with and deal with every day. Some days are great, some days I wake up and I am ok, truly. Other days, however, not so much. Other days I wake up and feel like I can’t escape the grey cloud surrounding me. I can’t shake it; I can’t find my way through it. Those are the days I have learned it’s ok to not be ok; it’s not ok to stay that way.
I don’t write this for sympathy, I don’t want your pity but I do want awareness. Awareness for a chronic illness that affects so many that is yet unspoken about. I want people to stop suffering in silence, I want to stop feeling so alone, and I want the stigma of mental illness removed.
My depression did not begin with Motherhood. Although I did experience post-partum depression, it was not my first trip down the dark rabbit hole. I have suffered since I was a teenager. I have been to the bottom of the rabbit hole and clawed my way back. I have had the darkest of thoughts and then I have found a glimmer of light again. My children are my light, my husband is my light.
I know my husband feels the responsibility of being my light and it is a burden he lives with and a choice he made when he became my husband. My children however are too young to yet understand the significance they have in this battle of mental illness I have. I tread carefully; I never want them to feel the weight on their shoulders of their mother’s fragile mind. I also pray every day that they do not experience the thoughts I have had and that they avoid the same grey cloud I carry around with me.
I only began being so open with these struggles when I lost a friend to this illness a few years back. Knowing she was experiencing these dark days only in hindsight after the unthinkable occurred and feeling like had there been more open support available she may still be here. This may very well have not been the case but I feel that if I can make just one person feel less alone in the darkness then I am getting somewhere, because being alone in the darkness is a terrifying place to be.
I can think back on the moments, the triggers that sent me spiralling. Some were plain unavoidable such as the death of my brother and the inevitable run in’s with post-partum depression. Other triggers were slow and snuck up on me. They were a series of small things or incidents that added up to a slip backwards, after feeling like I was finally moving forward. Earlier this year I felt my grip slipping again and so I went and spoke to someone. Openly and honestly, someone I trusted without fear of judgement and someone I knew were going to offer me a plan and guidance on how to combat the beast. While it was extremely helpful and I felt I was finally going to have this under control, I am feeling myself slipping again.
So this week, it’s back to the doctor. It’s back to talking about it with a professional because as much as my husband tries, he does not understand. I don’t know if you can truly understand depression unless you have been there and so I hope just one person who is feeling the same as me right now, will read this and not feel alone in their darkness. Let’s make change together, let’s get better together.