Since about August, I have been battling depression. Thanks to a long legacy of mental illness, just in my mother’s lineage alone, it is a condition that I have been in and out of most of my life.
My last stint with depression was in 2009 and lasted 5 years. It was long and brutal. I engaged in massive amounts of escapism and self destructive behaviors. (Nothing illegal as I was a mother of young children and always kept that in mind.) I went through the motions of being “human”, but inside, I was empty. If I wasn’t empty, I was angry or in emotional pain. So in most ways, it was better to just feel empty.
Over the years, I have learned some of the conditions that lead to my depression and work towards negating them as much as possible. Sometimes I simply can’t due to things outside of my control, so in that case, I find ways that allow me to not feel trapped. That can include creating, planning, setting goals and scheduling days and weeks. I learned to start using a day planner when I feel depression starting. The goal isn’t to complete everything scheduled on any given day. It’s to redirect my brain into seeing it has options, choices, things to work towards. That there is still control to be had.
Over the last month, my depression has been seeping into my daily life. With my work, I’m never scheduled consistent days, so setting up a daily schedule is more difficult, but I still try. Yesterday, I was supposed to tackle my overwhelming yard work, which I made an agreement with myself to do in small bites, do some glass work and cook. I only got the cooking done. So it goes. I don’t beat up on myself for the things I didn’t do. I cooked a ton of food, most of which has already been devoured by my stress eating daughter, but still enough to have today for lunch.
I also made plans for next year. This was important because without plans for the next year, I have nothing to live for. At the start of the pandemic, I thought about what I was living for and realized that answer was literally “nothing”. For a lot of people, that is a terrifying answer. For me, it was actually calming. I had nothing I needed to be here for. That meant, I’m here for whatever I want to experience, and that can be as much or as little as I choose.
I also made this blog because while I can do the things, I also know I need to do the internal work. The “shadow work”, as Carl Jung called it. It is work that I have done without realizing it in the past, and this blog allows me the chance to talk openly about the darker parts of my brain and those things that I want to shed to become one of those wild women of wisdom. I know I will never fully transcend to one of those women because I will never give up my desire to throat punch people who greatly deserve it, but that’s okay. I think a little sharpness is a good thing. Keeps the blood pumping fire through the veins.
I’ve given myself the rest of this year to exist in the emotions I have now, which contain a lot of different feelings. A lot of hurt, a lot of tears that haven’t been shed, a lot of anger at people who should know how to be better people, a lot of self pity, because after all, depression is all about yourself, and the deep feeling of wanting to completely give up and let everything fall apart, but knowing you can’t because you’re better than that. It’s all jumbled up in my head. The only bonus this time is that my “evil brain” is no longer with me telling me I’m useless and worthless. I have at least been able to reprogram it to encourage me that it’s okay to have these feelings, to embrace them but not accept them as the reality.
In the end, I’m a fighter. It’s the one thing I’m good at.