Living with depression is like living with a fog between me and the rest of my life. Some days the fog is thin and easily pierced by love and gratitude and human connection. Some days the fog is thick and I have to really work to push my way through it. Some days the fog is so dense it seems impossible to penetrate. I am distinct from the fog, but it permaeates every aspect of my life--my relationships, my parenting, my home life, my job, my spiritual life, my marriage, my driving, oh, I could go on...
I live with depression every day. Some things help, like beauty and order and solitude and companionship and prayer and walks in the woods and tea and red wine and laughter and prozac and therapy and friendship and the love of my family. But because depression isn't just one thing happening in my brain, there will never be just one solution for it. And so each day is new. When I wake up, I wonder, "How will today be? How can I be myself today, no matter what I am feeling?" Some days, there is no energy to even ask those questions, any questions.
Depression is a common condition that affects most of us at some time in our life. For most of us, these depressive episodes pass through like a rainstorm, but eventually they resolve themselves and we bounce back to our normal state of balance. For some, the patterns of anxiety reactions do not lift so easily and the same negative thoughts repeat over and over like a broken record player. This reliving and re-experiencing emotional agitation and pain is a major source of stress and leaves us feeling exhausted and unable to cope. We become apathetic and feel our life energy draining away.
--Peter Strong, MD, from an article in Psychology Today
I have been trying to practice gentle curiosity toward myself recently. Observing my depression is one way to get some distance and some perspective on it for me. Sometimes I take pictures that help me remember how beautiful the world is. Sometimes I read books about depression. Sometimes I read Winnie the Pooh, and am reminded that "we can't all and some of us don't."
"Good morning, Eeyore," said Pooh.
"Good morning, Pooh Bear," said Eeyore gloomily. "If it is a good morning, which I doubt," said he.
"Why, what's the matter?"
"Nothing, Pooh Bear, nothing. We can't all, and some of us don't. That's all there is to it."
"Can't all what?" said Pooh, rubbing his nose.
"Gaiety. Song-and-dance. Here we go round the mulberry bush."
A. A. Milne
From book Winnie the Pooh
PLEASE NOTE: I wrote this blog post for myself, because sometimes talking about depression out loud helps me to gain perspective on it. It's really hard to write about on a blog, because you can't hear my tone or see my face. I'm okay right now, sitting on my couch by my woodstove, so this is not some veiled cry for help. This is just to say, sometimes it's hard. And I know I'm not the only one. So maybe by putting this out there, someone else will feel less alone.