I looked straight at my doctor today and said, “Oh, you know…I’ve been a little sad lately….” And then my mouth opened up and poured a heavy list of life happenings into his hands, before I said, “but you know, I’ll cheer up….”
He nodded, wanted to add more medication on top of what I’m already taking to “cheer myself up” but seriously, it’s just more upon more. I remind him that depression is not sadness, but he’s too busy talking. I let it go. This journey has been longer than my short time knowing the doc.
“Sadness is more or less like a head cold – with patience, it passes. Depression is like cancer.”Barbara Kingsolver
I often blame myself–I am NOT working nearly hard enough as I should be, so of course, I’m not successful! Then I blame my circumstance: teaching killed my spirit and created a fear in me I never knew I would endure. Public anxiety, much? For god sakes, get over it, already! But then…
I flip, I flop, I am up, I am down. I work, I work, I work, then I stare at the computer like it’s a slot machine that will DO something wonderful, cheerful, miraculous, uplifting. I wish, I pray, I get up, I take a shower, I walk the dogs, I measure success in tiny, tiny teaspoons, and then I pour then on the floor.
Depression runs in my maternal family. There, I said it! (Please don’t tell my mother. She would be horrified.) Family maters stay in the family, which is to say, we do not speak of them, ever.
This is how my mother was raised, but my own stubborn determination to shove back at depression, and later–after 4 super fun years of inner-city subbing — acute social anxiety, rage internally.
It’s an all-or-nothing battle of beliefs: I have good sales, I am up! I don’t have a sale, I am bad–also, I have failed, I don’t work hard enough, I am not focused enough, young enough, determined enough, I am down. There is no practical inference of how bad bad is. It’s just ALL bad.
The doc has been trying to get me to go to this group thing: meditation, yoga, group hugs, bio feedback…I want to chew my arm off rather than go, but I promised–though I’ve promised before–that I will go. I will go. I will go….and all I want to do is walk, sip coffee, stare at the sky, breathe. That I can do.
I tell myself it is a journey–what a cliché. What I really believe is that happiness may not truly be for me. It may not–and I say this after many, many years–be attainable. This is not to say I am never happy! I am. I have known some great joys, but they fall upon me like leaves from a tree. I hold them for a moment and then they float on.