My friend Bethany would ask: “Uh.. funny, ‘Ha, ha’? or funny, strange?”
Well, both. At times. Or neither. You know, just to be clear.
Since Christmas, I have had a slow fade back into depression. This is something I have struggled with, off and on, since my teens, so, if you know how old I am, that’s a very long time.
And, well, I woke up yesterday to that once again sinking feeling of dread that seems to wrap itself around my brain in a vice grip of fuzzy thinking and gloom. I just laid there, staring up at the ceiling fan.
“Please, Lord. I can’t do another day like this. I’m tired of trying to feel better.”
Later that day, after I had gone through all my usual list of go-tos for depression squelching:
Praying – but not too much because I get all super focused on meeeee, so:
Praying for others
Chocolate for breakfast
Good Housekeeping. Netflix. Couch. Rinse. Repeat.
Lipstick. Bright red. Goes well with my eyes.
Hot tea, like every flavor, about forty cups, until I was sloshing
I just sloshed over to my computer and knew I needed to post, but darn, it was hard to be funny. It’s really hard to be funny when you’re doomed forever, did you know that?
But then I thought, “Well, you could write about it.”
Ok. So here’s the deal. I am going to write about depression. Yea! And it won’t be hilarious, but at least it will be truth. And, here’s the other part: I am writing about this topic NOT because I am hoping it will make me feel better.
That’s the deal with depression. You have to stop wanting to “fix” it with one easy step. So, posting this is not going to solve it. Just like drinking a small bath tub of soothing camomile tea and listening to Praise Baby Pandora (don’t judge, I like it), and eating chocolate muffin in a mug for breakfast won’t fix it.
Depression doesn’t just kick off one day and say, “Oh hey! My bad! I know I have totally worn out my welcome, or wasn’t really welcomed at all, so I’ll be off. Thanks for the hospitality. I’m going to move in with the neighbor lady down the street for a few months and see what dread I can inflict on her there.”
Nope. Depression doesn’t follow basic rules of civility. It doesn’t play well with others. It has no set goals or mission statements or any sort of POINT, a lot of times. It couldn’t tell you at all how it sees itself a year from now. It doesn’t really care.
You can try to figure it out – is it hormones? Or bad memories? Or that I can’t drink anymore? Or that I am slowly going crazy?
No. And yes. And maybe all of these, combined, in different amounts. But sometimes. Sort of.
So, you see?
Depression is such a pain in the ass.
(I am SORRY. I know. I rarely use the potty words here. But this time? IT IS SO MERITED.)
Here’s what I DO know about depression (for me):
1. It makes me immobile.
2. It makes me want to cry a lot, which is kind of weird, like when you’re at Scott’s and they are out of your favorite hazelnut creamer and you tear up like one of those sad soap opera women but with less makeup.
3. It makes me feel like having very basic conversations like this: “Hi! How are you? Isn’t it a pretty day?” is about as impossible as if you were in one of those bad dreams where you had to speak Swahili, while naked, in front of an audience of angry people.
4. It is really good at convincing you that you will never, ever feel better.
Here’s what I don’t know about depression:
3. What the what?
I have tried. I have read books, gone to counselors, researched, asked questions, got my hormones read, got my palm read (not really but I considered it), and basically busted my hiney trying to lick this thing.
And here is what I have deduced, after all these years:
Sometimes it’s hormonal. It helps me a lot to keep track of my monthly, you know, visits from Auntie Flo (so trying to be delicate here, right? Because calling it Aunt Flo is sooooo cute too). I put a cute little Satan emoji on my google calendar whenever that fabulousness hits my uterus.
Sometimes it’s attached to bad stuff. When my brother died, I kinda walked into a pit of despair for some months. Of course. Eventually, I escaped. And for that I am sure Chris would be happy.
Sometimes it is attached to my recovery. If I haven’t been to a meeting in ages, or I am triggered, or I see one of those beer commercials on tv during a Chiefs game and then, “Lookit! All THOSE people are drinking a lot and they are all so HAPPY! And cutely DRESSED. And they keep high-fiving each other! I wanna wear sparkly tops and high-five people in a bar too!”
And sometimes? I have no idea. I have no freaking clue. It’s like the weather in Kansas. We can try to predict, but sometimes? Our weather just be nutball, ya’ll.
No, I am not saying I am nutball. (The lawyer just rolled his eyes.)
For those of you who are going to worry:
Yes, I have counseling in place and yes doctors and yes even a serotonin med, and yes, my sweet Lord has helped me with this all my life – He’s not going to stop. And neither am I.
I’m not going to stop trying to feel better. But on the days when I feel like crap, I at least pray:
Dear Jesus. Lord with me. If I have to feel lousy today, fine. I will put my tools in place. I’ll do the next best thing. But I am so glad, even in my sadness, that You are here to be sad with me. You get sadness, I know.”
And, the funny thing is? Depression has taught me more about happiness and contentment than I ever thought possible.