I am going to a charity ball on Friday night for Lifeline. It’s the inaugural Black Diamond Ball and it is going to be great fun. But I wanted to take a moment and just acknowledge my amazing community of Twitter friends, a lot of whom are going to the ball, but who have also courageously shared their stories about their struggles with depression in the last few weeks. I want to particularly single out my friend Seb, who has set up this brilliant blog where he pours his heart out. Tell me you aren’t instantly smitten with this man. I dare you.
Which, sort of makes it my turn. I blogged last week about being diagnosed with ADHD and how weird that is. And obviously with the stresses of the last 2 years (premature baby, financial problems, health problems, Jason’s injury, grandma’s death) it is understandable that even the most rock solid person would be tested. And I am still very much in grieving mode. I am still aching inside whenever I think about my dear Grandma and how much I miss her already.
People spoke to me through this process as if I was coping well, when inside, I really, truly, was not. I am good at pretending everything is OK, but of course Jason bears the brunt of it. I take Cymbalta to help me get through the day and sometimes it is not enough, and so sometimes I smoke or drink to numb when things are stressful.
I have been depressed for many, many years. In fact, if you held a gun to my head I would probably say that I have been depressed for most of my life. Part of it was the curse of being “gifted” and always feeling different to other kids, but part of it was always how I had such a low opinion of myself that I was my own worst enemy.
I am going to confess something to you. It’s hard work. Without a combination of anti-depressants, stimulants, painkillers and hormones, I am a babbling, crying, screaming, irrational mess. This cool, calm, fairly snarky but otherwise quite together person is not only expensive to maintain, it’s hard work some days. I suffer from clinical depression. I need to be on medications for the rest of my life. And I am forever thankful that I live in 2010 where a) I can get the appropriate treatment and b) people, for the most part, don’t judge.
I find it hard to talk about because people still misunderstand. They think that because I am depressed that I am not happy with my life. My Grandma was a big one for never truly understanding that suffering depression is not about being unhappy with your life. She never understood that you could be miserable and suffering even if you didn’t have a reason for it. In fact, it’s really only clinical depression if there is no reason… but she found it hard to believe.
I find it hard to experience real joy. And my mood often cycles. I assume that every single person that meets me hates me, or finds me a nuisance, or whatever. I don’t take compliments. And despite my bravado, I truly aim very hard to please others because I never feel good enough.
I have a lot of anger and resentment about my “parents”, and as much as I try not to be a mean person, sometimes I am. I lose my temper a LOT. I sabotage friendships, I get paranoid and jealous and have been known to hurl things at my husband’s head. It’s certainly… tumultuous.
But, I do OK. I try to be positive and take pleasure in the little moments, and the medications help a lot. But, I just felt like with a few other friends being open about it and me going to the ball, that it might help others to talk about it as well.