6:15. It’s time. My eyes peep open, and I can see the light blue of the morning sky through the window. I have to try harder today. I will. I will try harder than yesterday. I will do better.
Coffee warms my bones, and I begin to perk up. The morning still feels so daunting, despite the promise I made to myself when I got up. I go through the motions of dressing kids, signing papers for school, getting myself dressed but I want so badly to crawl back into that bed, turn out every light and sleep it all away.
Instead, I eagerly wash down the pills I always hope will magically take this from me, but instead they just take the edge off. At this point, I will take what I can get.
I’ve always been “a little sad.” There are things that I find exciting and things that I love to do, but for the most part, that list is relatively short. I have my own tell-tell signs that I am slipping into another one of my depression episodes: too many hot baths in one day, pulling away from people, extra likely to bite your head off if I feel the least bit attacked, finding pleasure in absolutely nothing and feeling like a complete failure to those that I love. The childhood traumas and adult complications have manifested themselves deep into my body. They loosen their hold from time to time but they never leave.
This is high-functioning depression.
While I was pregnant with my son in 2008, I began to see a counselor for what was called “baby blues” or prenatal depression. Sadness and wanting to just be alone were constant. Wasn’t I supposed to be happy? Every single photo I saw and update I read from other expecting mothers showed the complete opposite of what I was seeing in my own life. Nothing felt right. I was on edge all of the time, more than ever. I began to dread the morning. It meant I had to live through yesterday and all the days before it all over again.
Those feelings have never gone away.
Depression isn’t always staring off into space, crying or sleeping all day. My body doesn’t ache, and I don’t refuse food. I can be what appears to be someone who relatively has it together. I never stop, I work full time, I run a household, I have friends, I do things on the weekends. What is going on behind the scenes is a woman who feels completely undeserving of anything she has. It is a battle for me to do anything, including the most mundane task. I second-guess everything I do, every step I take. I am a walking thundercloud but I will never show you that.
We go through the same song and dance in the evenings that we do in the mornings, but in reverse. The highlight reel of my day would show me laughing and smiling. I have learned how to fake it pretty well but she’s still there: the person who feels inferior and hurt. I do not have to have a reason to feel this way everyday. It’s just there. How is it possible to appear happy and well all while feeling pain and darkness is something I will never know. But I am glad I have the ability to do it. If not for myself, for those that I live with.
My kids know when mom is sad. They have learned to tip-toe around me. Bless their hearts, they know the drill now. While they are asking me if I am okay, I want to ask them so badly “I love you so much but I do not understand why you love me. Why?” Everyday I want to do more. I want to turn this around. For them. Depression is a battle. You want to live so badly, but at the same time, feel like you are unworthy of anything good.
So tomorrow, like yesterday and the day before that and the day before that, I will try to pull myself from it. I will take my medications and read all of the books and go to therapy. I will make that promise to myself that when I wake up at 6:15 that I will try a little harder. There is a better version of myself just waiting to be discovered. I will never stop trying to find her.