I thought I had neglected this space long enough that I would be posting essentially anonymously again, so I was somewhat shocked by the handful of emails I got in response to my last post. The free version of Sitemeter that I've been running must only list certain types of visitors, keeping full disclosure for paying members. Whatever. The bottom line is that I thank each and every one of you for taking the time to reach out to me.

Amy and Lora - your (public) comments mean more to me than I can find words to express. It frightens me to think how dark and bleak this journey into motherhood and self would have been without the two of you quietly shining as beacons of support and strength through time and distance.

Those of you who emailed me privately, I'll respect your choice of keeping our conversation between us. This is not a comfortable subject. I'm only beginning to come to terms with it and I can only begin to guess at how awkward it must feel to have to brush shoulders with something so undefinable, unfixable by conventional methods.

My (current) theory is that this depression breeds and flourishes best in hidden places. In the dark it feeds on itself and grows uncontrollably. I'm going to do my best to keep pulling it out from the dark recesses where it curls itself. I understand if it makes you uncomfortable. I understand if you stop coming around here. I don't know that I would have been able to post if I had known you were still hanging around in the first place.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm not afraid to talk about this and I don't need to do so in hushed whispers. I'm not looking for pats on the head or to be treated with kid gloves. Anything I write here is merely an attempt to figure it out for myself. Stay, go, ask, advise, whatever. Wrestling this leviathan has me a bit preoccupied.

Sorry. I'm putting this all badly. I don't mean to sound so dismissive. I'm just trying to get a handle on this thing that I can't quite define. Where it begins, where it ends, how many heads it has. It's like stabbing in the dark at jello -- was that resistance? Did I land a blow or glance off the edge or just miss it altogether? By the time I can wriggle around to cast a light on it, I'm not sure if I'm even looking in the right place.

I didn't know. I don't think I did, either. Depression is kinda of quiet like that. You always seem so happy. I'm not UNhappy. I'm not drowning in pools of my own tears. I don't break down and sob uncontrollably at the side of the road. I smile. I laugh. I just don't seem to be able to hang onto joy for longer than a few seconds at a time. So in control. Sticking to a schedule and DOing things is much easier than FEELing things. Lists can be made, boxes checked off and the results are tangible. Justifying time spent in my head is much harder. Why didn't you tell me? It's hard to admit to being broken. If you push the sharp edges back together really tightly, you hardly notice the cracks, anyways. I'm still not certain that I can stand up to the scrutiny of your love and concern. I there something I can do? No. Yes. I have no idea. I will try really, really hard to ask for help if/when I figure out what "help" is. Let me know if you need a break. I need a break. Can you turn off the endless loop in my head? I can take Aaron for an hour or two if you need me to. I can't decide if it's better or worse to be on my own. There's still too much to sort out for me to even know where to begin. Sometimes it's easier to just shut the door on it and focus my attention elsewhere. 4 year-old boys are awfully good at creating distractions. Don't take him for me. Take him for him. Are you going to be okay? Yes. I don't know what "okay" means right now, but I am most definitely going to be whatever it is. Someday. Soon. For longer and longer stretches at a time.

Maybe it would help to have a picture of my depression. My depression is unsure. Ambiguous, ambivalent, conjectural, dubious, erratic, fitful, hazy, hesitant, iffy, incalculable, inconstant, indeterminate, indistinct, insecure, irregular, irresolute, precarious, questionable, risky, unclear, unconfirmed, undecided, unfixed, unpredictable, unreliable, unresolved, vacillating, vague, variable, wavering. My depression is phobic. Afraid, anxious, apprehensive, discomposed, disquieted, disturbed, frightened, irrational, jittery, jumpy, nervous, neurotic, panicky, scared, shy, skittish, tense, worried. My depression is intolerant. My depression is angry. My depression is relentless. My depression is overwhelming. Looming. Bewildering. My depression is exhausting.

I am so, so, so very tired.



Lora said...

Motherhood is definitely a hidden place, for sure. No one ever makes public what goes on in the house, in the car, in the mother.

Sad, really that it has to be such a secret.

Depression is a tricky bastage, for sure. I didn't recognize it in myself for quite sometime. In fact, it can be quite enjoyable- there in the dark with the voices to keep you company, to keep you on your toes, to keep you inside yourself. It is one of the few things I found privacy in after becoming a mother.

Lora said...

oh, and the anxiety that goes along with depression?

who knew, right?

and here I thought it was altogether separate.

Curiosity said...

There are a bucket load of cyber-hugs headed your way. I'm so sorry that you're having to deal with this. You will kick it, though. You're a smart lady, and it's no match for you. Also know that there are lots of us out here who understand exactly what you're saying. You're not alone. If there's anything I can do, let me know.

SheBear said...

FWIW, I've been there...bought the tshirt and the prescription drugs. We started to talk about that while you were here, but I think we got distracted by one of the thousands of children before I told you all the dark and nasty bits of my experience with it.

I agree, it flourishes in the dark. So maybe the best weapon against it is exposing it to the light?

So yeah, I've been there. 2006 was the worst year, and I've lived every year since in stark fear of going back *there*. It took me 8 months (and the person who loves me most hurting me with truthful words) to realize how deep I was, and probably another month for me to decide that I really didn't want to stay that deep, even though I had no energy nor strength to pull myself out. I honestly considered that it would be easier to just stay there. Or to just simply melt away--that was my favorite plan, but I couldn't figure out how to do it.

So yeah, somewhere/somehow I stole an ounce of strength (it sure wasn't mine!) to make a fake doctor appointment for one of the kids, write a letter so I wouldn't chicken out, and go in there and beg for help. Which I got in the form of Zoloft.

And Susie, it helped me over the hump. Gave me another 30 lbs, but what did I care?? I was living again, in color--first time in awhile! Then one day somehow I summoned up my courage to tell mom (gulp!) and you know what? She's taken medication for depression off and on over the years, too! who knew?? And what's more, all her sisters have. And at least one of her brothers. And her mother. And this is where I started to get angry, because did you know? Depression can run in families? And no one ever thought it was important enough to warn us about? All of them, dealing (or trying to deal) with it in secret, without a thought for those of us who may later face the same demons and not have a clue what we're facing until we feel we've been beaten down beyond all hope of getting up again!

It just seemed so selfish to me, that they'd kept this secret from me when I needed so badly to know. To arm myself against the ugly demon of it.

Let's make a pact, sister....fight this thing however you must (and know that I will fight with and for you in any way I can!), and then let us both be bold enough to force it into the light--for our children's sake. For our younger siblings. For anyone related to us by blood or love who may be tired and not know why...or what to do. Keep shining that light on it, Sis....spotlight, flashlight....hell, use a candle or even that nightlight we had in our room as kids. Whatever it takes. I love you.