I started a blog weeks ago called Blogging from a Good Place.... and never completed it for, well reasons. May is Mental Health Awareness month and I am just acknowledging that I spent the first half of this month unaware of my mental health. *sigh*
So, I will say this now. I have been having quite a battle with depression lately.
It was functional. If you weren't my mama or my closest friends you probably would not have known. I even tried to overlook it myself until one day about 2 weeks ago I sat down in my living room, turned on my tv and there it was staring me in my face, indisputable evidence of my depressed condition. My cable box has a power-save mode and when you turn it on, it tells you how long it's been in power-save mode. There it was on digital display, a numeric breakdown of how long I've been in this depression. 460+ hours.... That's 19 days. (full disclosure I was out of town a FEW of those days, but that was almost in the middle of those days, so it still counts... keep reading)
That's 19 days of me coming home, bypassing my living room and getting directly in the bed. That's 19 days of me laying in bed until it was time to be somewhere. That's 19 days of me not cooking dinner while watching DVR or TV or Netflix or listening to Pandora. That's 19 days of me convincing myself I was just exhausted and needed more rest. That's 19 days of a gray cloud in my home that I had convinced myself did not exist. I was still going out with friends and laughing and joking and fulfilling my duties at all of my jobs. But I was going to church on those Sundays and feeling so heavy and uncertain that people took notice. I thank God for those people who, at the time were upsetting me by constantly hugging me and asking if I was okay. Those people were a reminder that I was seen and I did not have to deal with this alone. I know that now, but then, I was annoyed!
I was also supposed to be in a new relationship (that's a story I may or may not ever tell here). But know that the way that relationship was going was a catalyst for this 19 days. Uncertainty, misunderstanding, poor communication and what boils down to emotional manipulation are not a great mix for newfound like.
So there I was on my couch a few weekends ago staring at my depression on digital display. I was thinking to myself, "Oh honey, no. This is not okay!" But it made sense. I was ignoring the signs and downplaying the symptoms and explaining away the cause. But my DVR was like, "Nah, girl, you need to see this."
Sometimes we can overlook depression because it's not manifesting physically. Because we can still wake up every morning and get dressed and put on make up and go out into the world, we think we're fine. Because we are only crying on Sunday and maybe for about 5 minutes on Thursday, we think we're fine. Because we still have an appetite and a desire to go out with our friends, we think we're fine. Because we still want to live life and be hopeful, we think we're fine. However, it's the little things that let you know you aren't as fine as you are convincing yourself you are. And you know you are convincing yourself because otherwise you wouldn't have been able to explain anything away because there would be nothing to explain.
Don't be fooled into thinking that depression (or a depressive episode) looks a certain way.
It's not always:
- laying in bed crying everyday- I only cried about 4 times over that 19 days and only twice did it occur in bed.
- hiding from everyone and wanting to be alone- I was everywhere I was supposed to be and then some!
- leaving out of your house looking a mess- I was still out in these streets cute as ever... hair done, nails done, everything did!
- the constant feelings of fatigue- going from the front door to the bed everyday for 19 days.
- persistent anxiety- I woke up almost every morning feeling nauseated, I even threw up a few times.
- being hard on yourself- I was blaming myself for any and everything that was going wrong personally and professionally.
- trouble focusing- my mind was much like my current Chrome browser, 20 tabs open at once. But my brain was clicking through them all in random order at random times!
- irritability- I was more agitated than usual, if you can believe that. I was ready to quit jobs and people. Full disclosure- I unfriended, unfollowed and muted several people during this time for various reasons.
These are just a few of the things I was experiencing and ignoring or suppressing or explaining away until my DVR called me out. I leaned on a few people to lift myself up: my mama, my God, my therapist, my girls, and my primary care physician. I'm still climbing out of the dimness that was threatening to turn into darkness.
Pay attention to what your body is telling you. Pay attention to what the universe is telling you. Sometimes the message comes from the cable box!
I urge you to get the medication, get the therapy, get the hugs, get the sage, get the prayer, get the help!
(side note: there was a graphic I found to go with this about Mental Health Awareness but there was a typo on it so I decided not to use it because, I don't play that! lol)