Well, yesterday’s post was a real bummer. Sorry about that, average of 1.2 people who read my blog every month. This is the part where I would normally make a self-deprecating joke and delete the post.
Not going to do that this time. Even though I feel much better today, what I wrote yesterday was real. I rarely talk about my depression. I need to change that. Who is going to work toward removing the stigma? I am. Ahem.
I don’t think I’ve ever written in depth about my health care issues. I have “dysthymia, with recurring major depressive episodes” which basically means that I am chronically depressed and sometimes I get so depressed that I can’t get out of bed in the morning. I take medication every day and likely will need to keep doing that all my life if I want to continue to be alive.
Major depression isn’t like sadness. It isn’t something that can be talked away in therapy and it can be surprisingly difficult to get rid of even with medication. It is an experience I hope never to go through again. In fact, I am so afraid of falling into that pit again that any time I get sad, for any reason, I panic.
My goto defense mechanism against all this yuck is denial. At the first sign of sadness or anxiety, my body and mind go full on into “ignore this” mode. I have disassociated so hard at times that I seem to wake up after a fog days or even weeks later with a really fuzzy grasp of where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing. Looking back over my past is like looking at a patchwork quilt with many of the pieces missing or so frayed as to be unrecognizable.
My therapists have been encouraging me for a long time to try to sit with my anxiety and sadness, to let myself feel it because after all it’s already there, to examine it and recognize what physical sensations it creates, or it’s made up of or whatever. It was so hard to do that, so scary. But, yesterday I really tried it. I also deliberately worked on some of my other coping mechanisms — physical exercise, meditation, and writing down my feelings.
I’m still sad. But, I’m ok with that (mostly). When someone you care for dies, it’s normal to be sad. I need to give myself the space for that. I realize that disappearing into a fog of denial is not terribly much better than falling into the pit.
So, deep sigh. One day at a time.