Today is a milestone day, folks. I finally cleaned my house for starters, which may not sound like much to you, but considering that the dust bunnies had grown so large they were actually wrestling the vacuum from my hands, it is a big deal to me. Now normally, I avoid housecleaning with the same intense ferocity as I avoid great white sharks when I’m out in the ocean, but today I have hope, and hope leads to wanting to improve myself, which naturally leads to wanting to improve my surroundings. For me, my house completely reflects where I’m at, if it’s messy, chances are my mind is taking off on a tangent as depressing as it is unnecessary, if the house is clean, I’m happy and working on something exciting. There really isn’t an in-between in my world. I’m either happy or sad. There is seldom a gray area in my world; I’m one or the other, black or white and absolutely nothing in-between.
So, today, I cleaned. I did this because my world is starting to change for the better, and it was time to reflect those changes in my surroundings. I don’t think it wise to say too much about what those changes are, as I don’t really know how things are going to play out as yet. Suffice it to say that I finally found the courage to email a person that I very much respect and admire, and this person may be able to help me to make some of my goals into a reality. Two amazing things could come of this, the first being that I will finally be able to make some money off of my writing, and the second being that I think I’ve a great deal to learn from this individual, and I’m honored to have her help on this project. All of this means that I finally have some hope again, and let me tell you, hope has been a hell of a rare commodity round here lately.
A lot of that comes from my world changing so dramatically after I found out that I was physically unable to work in the conventional sense any more. I went through so many emotions, from high to low, from hating myself to loving the lack of schedule in my world. The worst part of all of this was suddenly finding myself with all this time on my hands with which to think. I sat and thought, and thought…and thought. Nothing is more deadly to a person that is prone to depression than too much thinking. As a result, I slipped into some dark places and some even darker times. I can’t tell you why…depression is not something that tends to offer an answer or solution. Depression is something that just is, something that takes your personality without warning and bleeds your soul with no apology. I tried to fight it, but the darkness is a formidable foe, and it managed to take me places I would never want to visit again.
One thing kept me going through this time, and that one thing was the sunshine that my little girl brings to my world. For her, I willed myself well, and fought the darkness in favor of basking in her light. Children do not understand how all encompassing an emotion that blackness can become, nor should they be made to. I got through the hard times by reading my two favorite blogs on the internet, and trying to keep myself as busy as possible. I refused to admit that I was going through depression to anyone in my immediate world, namely because I was still refusing to admit it to myself. That’s the funny thing about depression. I mean, for most illnesses, a person isn’t ashamed. When I found out that my hip was shot, that my back needed disc repair and my uterus was prolapsed and needed to be removed, I told my family and my friends. No problem there; that was what was going on in my life, and that was what I told them. Depression is a totally different ballgame. It is a mental disorder, and carries with it a terrible stigma. When my sister and I were kids, I had a friend named Val who was 33 years old and chronically depressed. My mother spoke of her in desperately condescending tones, constantly reminding me that Val was a loser, a dredge of society, a leech on the welfare system.
When I was fifteen, I had my first bout with depression. I remember being ashamed of myself, and feeling that I was letting my family down. No matter how much I tried, however, I couldn’t stop feeling the way I felt. Couldn’t stop the darkness from closing in around me. It was like I was drowning in a sea of blackness, and there was no one there to help me, no one there to understand why I was so terribly sad. I remember my mother and father asking me why I felt the way I did, and I remember not being able to aptly explain how I felt. Nothing that I could point to was the cause of the feelings; nothing that I could remember created the unending emotional torture. It was just there…it just existed, and nothing I could do was stopping it, and nothing I remembered started it. All I really knew was that it was choking the life out of me, and that was enough for me to want to be out of this jail cell that my brain had decided to throw me into. Unfortunately, nothing seemed to work to make it go away…it was just always there, sapping my soul from me and stealing my personality.
I can’t really remember when it ended for me then; it’s sort of like when you’ve just broken up with someone you care deeply for. The pain is there and it’s so intense for so long, and then one day, you wake up and it’s gone. You can’t remember when it stopped or how, you just know that you feel okay again. That’s how it is with depression. With one key difference; with depression, it lurks behind your eyes, waiting for the right time, and the right moment, to come back and take you back to the depths of hell.
I’ve learned over the years how to combat the enemy to a certain degree, and busyness is something that can work. So is reading. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. There is no formula to take it away. You can think you have it all figured out, and the minute you stop for a second, it can take you down once again. My mother had a hard time understanding that, I don’t. But then,I understand only because I’ve been there more times than I care to count, sometimes for a long time, sometimes not. Only one method really works for me, and that is finding hope somehow. Something to point to that tells me it will get better, that I can win this battle of life or death. Today, I have Puddin’, and she makes me want to live everyday, even at my worst. Today, I have hope in the form of a project I desperately want to succeed. None of these things mean that pain won’t come back when I’m lying in bed at night, and the darkness surrounds me. It just means that it’s been a long time since I’ve thought of escaping that pain through death and that in and of itself is amazing to me. Hope in the form of a child, hope in the form of a woman that understands and has battled far worse demons in her time than I can ever hope to comprehend. Today is a milestone, folks. Today I feel like I can make it. For that…I am more grateful than you could ever know.