Today I showered. That was it. That’s all I accomplished for the entire day. I didn’t clean, or pay bills, return calls or texts and I most certainly did not set the world on fire with my cooking. I showered. I got up and noticed right away that it was back. Come once again, to sit in the pit of my stomach and fill me from the inside with its weight. Sometimes when it comes, it feels like an old friend has come to visit, bringing its familiar cold hug. I can feel its weight and I know what to expect.
But this is not a friend I want with me. This heaviness is not something I want to carry. This is a relationship that is hurtful, shameful, confusing and I want it to end. I don’t know how to end it, or smile my way free, so today I focused only on showering.
There’s not a person out there who has not heard the term depression. In fact, this post will reveal nothing new, nothing that hasn’t been described or talked about before. I have no research facts, or studies to quote. I’m here only to open the door to my reality, my special shade of darkness that visits, takes residence inside me and makes me flat.
I despise this heaviness that descends. Whispering, “It’s not worth getting up tomorrow, because I will still be there. I’ll block the light, I’ll dampen the joy.” It hugs me in a sick embrace that leaves me tired, defeated and scared. I roll my eyes because I look around and I see the beauty, I see the joy and I see the smiles. I have people who care about me, I have love to be shared and experiences to be had. I see all of this goodness and yet, I sit shivering inside, because I feel none of it. I’m numb to the good and can only feel the cold, the fear, the heaviness of responsibility and worry and stress, that flatten me.
So, on the days when I wake and am flat, shivering under the covers because I know what waits for me in the hours ahead, I focus on showering. I allow the warmth to hug me, I breathe in the steam. I clean away my self-loathing, if only for a moment and I whisper, “It IS worth getting up today because I need to shower.” I dry myself off, skipping the tears that come, letting them keep my face damp because it feels good to get some of the pain outside of my body. I let them come and I congratulate myself on getting up, getting showered and fighting back.
There is no easy fix for this. There is no pill. This is an on-going battle between me and my visitor for control. My solace is the understanding that I am not alone in my depression. I have people who care and they are there to hold me up, to pick up where I leave off and let me battle my darkness. I’m very fortunate in that regard, I have a net. I have people who will not roll their eyes, who will do the very best thing for me and simply say, “I love you. I’m here.”
They love me. They’re here.
“I will win. I will see the light and I will feel the joy,” I whisper. If not today, then maybe tomorrow. And if not tomorrow, then I will be ok because I will keep fighting; before, during and after my shower.