Have you ever known a storm was coming and knowing that losing power was likely, thought about gathering the flashlights, candles and matches but put it off and then found yourself stumbling around in the dark?
That is kind of how I deal with depression.
The gray slowly starts to form on the horizon. I see it out there in the distance and think about doing a little check-in, make sure I’m taking precautions but instead avert my eyes and busy my mind. The next time I look up, the horizon is dark and the gray is tainting everything within eyesight. It’s easy to explain it away with situational stress, a rough night’s sleep or physical pain wearing me down, which happens on occasion but I know that I’m avoiding reality and I know that isn’t going to work out in my favor.
Why can’t I heed the signs?
They are like swinging light bulbs in a basement… creepy, yet beneficial.
*When I’m standing in the shower wondering if it’s really necessary to brush my teeth when I get out, I know that I need to keep a flashlight close just in case the darkness closes in on me faster than expected.
*When I’m asked why I’m not eating, it’s time to turn the flashlight on, shine some light and walk in a different direction to avoid the darkness and isolation that coats me like molasses. It doesn’t matter if I’m in a crowded room of strangers or next to my partner that loves me no matter what, I feel alone.
*When the OCD that I have to keep in check daily is bringing me to tears with the slightest touch of “icky” and sets me running off to the sink, then I know that I’m not just knee deep in chaos from our recent move and I need to get flashlights in both hands (even if I need rubber gloves to hold them).
Those are three major indicators that I need to alert those around me. I’m either skirting around the edges of darkness or already smack dab in the middle of it and need to reach out.
Words are powerful and sometimes the unspoken ones harm the most.
I fear depression like nothing else- talking about it can save me from isolation but it’s also the thing that’s hardest to do. When the signs are there, if I can simply say that I’m scared depression is chasing me down, many times that’s enough keep it at bay.
When I’ve crossed the fine line of fear to numbness, it’s harder to reach out for help. I may not realize how close I am to the edge or in all honesty, I may not have enough in me to care.
Most of the time my pride keeps me stuck. I want to be ‘strong’ and spare my loved ones from worry. I tell myself, “I’ve beat it before, I’ll do it again. No sense getting anyone else involved.” It’s a common phrase that runs through my head and usually shortly after I kick myself into gear and ask for help because I may be able to beat it on my own but I have a wonderful family and together, I move out of the darkness faster.
Last week I read a post by @HonestMom
It really hit home because I knew in my heart of hearts that I was sinking but I didn’t want to say anything. I rationalized my silence with the thought that speaking about depression would give it more power to consume me. The reality is; voicing my fears about it loosens its hold and allows honesty with myself and my feelings (or lack thereof).
That post was like a random flashlight, sitting in just the right location that when the storm got closer and the gray clouds darkened, I had protection from wandering aimlessly in the dark. Because of that one flashlight being in just the right spot at just the right time, I spoke up and am armed with an arsenal of flashlights and spare batteries.
I can feel the storm clouds breaking up already.