Bone -tired, I lay outwardly still, worn out by the effort of clinging on; inside, my body was furiously busy. I had a permanent headache, as though dozens of vicious, heat-maddened wasps were massed behind my eye sockets, stinging my soft, unprotected brain…I couldn’t believe I could simultaneously be alive and feel such pain. Everything throbbed ~ Black Rainbow, by Rachel Kelly
Rachel Kelly describes the internal battle with depression so vividly. It seems so eerily interesting how individuals with depression connect with such fluidity. Every word, every comma, every notion she expresses in this beautifully written novel, resonates within me and gives me a voice when I am silenced by depression’s oppression on my ability to think. This is how I feel everyday; the intensity of this weight varies from day to day and from one stress of life to the next, but this is my life. This is the way of life for many, not just for Rachel and I, and it’s strangely comforting to know that I am not alone; especially when the normal frustrations occur of those closest to you who have never experienced that feeling of “heat-maddened wasps” behind their eyes, feel helpless in their efforts to help you.
The hurting NEED the hurting.
The intensity of my hurt this afternoon was very close to immeasurable; a hurt so exhausting that I could barely move. It was a familiar experience; dejavu. I haven’t experienced such debilitating suffering since the beginning of the relapse I am still currently enduring. This time, however, the infinite tears of frustration and angst, accompanied with feelings of helplessness and hopelessness were missing; I guess I should count my blessings. But the unfortunate return to this abyss was far from a blessing and the negative thoughts I have fought so hard to control, were like never ending attacks synonymous to the battle between Jon Snow and Ramsey Bolton; Before Sansa Stark saved the day.
I wasn’t mad, I wasn’t anxious, i had no negative thoughts even close to me; I was simply playing with my children on the ground when depression’s disregard for my little bit of progress and long awaited feeling of minimal fog, was robbed from me. I had coped well all day, colored like I was suppose to to ward off feelings of impending doom when the innocent cries of my children put me on edge, and I used all my other copimg resources to maintain vitality to the end of the day. 20 minutes prior to falling abruptly into that familiar despair, I had deployed my newest coping mechanism of getting on the ground, rolling around with Sydney, lying in her teepee next to her as I felt a strange sense of mental calm I had forgotten about; then I was robbed from that feeling in mere seconds like a thief in the night.
The mere glimpse of happiness I experienced had come to an end and I was left sitting there in my daughters’ room, motionless, unable to communicate anymore due to the heaviness of the fog, and crying for help with no physical signs of tears. As my children continued to play innocently without notice of the category 5 hurricane taking place within my body, my husband came to the rescue once again, though struggling with exhaustion from the day’s work, and I was left alone to attempt to recover as well as I have been doing recently.
10 minutes passed and recovery never came. It felt as though my brain weighed a thousand tons and the exhaustion was so great that the combination left me no choice but to close my eyes for relief. I didn’t have the strength to walk from my daughters’ bedroom to our bedroom; it is less than 10 steps away. The power of depression on your physical man is so great that it’s indescribable.
I’m sure most people who don’t understand this illness would think that it’s just pure laziness; how does she not have the strength to walk 10 steps?! It’s a simple answer; it feels as if you have muscle wasting and you are in the beginning stages of physical therapy. Weakness would be an understatement.
I finally got enough energy of what small amount I had to lay down in the bed. Anxiousness consumed me at this point and it became even harder to block the negative thoughts of frustration with feeling this way yet again, from coming in and making me feel even more weighed down. The peaceful sounds of crackling fire that played softly on my phone, a suggestion from my therapist for calming or distracting the conscious mind from being held captive, put me to sleep. Strangely, to sleep was freedom from the present and an escape from reality.
My husband let me sleep for two hours, knowing that the woes of this life and my roles and responsibilities, accompanied with this burden were worth some time to avoid thinking about in sleep’s comfort. I woke to only feel the same feeling that I feel when I wake up from slumber no matter the time of day; tired. The exhaustion and lingering frustration made me defensive toward Derrick’s encouragement to get up. He too was still feeling the effects of a hard work day and slumped into a space of lack of motivation as well, but was more in touch with reason nonetheless, compared to my clouded vision, and I eventually succumbed to his advice; we have a responsibility to BE THERE for our children and we have to push pass the effects of this illness that not only affects me, but also affects Derrick who has taken on so much due to my sometimes paralyzingly new reality.
Its hard though. It saddens me to feel like I don’t want to do anything in these weighing times, like I’m not a good mother because I feel selfish during these moments, but it’s hard to force a smile and act like you are the worlds greatest mother when you are gasping for air inside. But nonetheless, I get up, because my love for my girls far outweighs my agony. I will do anything for them and that is why I chose to be hospitalized in order to get to where I am now; sometimes horrific moments like these, but not as frequent as before. PROGRESS.
Since it’s Friday, Derrick picked up a red box movie on his way home and I had recovered enough, through being around the laughter and warm embraces from my girls, to watch the movie; the Charlie Brown movie. Though the movie disinterested the girls and I, leading us to venture into the kitchen in response to Sydney’s requests for pink paint on her nails, Derrick watched with contentment and I suddenly felt that near happiness that left me many hours before. That moment was merely temporary and I felt an increased sense of gratitude for my ability to wait out a storm that I felt would never end.
As I lie here reflecting on what happened today, while still feeling a lingering throbbing of mental exhaustion, I can’t help but relish in what I learned from today. There is not one thing in this journey with battling depression that is going to keep me grounded and hopeful. It is going to take a village to work together to bring back the woman I am so eager to meet again; me. Prescriptions alone won’t fix this, near perfect coping won’t fix this, and my therapist can’t fix this for me, but with these necessities, a will to fight, and heeding to the advice of my support system, I know everyday won’t come without challenge, but I’m holding onto faith that this turmoil will not be in vain.