Depression and Anxiety have been part of my life for a very long time. As I child, I had trauma. As an adult, I’ve had loss and a super fun medley of profound stressors. All my depression, and more recently this baffling anxiety, usually had circumstantial counterparts. Not this time.
I’ve been taking a low dose anti depressant since my last big “dip”, 10 months ago. I had another bad spell right around New Years this year. Both times, life events outside my control, took a toll that manifested ultimately in depression with a sweet side of anxiety. My life’s big stressor right now is the end of school for my kids. Well meaning folks involved in the education of my children schedule a shit load of stuff to wrap up the school year. It also feels stressful to me to think about having my kids home with me for long stretches of time. I have learned that I need “X” amount of alone time, AWAY FROM MY KIDS, to avoid “a dip”. But I’m already creeping into the second week of being low and “off”, the kids are two short days away from freedom. Though these parenting related stressors are for sure real and valid, I don’t think I can pin this dip on them. This one is different.
I feel like for the first time, I could feel my body and brain just not working well together, like instead of my depression and anxiety being circumstantial, this mother fucker is just pure brain chemistry. It doesn’t feel good.
Depression and Anxiety grace the list of symptoms associated with my lipedema diagnosis, but no one knows why. These two darlings also run in my family. I’m fucking tired of trying to figure out the puzzle that accompanies this kind of health issue.
Mental health is still stigmatized, though I’m beyond grateful to be living in a time when therapy is readily available (that is, for those of us with means to pay out of pocket for this kind of care). I sure as hell could have used therapy as a kid from a dysfunctional, blue collar, hand to mouth, hard working-poor family. But once I was out in the world, I found help. I have read everything; clinical shit, spiritual shit, new age-y shit. A lot of it helped. I thank God for all the mental health education out there. But here’s the deal. I’m still sitting here depressed. A bit more than mildly, I’m solidly moderate right now, and on the rare occasions in my life I hit the higher scores, I’d knock down doors to get the care I need. My point is, this shit keeps happening.
By now, I’m on top of my self help game. I’m fucking brilliant. I have built a life full of safe meaningful relationships. I am currently engaged in work that I love and feel energized by. My kids are older and more helpful and interesting. My husband and I have made it to almost 10 years married, and have for sure, figured out how to be good partners for one another. I think an important fact has finally landed for me in a deeper-than-purely-cognitive place.
My life most likely includes the cyclical experience of these two bitches. I don’t think a future exists where I have finally mastered the consistent dose, amount of movement and perfectly formulated nourishment to avoid these fucking determined travel companions. I think I will continue to get depressed from time to time. I think I need to finally accept this and stop fighting so damn hard to rid myself of their sticky hands.
I’m going to make my peace with Depression. Depression, I will make space for you. I will let myself be down and not resist so much. I will quiet myself and find more time to be still. This I can do. I can make room for you. You are part of me and that’s ok.
Anxiety, I don’t fucking like you. You are irrational as hell and you smell bad. You cause way more pain than your cousin “D”. Why the fuck do you even exist? What the hell can you teach me and why the hell should I welcome your kind of pain and discomfort?
I guess I know you and fear run together somehow. I get that. I think love is stronger than fear. Can I be loving to you? — To myself when I feel you making noise in my rib cage? Can I make your room soft? I feel like you make the world so scary, and I have a much harder time accessing grace with you banging your fists on my windpipe. Can I breathe deep as many times as it takes for you to fucking catch your breath? I don’t know yet. But for the first time I think I want to.
Maybe loving my enemies also means loving the parts of myself I’m still tempted to treat as failure, or as the “enemy” of my being truly whole. I think this whole human, me, is a human who walks through life depressed sometimes. I think I’m going to meet with my therapist and make peace with anxiety too. Maybe its not even about them teaching me lessons, maybe its just really really basic self acceptance.
I’ll keep you posted.
I’m fucking in process and honest to God, think that might be the point.