One of the most important things that I learned when I got clean and sober was that my depression hadn’t gone anywhere. It hadn’t gone away, or diminished at all. In fact, it grew and grew and came to be so pervasive in my being that it took all of my effort to keep myself from collapsing into a heap of tears and sobbing.
I don’t have good days and bad days. I have days where I have depression. That’s it. There is no alternative for me. Everyday I feel sad. Everyday I think about death. Everyday I wonder what it would be like to not wake up the next morning.
And then I get up, and I go through the motions of life. Because that’s all I have. I don’t feel joy the way a person should, I don’t have confidence in myself the way that others do.
I am reminded of a trip that I took to the hospital years ago. When asked to rate my pain on a scale of 1, being no pain, and 10, being the worst pain of my life, I said that it was a 10. I had been through this process many, many times before and I knew to expect suspicion and doubt. I was then made aware that an answer of 10 was a little ridiculous, and then critiqued and questioned about it for another 10 minutes. Eventually, I was told that maybe if my pain was that bad, I should reevaluate my baseline.
Meaning that if my pain was truly at a 10, but that normally my pain was at a 5, really I was only experiencing a 5 relative to my baseline. Although the pain that I was experiencing at this juncture in my life has long since gone away, I still find this experience relevant to my current situation.
Imagine being upset, really upset. And now imagine trying to figure out why you are upset, so that you can try and make yourself happy. Imagine searching and searching, never getting any closer, never gathering any more clues, never cracking the case. What do you do?
What do you do day after day after day? How long can you put on a happy face and pretend to interact witht the world the way everyone else does?
What does it mean to not feel this way? What is it like to forget your worries? How do you lose yourself in your work? How does it feel to love yourself for who you are?
The only thing that I can do is function, because that is what is expected of me. All I can do is float through daily life, coasting on autopilot, watching as the days turn into weeks turn into months, and then back into days. What is the alternative? To be positive? To exercise more? Medication? Therapy? I’ve stopped looking for a solution to the problem, and instead focused on weathering the storm.
Depression is a storm. It is an endless typhoon sucking up all the happiness and ignorance of life, and spitting out deprecation and sorrow.
All I can hope for is an umbrella.