Depression is an insidious disease. It creeps in, chipping away at a person, taking bits that eventually become chunks, until all that is left is a shell. An empty, hollow shell.
There is no emotion left only dullness. A person goes through the motions of life, yet feels detached from life. It’s like living down a long hallway. The world is at the other end of the hall. You can’t see or hear anyone plainly, you know their joy and their pain but it does not touch you.
When Selene finally finished high school at the alternative school; I was happy, ecstatically happy. I didn’t actually feel happy, I knew I was happy but all I could feel was dull. It was all I could do to hug her and say in my flat voice, “I am so proud of you for sticking in and finishing.”
It took months and many different anti-depressants before I could feel again. Our niece, Cherish, was spending the weekend. She was at the dining room table eating breakfast. Scott was going to run to the store. I caught him just outside Selene’s bedroom and whispered for him to bring back donuts. Selene spoke up, “Get me a bearclaw.”
We thought she was asleep! I laughed. A real laugh! Cherish came running over to me, gave me a huge hug and said, “Aunt Susan, you laughed. Your real laugh. Oh, I have missed your laugh!”
It felt good to be back, even if it was just part way.
Three years after the first diagnosis of depression I was able to go to work. I enjoyed my job and was experiencing real emotions.
Until the bottom fell out again. I wrote about this depressive episode in I Get Honest with You
It’s been about 4 ½ years since the last episode. I spent the first three years completely out of touch. I don’t remember much of what happened. Except for the TV shows I enjoy, I took little enjoyment in life. Scott took me out to nice restaurants twice a month. We went to the coast with the dogs a couple of times a month. Drives to some of our old haunts took up other days.
I wrote to a friend that I felt as though I was wearing a coat of insulated armour. That armor was thick enough to keep friends and family at bay. I didn’t want anyone to see just how messed up I had become.
I found myself lying to my doctor. Even though I needed his help, I didn’t want him to know how bad it was. I had stopped bathing. Living in the same crusty clothes for days on end. Sleeping crazy hours. Eating continuously. Not communicating. I let the house go. Wouldn’t go outside because I didn’t want people to look at me.
In the past year I have been trying hard to come back. I want to be me again! I was active in our community. I volunteered with Girl Scouts, Women’s Crisis Service, and GFWC among other groups. I ran a cooperative pre-school and was asked to stay on after Selene left for 1st grade (couldn’t without a change in bylaws.) I oversaw the Girl Scout Troop Leaders in our county, hire, fire, evaluate, just like any boss. I put on Council wide programs for 600 girls. I was a force!
It’s been slow work. I still get anxious when I go shopping. I cannot walk the dogs, yet. My house is messy but at least I try. I don’t bathe often enough or brush my teeth. Going to visit our three Dads is difficult. I can talk with Dad on the phone. I want to drive over to see him. And to see my Step-Dad. Scott’s Dad lives up the hill. For some reason my truck doesn’t like to go that direction.
These are things I am working on. I’ll get there. This blog is helping me. Some of my posts are bland; well, I’m bland too. I’ve got to learn how to use the Blue-Tooth to get my phone pictures on the computer so I can use them to spice up my blogs.
And that is my way out of this depression; learning. Whenever I am actively learning something I begin to chip at that insulated armor. One day I will break free.