Most of you do not know. I keep many things private and choose to let only a very select number of people into my truly personal life; very few, like eight, okay nine, because, well, hairdressers.
This week I finally was able to make myself go back to yoga after a month or so of non-attendance. The teacher always asks, after an extended absence, why I have missed so many classes. I usually state something along the lines of travel, work, etc., which is partly accurate, but mostly not. This time I had the urge to tell her the truth. I have depression, and sometimes making the effort to do the things to help with that is just too daunting.
May is Mental Health month. Not as fun as national ice cream or pancake day, but still, it’s there. For some reason, unlike acceptable chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension and such, we are somehow ashamed of our mental illnesses, like it is some sort of weakness or character defect. It’s not.
I have been living with depression since my second son was born. It started as post-partum, is mostly dormant, but rears its ugly head at times of stress, or just randomly, to create an unexpected buzz kill. Over the years I have tried medication, counseling, and various sorts of self-treatment, from healthy choices to unhealthy forms of self-medication.
After many years at this rodeo, I know what works best for me: exercise, yoga, reading, writing, lots of long dog walks and being out in nature. And desserts, especially chocolate ones. Here’s a fun hint for you readers who do not know me well, if I haven’t posted in a month or so, I probably am struggling.
The last few weeks have been a build-up of stress due to family issues, life changes and, well, life. The straw that broke the camel’s back was when I was kind of obligated to re-visit a very painful part of my past. I have been trying to shut the door on this for quite a while, but I am really hoping to get to the point of being able to slam the crap out of it, Old Cheri style, in the near future. I think I’m getting there.
I’m climbing back out of the familiar rabbit hole and feeling better. I hope the remission lasts a very long time. Sometimes it does.
One of my very happily married friends mentioned that she thinks the key to a good marriage is knowing all the crazy idiosyncrasies and weirdness of your partner, and accepting those traits as an integral part of the overall package.
I think there is really no such thing as “normal.” Everyone has their issues and struggles. I would ask that you take a moment before your judge. During rough patches, I also get graced with debilitating social anxiety. It might seem to you like I am just odd or awkward. Yes, I see the looks passed among you. Let me tell you that on some days, getting up, getting dressed and going into a situation I don’t want to be in is like a twenty- mile mountain climb, in heels.
I know there are many of you who have similar issues. I think often, those with depression have a deeper sensitivity towards others, a mixed blessing, for sure. I see your struggles, and I empathize.
But there is no joy without knowing pain, and the world looks just a bit more Technicolor every time I climb back out of my cave. I am me, warts and all, and I wouldn’t change a thing.