Here we are… back for our final blog post (for now) on depression. Thanks for reading and allowing me to share this journey with you. I want you to keep in mind that this may be my story, but honestly, my name doesn’t matter! It can actually be anyone’s narrative.
I might be the person sitting next to you at work who is on the quiet side. I could be the teen you see riding the bus home from school sitting by himself with his head leaning against the window. I may be the new mom who has a smile on her lips that doesn’t quite reach her eyes! I can be the person in the store who you think is mean or crabby, but who just doesn’t have the energy to smile. It’s so hard to be able to judge why people act the way they do. We never know what another person is going through or who they really are at first glance. It’s sort of like a Super Hero in their ‘day clothes’. You can you look closely at them, but you may never know that you are looking upon a warrior.
Over the years I have met some pretty wonderful people who I learned, through candid conversation, have also suffered through this wonderful amusement park of nastiness just like me. They have their Super Hero cape hidden under their clothing as well, although you’d never guess it.
It was always extremely helpful to know that I wasn’t alone… even though I always felt alone. You see, it’s so hard to explain depression to someone who has never had depression. More often than not they often believe, like I did before Postpartum Depression knocked on my door, that it was a mind over emotion thing and didn’t really exist. There is no real way to explain what it feels like to be without hope, or the will or energy to find hope. It is helpful for another person to recognize the level of dedication and strength it takes to simply pull yourself out of bed in the morning. Sometimes validation is empowering!
There are some days when you’ve accomplished the most difficult task of your day, simply getting up and getting ready. You might be on your way to work or to do some other errand and it hits you. You are so depressed that nothing can make you happy, not thoughts of your beautiful children or your adorable dog! How can that be possible? You are shocked, disgusted and ashamed… at least you would be if you could work up the energy for all of that emotion.
You actually feel like you are not really connected to anything around you. The radio is on, but you’re not listening… Unless, of course, Linkin Park or Evanescence is playing… then somehow you accept their invitation and you climb into their words and feel at home! It is the only company that you can bare to be around because nothing will be expected from you… not even a smile.
It’s hard to be depressed because it’s not a visible illness. If you had a visible illness, then nothing would be expected of you. You would be allowed to rest up and get better. But, when you suffer from this disease, your suffering is usually inside. You only exist as a shadow of yourself; unless you have a friend or family member who recognizes the signs, or you can ignore the voices in your head telling you that you’re better off this way, you’ll never get better.
I’d like to say that I eventually got a one-way ticket back home to my happy place, but sadly I end up escorted back there to the darkness every once in a while. The bully just shows up at my door and escorts me back to the place of sadness and shadows. I’ve learned to see him coming and proactively prevent him from getting too close. Sometimes I don’t go quietly. I won’t let him take me without a fight. Sometimes I even win the battle!
You eventually get so practiced at the trip back home that it gets easier each time. That’s the thing about success ~ it gives you hope! Hope is a feeling that is strong enough to fight the bully and strong enough to defeat him (along with medication if needed). When you have hope and faith that something will happen, it’s easier to make it happen. It’s tough to be on a constant look out though, but you have to be vigilant because that damn bully can hang out and wait a long time. Depression has to wait, because he’s nothing without a victim! I won’t be a victim! I will keep my Super Hero cape with me at all times!
With hope, faith and belief,
Cindy Gagne Teixeira
Just like you, I wear many hats. I'm a mom, a teacher, a friend, a daughter, a sister, and a writer. I choose to laugh (and talk... and write) about my problems because crying takes too much time.