Ugly word, isn’t it?
You know what else is ugly? Having to hide depression, or having to explain that what some are calling bad days, are not the same as depression.
I belong to two groups of people with hobbies similar to mine–knitting and photography. The knitting group kind of fizzled, not sure why, but they aren’t meeting regularly–just a few gather from time to time. The photography group is very consistent.
Last year, I made it to three meetings–I think. Then my sister died. I just couldn’t kick-start myself to go to any more. I did make an effort to shoot with some members, because I knew it was “good for me”, but found it hard to keep up a facade that I was okay. I felt like I was experiencing life outside my body. I think it’s called depersonalization disorder. That is also a difficult way to exist.
I have reached a point that I only need a nudge to go places instead of a hard, swift kick.
I had an online private discussion with one of the members from my photography club this morning. We were discussing skills and sharing knowledge. The response was that I needed to come to more meetings and competitions. That’s how I’ll learn to become more proficient.
I have shot with this person on several occasions. I don’t know her real well, but well enough to know she has a huge heart. I explained that I have struggled with depression this last year. I got the usual “I struggle all the time too. I know what you’re going through. I have to kick myself in the rear to go sometimes, you need to do the same”.
I felt like crying–I did cry. I don’t want to have to tell my story again. I’m trying to move beyond it. Retelling it makes my mind return to all that I have survived. However, the compulsion to retell it remains strong. I feel a need to list off how I’ve flapped around in the water, almost drowning, someone throws me a life preserver ring, I pull myself up—then get thrown back into the water—over and over again.
This isn’t something a person who hasn’t experienced true depression can understand. Pushing ourselves to move is extremely difficult. Getting out of bed is impossible. Eating, thinking, feeling—all impossible.
I won’t repeat my story, but why does it make me want to cry when I’m trying to explain why I have been distant? Do I seriously need to let them know that I wasn’t seriously flaking out, I was struggling to live? Does it even matter if they understand? Why do I feel compelled to make them see what it’s like through my eyes, and the way I distort reality?
I am moving forward, but it is so easy for something to trigger a response which sends me spiraling. I can stop it, I believe I have enough tools to hang on before reaching the bottom.
I’m going to get outside today. I do have to drag myself to the grocery store. I will go even if I’m red-eyed. My depression doesn’t have to define me, unless I let it. I have worked very hard to live without the feeling of existing. I will never be able to make someone see what they haven’t experienced. It’s kind of like explaining giving birth, or menstrual cramps to a man.