I admit, since moving to Texas, I’ve struggled with my depression like never before. One would think that things would be getting better….I no longer have to work in cubicle hell, I’m able to stay home and homeschool our daughter, like hubs and I always talked about. I can devote hours and hours to things I care about, like my drawings, and the garden I planted. Yet I find myself so deeply depressed some days, I can barely get out of bed. The good news is, at 6 1/2 years old, my daughter is old enough to feed herself with the fruit and vegetables we always have around, and she entertains herself with reading, playing with legos, computer games, etc. The bad news is, she’s 6 1/2 years old….old enough to see my struggles and to know something is wrong. It breaks my heart when she approaches me and gives me a comforting pat on the arm.
My life took a seriously craptacular turn when *I* was six, and the events of that time and the years that followed left me with a seriously weak foundation from which I’ve done nothing significant with my life. I’m filled with self-loathing and regret. One of my biggest motivations, one of my ONLY motivations right now, is to help my daughter build a better foundation for her future than the one I had.
Towards that end, I’m on yet another new medication, but I’ve really come to believe something I read some months ago. Depression could be less about a “chemical imbalance” and more honestly just our body’s reaction to being fundamentally unhappy. So many of us are unhappy, often about things we seriously have a right to be unhappy about, but we take these pills to numb that unhappiness and make life liveable. Then we say things like “depression lies”. Well, yeah, sometimes it does, but sometimes, isn’t it spot on? Depression tells me, “you’re a failure”. My husband argues with this, as would many who love me, but, really, haven’t I failed to meet most if not all of the goals I’ve set for myself over the years? Yeah, I’ve done some neat, even terrific things. I went to Paris, by myself, not speaking the language, and had a fabulous time. Still my favorite memories/actions. I’ve managed to keep from drinking alcohol for coming up on nine years. I’ve been cigarette/nicotine free for over ten years. I’ve got a husband who loves me, and an adorable and smart daughter. But there’s still something missing. Something very big. And it often sits on my chest like that elephant in the COPD commercials. I’m “happy” when I work on my artwork, but otherwise, life seems a bust to me. I’m fortunately still able to laugh on occasion, but most days I’m operating on auto-pilot.
Before I’ve described depression as living at the bottom of a 20 foot hole. These days, I feel as though most days I’m about 5 to 10 feet down. Some days, it’s 20 feet. And, at least a couple of times a month, I feel like I’m two or three feet from China. On those days/nights, I don’t sleep, at all, and stay in my ultra large bathroom, curled up on my chez lounge, crying into a pillow so as not to wake my husband. Everything I think of leads to tears, and I feel like my brain is on fire from a chemical compound made of ultra-negativity and self-loathing. It’s horrendous.
The other night, during one of those “digging to China” moments, I pulled out my tablet and started to work on some self-portraits. A couple of days later, I pulled out my tablet to draw, and happened upon my work from a few nights before. I was startled by what I saw. I hardly recognized myself, and barely recalled having drawn them. It’s like I was intoxicated, and drunk dialed one of my ex-boyfriends. Mortifying.
Thankfully, I haven’t been that low in a week or so, but it’s disheartening to know it will probably happen again. Maybe I need to keep the drawings going, as a way of tracking this. Maybe try to draw myself when I’m NOT feeling that way.
I hate feeling drunk.