*The woman that submitted this story requested to remain anonymous. I am empowered by her bravery and I hope others can find strength in her words as well; I know she has. bravery is not about how loudly we roar. It is about finding the courage to roar at all. it is the first timid squeak that takes the most determination.
I’ve been depressed even before I knew the word; my earliest memory beginning at the age of 9 because I was poor and overweight. I then lost my dad and home to a fire and was moved to a place of hopelessness as a result. These circumstances were the nails in my coffin.
I’m an incest survivor too. The best way to describe my bout with depression is that it reminds me of a period stain. A heavy flow of sadness, anger, and isolation doused with anxiety. I’ve tried to wash it out with meds, church, food and alcohol but it is always there to remind me how sad and complicated my life is. Even the tiniest grain of hope manages to get washed away from the everyday storms of life.
I’m a 40 something African-American woman. I love to read, write, binge watch TV and do girly stuff. My depression, however, hardly gives me the chance to enjoy these things. I find myself committing to all kinds of great events only to let the cloud get in the way.
People who love me say I need to go on a vacation, have an affair, or do something fun to get out of my funk. That stuff is just a band aid to cover a bullet wound. Even if I manage to do all of those things my rain cloud would be there waiting on me when I came back from vacation. Sometimes, it goes with me.
oftentimes, I feel if God would have allowed me to born in a different place, to different people, that my life would be better. I often describe myself as a Cosby kid. I should have had affluent parents, a better education, and more support. I didn’t have those things growing up because my mom also suffered from depression. I found her suicide tape when I was 9. My dad separated from my mom by the time I was 5 and later died from complications from a brutal beating in a robbery attempt. I was molested by two family members and forced to live with one abuser until he moved away at age 30.
Anyone who knows my history sees the glass as half full and will tell me I beat the odds. I’m married with two children and a granddaughter. I’m educated, own my own home and work from home. My life is charmed and I have what some people never get. Through the eyes of my depression, I see broken glass. I’d trade all of that to feel whole. Don’t get me wrong, I love my family, but I don’t feel I’m my best person with them. They deserve better.
Sometimes I get super sad. I want to sit somewhere and cry until I can’t cry anymore. Other times I fantasize of what life would be like if it were just me. I visited a friend yesterday who’s never been married or had children. She doesn’t belong to anyone but herself. There is no chaos, no voices, just peace.
Then there are times I fantasize about being married to someone different. someone more supportive. Outside of building a business, I try to avoid Facebook because I’m tired of seeing other people live happy while I suffer in silence. When you have depression, you can’t share it with the world because you get a ton of useless advice. No one understand the black hole but another person who’s in there and sometimes we don’t like to talk to each other. I swap war stories every once in awhile and I see a therapist. She is wonderful. I’ve been to several therapists and they all have been wonderful. This time I plan to continue without stopping even if it’s just once a month. I have a high deductible and can’t afford to pay hundreds of dollars a visit. I know I need therapy and my Zoloft. I also need to write. Writing helps me to feel better.
I want so much and I feel like I’m not going to accomplish everything before I die. I also fear dying alone. I’m scared that I will turn out like my mom. She died alone in a nursing home feeling unloved and unwanted. That is a long story that I don’t feel like sharing, but what I will share is her life was one shit storm after another. It led to a lot of heartache and pain. She went to counseling too and heard voices. I hear voices sometimes too, and mine say I’m a loser. I’m 46 and all I have to show for it is debt, loss, sadness and pain. On a conscious level I know it is the despair talking, but in my heart, I feel like a failure. Even as I write this, I see my mom dying alone in a nursing home because life just sucks. I understand why she gave up. I also understand people who commit suicide. The only reason I haven’t is because I have an unrealistic expectation that life will turn out the way I want it or at least most of it. I say unrealistic because I have crazy dreams of traveling the world, living in my dream home, and for some reason I’m always alone. I never see my kids or husband in those dreams. I don’t know if it’s selfish not to include them. Depression is a crazy animal. I feel alone which I hate, yet when I daydream, I’m happier alone. Am I crazy?
This is why I describe depression as a period stain. The first few days, it comes on heavy. I’m miserable. My psyche gets stained. I try to get rid of the stains and at best there is a faint reminder. Eventually, it lightens enough to become bearable by taking my meds and redirecting my attention to things that make me happy like writing or watching my son and granddaughter smile. Then for a few brief moments, I have sunny days, then the cycle begins again. I’m crazy, moody, manic and a total head case.
This is my story and I’m living with it.