The thing about depression is that nobody can really understand how you feel unless they have been through it themselves. And even then, their experiences could be completely different from yours.
When I first wrote of my current struggle with depression, I got the feeling that a few commenters believed the condition to have suddenly come over me one day. Or even over a span of weeks. But the truth of the matter is that I have been down for months now, and what probably precipitated my meltdown was my neck injury; I was no longer physically able to stay strong.
It is no secret that I have been treated for depression in the past — in my early twenties, to be exact — but this current bout seems worse. It is not because I am feeling more blue than the last time, but because I have two little girls who depend on me. And any idiot knows that overcoming an obstacle becomes so much more difficult when you can’t put yourself first.
Take the past couple of weeks, for example.
Aerin has been a horror at night, waking up practically every two hours, screaming, because she is in so much discomfort from teething. Not only are both J and I horribly sleep-deprived as a result, poor Claire has been suffering too.
(The girls now sleep in the same bedroom. When Aerin sleeps well — meaning waking up once or twice a night — Claire can sleep through her little sister’s wakings. But 5-6x a night? Even the deepest sleeper would have trouble.)
Then, last Friday, Claire got sick. She had a fever of 103.4° and went on a vomiting spree. Luckily, her illness lasted only a couple of days, but your own health and sanity needs to take a back seat when your child is crying inconsolably and throwing up all over herself and you.
With her immune system down, Claire got sick again today with a slight fever (100°), coughing, and runny nose. She kept rubbing her right ear and as soon as I took her to the doctor, my suspicions were confirmed: an ear infection.
I am not writing of these events to complain about the crappy month of June we have been having. Every parent goes through sleepless nights and sick children. (And I know I should consider ourselves lucky because this is only the third time that Claire has been sick since she was born.)
Rather, I am attempting to illustrate for you how I have managed to keep on going, and masked my condition all this time. It is because of my husband and our two little girls; I had to stay strong for them.
On my second session with my therapist, she had me do an exercise in which I imagine a nurturer. Anyone in my life — real, fictional, dead, or alive — whom I can trust and depend on to love me and nurture me.
As soon as I had the person in mind and imagined her holding me close and telling me that everything is going to be okay, the tears started flowing.
It was because it had been so long since someone had taken care of me.
The current status of my condition is that I am feeling somewhat better, but I have my good days and bad days. It will be a long journey, and I thank you all for being there for the ride.