Depression is like that annoying little sibling who follows you everywhere and wants to make you miserable with every breath you take. “Are you sure you are okay? Do you really think you are happy? Aren’t you kind of failing at life right now? The mom thing…meh…mediocre. Chasing after your dreams..please….you are nuts. I’m not sure, maybe you should look in the mirror a little longer so you can see the failure I see. Hey, look at Sally Sue’s page, she is in Prague and doesn’t have to fix her air conditioner. Oh, look, Nick just saved a family of kittens stuck in a tree. Mary just solved world peace and eradicated world hunger!!!!!” So on and so forth. It follows you into the shower, your car, the book you are reading, at the play ground, in the pool with your kids, and wakes you up in the middle of the night to rattle off every single bad thing you have done in your life.
It is the shenanigans in your brain that start to set up camp. The SUV pulls up to a grassy spot in your head and pops open the trunk to start unloading all the junk stored in there. As fear, doubt, boredom, and failure set up at the campsite they overtake your mind. Before you know it, anything you set out to accomplish has run off with confidence, and you are stuck back at the site listening to fear tell you scary stories around the fire. It’s that feeling of dread that lingers over you and follows you with every move you make and thoughts race through the mind when you sit in idleness.
Then throw in some social media surfing to warp your brain even more and cause you to believe everyone is doing way better than you are. We all know it is an illusion exposing the best side of their face but we allow our minds to be tricked. Heck, even I do it. The pictures are filtered with Instagram’s Mayfair or Nashville (when you want to really portray an artsy hipster), yet, you allow it to join in with the other campers and pitch a tent. Sigh. Who allowed this jerk to hang out? Depression – the soul-sucking life-taking, not giving, thing that merely wants to bring you down with every move you make.
It hit me like a ton of bricks last week. It was an overwhelming sadness that oozed like a festering blister into every crevice of my brain. In all honesty, I haven’t felt that way in years. If I recall, probably since my Anna Banana was born. I had some bouts of postpartum depression that rocked me for a few months but I’ve managed to skate through the last few years with very minimal feelings of sadness. Minus losing my Mother-in-law and life’s little stresses here and there, I’ve been real good.
Here is the deal, if I’m honest I let it in with my own free will. If I do an accountability check there are a few things that I have let slip. I stopped writing, exercise has been sporadic, diet has been average, and I haven’t tapped into relationships around me or connected with God as much. I also ran out of Vitamin B which is detrimental to hindering my brain fog and feelings of sadness. My husband lovingly calls Vitamin B my crazy pill. Natural drugs, of course, because we are a Chiropractic loving family after all. When all of these things are in practice, I am armored with the tools I need to fight off the feelings of despair wanting to infiltrate the happy trail I am skipping along on.
Thankfully, it was only a week long. There were a few times my thoughts went pretty dark but small things started to happen to lift me out. A friend reached out with a proposal of sorts for me to participate in an event later in the year. I received an email from a stranger asking to share my writing. I joined Ctown in my area for the next 6 week fitness program. Someone shared with me their struggles with depression the very week I was suffering. Slowly the clouds lift and the sun returns. That’s the thing we can focus on. Not the sadness or the deceitful lies inside fighting over the last S’mores. The sun will always return as dependable as ever.
It is okay to allow ourselves some forgiveness. We can always recoup from the position we put ourselves into. It is even okay to take the filter off and let people see behind the smoke and mirrors. It gives an opportunity to share our struggles and help others know they are not alone. Let me tell you from experience, Isolation, is one of the most obnoxious campers of all. The one who strums the guitar, drowning all the other voices out, singing Pink Floyd’s “Is Anyone Out There” over and over on repeat. Alone. Just you and Isolation’s out of tune key being carried out throughout the campsite and surrounding forest. Don’t let it fool you. Because you are not. We are not. Alone is the grandest of illusions that cannot thrive as long as we have each other.