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You Probably Didn’t Know I Was Depressed

I saw my doctor in August. He let me speak. He asked relevant questions. He asked questions about my past, about the last time I felt this low even though it was 15 years ago. I was a teenager and spending too much time on the computer at night. “How did you get out of it?” “Ha!”, I said, surprised to be saying it out loud, “I found God. Whether that was the catalyst or not, that’s what happened”. I didn’t think my dark experience as a teenager was relevant until he asked me about it. Of course it was relevant. It was real. It was depression.

He let me cry. He gave me a questionnaire to answer honestly. Questions like “In the last 2 – 3 months have you felt like you were a burden to your family: 1. Rarely 2. Sometimes 3. Most of the time 4. Always.” Questions that were hard to answer. He left me alone to answer these questions. I cried the entire way through because… because even though I was in the doctor’s office seeking help I still didn’t want to admit that I needed help.

Even when he said “so, what do you expect to come from this appointment?” I was still hesitant to say blatantly “I need help. I don’t know what that help looks like but I have tried all my usual tricks and I am in a very dark place that I cannot get out of.”

It had been nearly a year for me of trying to convince myself that my depression was situational. It would go away when winter was over, when I lost the last 10 pounds, when we could play outside again, when we started eating fresh seasonal food, when something else happened. I couldn’t blame it on the situation when I started hearing my thoughts lie to me. When my brain started to tell me that my family would be better off if I moved out, or that my friends were only pretending to like me because they liked Adam, or that my best friend should not be burdened with my struggle because she would probably use it against me to steal my life. Writing it now makes me feel just plain ridiculous but in that cloud of fog those thoughts were so real.

I had been sitting with my head in this dark fog for the last year and you probably didn’t know. I was still hosting board game nights regularly. I was still reaching out to friends for play dates and drinks (even if less frequently). I was laughing and smiling when it seemed appropriate to do so. I was polite and kind to others. But when I was home I was tired. I was so tired all the time because I was using any emotional energy I had to put on a brave face for others. I was finding myself unable to get off the couch to even do the dishes. I would just sit there for 20, 30, 45 minutes staring blankly at the floor while petting the dog, willing myself to just get up and be an adult. I stopped crafting and the frequency of my craft nights dwindled.

I wasn’t talking about it because my brain was telling me that no one wanted to hear about it or that I was making a big deal of nothing. Everyone gets sad and tired sometimes. Especially moms.

I started taking an SSRI about 6 weeks ago. Temporary side-effects aside, I could feel the cloud lifting off my head. I was smiling because… I was happy. I was laughing because something was funny. I was singing. I hadn’t realized that I had stopped singing. I was playing with my kid again instead of counting down the minutes until she was in bed and I could stop faking it.

Most importantly I can hear the lies for what they are: lies. My best friend is my best friend again. We are giggling together and being silly and talking about something other than the mundane details. We are loving each other again. I’m connecting with Adam again in a way I didn’t realize had gone away.

The only person whom I had the courage to mention my feelings was Adam. And if I could have avoided that, I would have because depression told me that he wouldn’t care. I had to tell him because we live together and by 9 pm I couldn’t hold it together anymore. He watched me break down more times than I could count and supported me in every effort to feel better. He was as scared as I was and I commend him for being my strong rock while I wept on the floor trying to describe why I was so tired all the fucking time.

I’m still hesitant to write about this. It still makes me nervous to tell anyone. It’s such a taboo subject. It still makes me feel like there are girls calling me an attention seeker. But I need to talk about it because someone like me needs to read about it. Needs to know that there is help. That your brain is lying to you. Depression LIES to you.

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