April 29, 2015

Elusive Joy

Tonight, I read a lovely blog post from my Listen to Your Mother friend, Melissa. She's fighting cancer, but is not a victim - she is kind and caring and an inspiration. You should read her blog - it's fabulous and so full of truth and bravery, it will bring you to tears and give you hope.

She encouraged me to tell my truth tonight. SHE was cheering ME up. Irony, thy name is Melissa.

And then, I checked Mama Kat's writing prompts, and found this:

What is the joy in your present moment?

So, thanks to Melissa and Mama Kat, I talk about joy.

I got nothin'. 

There's no joy in Mudville tonight.

Last week, I was diagnosed with major depression. The diagnosis, a mere technicality. The hole I am in is deep and, unfortunately, familiar. 

It's not my first episode, but if I had to rate it, it's close to the worst I've ever felt. The last time I felt this badly, there was this.

Before this latest diagnosis, I had 8 years without benefit of psychopharmacology...and now I find myself at the other end of a prescription bottle.

If you've never had depression, I'm not sure you "get" it.

It's not sadness; it's utter despair, the world is gray. I feel as if a veil has been placed over me, deadening my senses, and weighing me down to a point of near paralysis.

I cry at work. That's so special.

I look forward to nothing. The saddest part this time has been the bittersweet feeling I had when holding our new granddaughter. She's precious and perfect, and I could look at her face and hands and hold her forever - but there was a tightness in my chest and it took all of my power not to burst into tears that I wasn't feeling the level of joy that the occasion deserved. Baby Bea is lovely, as are all of our grandchildren - and, if I weren't lost in this morass of negativity and hopelessness, I would tell you that my life is good.

Everything is a struggle, each step difficult as I fight off the malaise and I wish I could run away from myself in an effort to stop hearing the self-talk in my head, cuz it ain't pretty.

I hurt, body and soul. I feel absolutely worthless and wonder why everyone else can't see how horrible I am (the self-talk is relentless).

My mind is my bully, berating me and telling me to give up.

Food is flavorless, yet I shove it in my mouth. Sleep is fitful. I used to be 10 minutes early to work - now, I show up when I can manage to get there.

I care...but it may appear that I don't. I literally can't care - it is too painful.

Lucky for me that I've been down this lonely road before...and I know that, in time, I will re-emerge from the darkness. I'll know I'm getting better when I take notice of colors; when I delight in the laughter of children; when I can really laugh at a joke, instead of the "ha ha ha" I force myself to say to fit in. This veil will be lifted from me, and I will embrace the normal.

And because there is at least one brain cell that remembers how lovely life can be, I will take the pill and not miss a counseling appointment.

When I return to the world of the living, I'll smile with all of my being, and you'll know that it's real. Until then, be patient with me as I deal with my mental illness. Know that when I smile right now, my cheeriness is false, but that doesn't mean I don't know how important you are to me.

And when I'm feeling better, I'll appreciate every joyous moment.