In the wake of many mental-health related tragedies recently, celebrity suicides (Sawyer Sweeten, Robin Williams, and Homaro Cantu) and young athlete suicides (North Texas University student and Tempe high school student), there has been a tremendous push to break the stigma associated with mental-health issues. I’ve written previously about my struggle with Postpartum Depression (PPD), but I don’t think that most people realize it isn’t just “fixed” once postpartum passes. Unfortunately, it’s something that I’ll deal with probably forever.
Over the past three weeks I’ve watched myself stumbling down the stairs of that all too familiar deep, dark spiral. Thoughts of leaving this all behind, no longer being a burden, and taking a forever break from my life, began to fill my head and take over my days. Andrew immediately noticed the change. He could see it written all over my fake plastered smile, hear it in the tone in my less than pleasant voice, see it in the depths of my dread-filled eyes, feel it in my cool touch. That man knows me so well. He sat down with me on Sunday night and asked “How are you? What’s going on in that beautiful mind?” My short and curt reply “I’m fine. Nothing really.” Which he knew was a lie. So he pressed “Megan, tell me.” Which always pisses me off…so my curt reply becomes an eye roll and an immediate flee from the discussion “NOTHING! I’m FINE!” Which was a lie. And he knew, so he pressed harder. “You have to tell me. I can’t help if I don’t know what’s wrong.” And I broke. “I’m not sure I can do all of this. Actually, I’m not sure I want to do all of this anymore.” Those words…the sting of them even as I write them now causes my eyes to fill with warm salty moisture, which streams down my cheeks.
When you’re in it, the sludge filling your brain convinces you there’s no other way. Giving up is the only option. I know it’s so difficult for anyone to understand. She’s so happy! How can she feel that way? She leads a charmed life! You’re right. I am happy, most days. I do lead a charmed life, sort of. What most don’t understand though is that it doesn’t feel happy or charmed on the inside. No, it feels like quicksand. Like my lungs are filling with hot gray sludge and I can’t breathe. I can’t move. My legs are stuck. My arms are dead weight. My brain is a wasteland. The world is spinning, but I’m moving in slow motion. I’ll never get out of it. I’ll be stuck here forever. And who truly wants to live like that? Do you? No, no one does. So yes, yes your cloudy misguided brain might be on to something.
But then, a small voice says “Momma?” Those bright blue eyes light up and she flashes me the toothiest grin. She runs as fast as she can, to get in my arms as quickly as possible. Jumps into my arms, pats me on the back with her tiny little hand of her embrace, and says “Momma.” with a content sigh. And I know. I know that I can’t leave. I won’t leave. I’ll fight. I’ll kick that voice’s ass. I’ll push it down into the depths of my body so help me God.
So today, today is a good day friends. Will tomorrow be a good day? I hope so. I think so. I’m on the hunt for someone local to talk to/with. I think therapy is an important step that I’m currently not utilizing. I’ve made a promise to myself and my family that I’ll start concentrating on my well-being a bit more than I have been (like actually working out and taking an hour here or there for myself). Yes, these are all promises I’ve made before and broken. But that’s what a new day is about right? Giving yourself a new opportunity to do the right thing, hold yourself accountable, get back on track.
I know you may be wondering what this whole post is even about. Why I even posted it. Well, I think mental illness is a hard thing to understand. I think people don’t know a lot about it, so they just assume once you get on some drugs (or not) everything is “POOF” fixed. I think it scares people, as it should. But it doesn’t have to be scary. It doesn’t have to be misunderstood. It doesn’t have to be hush hush. I thought maybe giving you a glimpse into what happens in my mind, might help raise awareness of the issue overall, and persuade you to have a little more empathy / understanding for/of someone who is battling their own depression. Believe me, they don’t want to be a burden to/on you. They HATE that you think they are always on the brink of total devastation. They’re embarrassed. They’re shy. They’re worried. They’re tired. They’re sad. They’re trying, they really are. But that’s what I think helps all of us. We ALL feel those things. Especially with the demands of our busy lives.
I hope I didn’t freak out with this post, it wasn’t mean to freak anyone out. I hope you didn’t roll your eyes and say “ugggh she’s such a drag today!” or “Here she goes posting about depression again.” Well, you probably did. I probably would too! *laughing* But if you know someone who’s had a rough time recently or has experienced some tough situations, ask them how they’re doing. Just listen. Don’t judge. And know that if they say “I’m fine.” without hesitation, they may need you to press a little hard. And that’s not such a terrible thing. Just means you care.