September 22, 2009

On Being in Control

I've been toying with this post for awhile. How much information is too much? Where is my line? Do they really need to know this much about me? And then I think on it some more, and I feel like I just need to spit it out. To tell you what's been going on in my head because maybe, just maybe, one of you has been having these same kind of issues....

I've talked a little bit about my experience with anxiety and depression before.

It's a tough subject. One that can't easily be explained, especially to those who haven't had the pleasure of dealing with it. The thing about depression is that you don't have a choice. It doesn't hit you overnight; it creeps up on you, slowly and surely, and little by little, it breaks you down. And it's been happening so gradually, that you don't see it. You don't see the monster you're becoming, the slight changes in your appearance and demeanor.

You're consumed by a fog of darkness. Sure, you have "good days" but those are few and far between. Your life is a waking nightmare. The sun may be shining, but not for you. For weeks at a time, everything is gray. Your eyes deceive you. Your mind betrays you. You can't remember how to scramble eggs, or how to change a diaper. You can't remember the last time you ate. It goes beyond the mental and emotional controls, and starts infringing upon your physical self.

You lose weight, and then gain it right back. You can't sit still. You're exhausted, but you can't sleep. The cycle is vicious and never ending.

And then when you finally hit the limit, and you get the help you so desperately need, it doesn't work... not right away.

You break down, again and again, while the medicines and therapies struggle to help you, to lift you up when you need it most.

Ever so slowly, the fog is lifted. You remember to eat breakfast. You remember to shower. Gradually, you wake up. A few months go by, and you think you're cured. In fact, you feel so much better, that you don't remember why you even needed the help in the first place.

And that monster starts gnawing at your heels again.

You recognize that feeling. You are determined to beat it this time. To not let it win. You fight... Valiantly, you fight with every fiber of your being. You collapse into bed at night because you're so tired from the onslaught.

You go about your day, having conversations, and reactions, just trying to have a normal existence....

Every decision is clouded.

Are your children really acting that badly? Or are you overreacting?

How would a normal person react in this situation?

Did I really just do that? No, that wasn't me. I would never....

It gets to the point that you can't have a any type of routine in your day, because you're not in control. You don't know if you're overreacting. You don't know if you're being fair, or extreme.

It taunts you.

It's not fair.

It's not fair because you didn't ask for this.

It's not fair because you are a grown up, and you should be able to make a decision.

You should be able to make a decision without second guessing yourself... without having an internal debate... without asking yourself, is this a justified reaction?

And it gets to that point, that fork in the road. The one you stand at and you look as far as you can down both roads, and you can't make up your mind.

So you stand there.

And your life passes you by.

And the people that matter most, turn around and call to you.

But you can't move.

You can't even breathe.

So you fold.

And you turn around.

And you go back to the doctors.

You go back to the pills.

You feel like a failure, because it shouldn't be this hard.

But for the first time in a long time, the sun is shining.

And you're laughing.

And you don't have to ask yourself, am I being fair?

You don't have to worry about scarring your children for life.

You don't have to worry about ruining their childhood.

You don't have to worry about YOU.

Because there aren't any monsters hiding in the closet.

They're gone.

And even though a small part of you feels like you lost,

You still won.

Because you're here.


And it hasn't been like that in a long time.

So you smile,

And you get your glass of water,

And you swallow that little blue pill.

Because the alternative is just not acceptable.

And you're okay with that.