On Depression

In light of the tragedy that occurred with Robin Williams, I’m going to stray a little from my normal topic of childhood mental illness.  Though certainly my illness began in childhood, as likely did Robin William’s, we are adults at this time.

I suffer from depression.  Technically, if we are going to go there: major moderate depression; “moderate” because I still shower.  That’s the distinction, apparently.  I, like many others who suffer, struggle to eloquently illustrate what it’s like to have major clinical depression.  Some have done a wonderful job, like Andrew Solomon in his sure to become a classic of modern literature, The Noonday Demon.  Rarely have I read so prosaic a compilation as he has put forth.

Explaining to my husband today, there is almost never a time where the thoughts about myself running through my frenzied mind are good.  The false facade I put out in cliched “Yay, me!” statements are couched in the realization that I’m an inadequate, lackluster, lazy, worthless person.  I spent years upon years in therapy, natural remedies, exercise, and medication.  At best, I get some relief occasionally.  Usually that is in the form of numbness, which isn’t necessarily an improvement.  Not really “giving a shit” about anything isn’t really great, especially when you have a family.

When I first heard about Robin’s passing, I cried.  Sobbed, actually.  I thought to myself, with all he has come through, all he means to this world, if he couldn’t feel it or own it, who will? He was definitely a bright light here. For myself, I’m not suicidal, nor have I ever really contemplated suicide, but I’ve certainly had plenty of thoughts that my presence here doesn’t matter much.  I struggle, most of the time.  I’m continually overwhelmed and exhausted and having two children with serious mental illnesses is extremely challenging, to boot.  I do my best, but I know how short I often fall.

The sad fact is that even my husband isn’t fully aware of all I go through.  Oh, he knows when I have particularly bad days, but he has no idea of the reality that is mine on a daily basis.  Really, what’s the point of talking about it?  You can’t make someone feel what you feel, or despair as you do, and who would really want to, anyway?  To what end?  What to do?  I don’t know.  I haven’t, even at 43, figured that out, but I’ll keep working on it.

I’m mostly putting this out there because I want anyone who struggles in this way to completely understand that you are not alone.  I don’t have answers, but I do empathize.  I am always willing to be available to offer some encouragement.

Peace to all of you,

Jenifer

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