There has long been a running joke about how if a husband asks his wife if something is wrong and her response is ,”Nothing,” then he’s in pretty big trouble. I can’t say I am not guilty of that because I am a wife after all. However most of the time, if I am asked what is wrong, “nothing” is my response because it’s a lot easier than saying this:
There are just some days, some hours or minutes that no matter what I do, think of, or concentrate on, I have this feeling like the entire world is one big bright place that I don’t fit into because I can’t be bright and happy just because I am expected to. And it’s not because I don’t want to be bright and happy because if it was a simple as a cat poster that says “Just believe” I would believe that I was happy and I would be that instead of this. I wouldn’t be feeling ashamed that despite all of the many blessings in my life I cannot will myself to just be cheerful or simply not be sad. And “sad” is a stupid word in my opinion that does not adequately explain what it is like to feel like you are sinking into a swamp of negativity. And I am not just sad. But that other word, “depressed” is a word sometimes so marginalized by prescription drug commercials and overlooked as a cop-out by those who don’t understand that how do I avoid telling you I am that and not have you say , “Well, can’t you get over it?”
I can only imagine the face I would get if I said that.
I can only imagine the faces of some of you now who are reading this.
But, the last few days have been a little rough for me. I know enough about myself over the years to identify when I am starting to sink into my own swamp of sadness. (If you haven’t seen the Never-ending Story, shame on you. Rent it now. Watch with a loved one. Repeat) I knew when I had no desire to leave the couch or make a decision that I had begun to sink. I sunk a little farther when I was faced with the reality of a relationship with a family member that will never be what I hoped. I sunk a little farther when I wondered if I really was a good mom or wife or friend. I sunk a bit farther when I heard about the death of a friend’s mother and when I read the news about the murder of a family. And then I lost my temper over something silly and I felt bad for that and I sunk a little bit further. And there I was. Neck deep in the swamp of sadness.
And then, on the couch feeling sorry for myself over the fact that I am feeling sorry for myself, I end up scrolling on my phone. I end up on Facebook. I came across Wil Wheaton’s post sharing his interview on Smashd about his journey with anxiety and depression. And the words he spoke were never truer:
“I really think the best way to affect change in this whole thing is making it okay to talk about it”
So I am talking about it. Depression is a disease that I have like I have asthma. I struggle to hide it to the point I tell myself I don’t have it. Those closest to me have always known I have it but I know it is hard for them for me to have it as they want to help me escape my swamp but don’t know how to or simply don’t understand why I am there in the first place. But I believe the only way to really escape from the swamp of sadness is to name the thing that is pulling me under. I have to believe not that there is nothing wrong with me but that this now named thing will not stop someone from saying “You are my friend” or “I love you.” It also helps knowing I am not alone in that swamp. I am escaping from the swamp today as I read the words of people like Wil Wheaton and The Bloggess. I am escaping as I recall conversations with friends who are there with me now or have been in that swamp before. My final escape? It will be resuming my regular standing appointment with my friendly neighborhood therapist. I am pretty sure she is missing me anyway.