These past few days I have tried to make sense of a lot of things. I tried to understand why I was doing pretty well and just a few hours later I can feel how things are changing. I can literally feel the crash overcoming my mind and body and it is not a pleasant feeling at all because you know that soon you will be feeling horrible again.
I absolutely hate feeling like that. I am trying to be open and honest about depression, and mental illness in general, so those who are not affected by it can start to understand too. But how can you help others understand what you are going through when you don’t even fully understand it yourself? Every time I think I have finally completely grasped the reality and severity of depression something happens and I feel like I start all over again. It’s seriously not easy to understand or explain it.
How can you explain to someone, who isn’t struggling with depression, that simple tasks become a huge obstacle, that our mind just doesn’t work and functions the same way a “normal healthy” person and mind does? How do you explain that you know you should be able to do those simple tasks, but you have no energy available for it because just doing basic things like getting up and such requires all the energy your body has at the moment? How do you explain to yourself that there is nothing you can do at the moment but just make it through?
I have been trying for years now to make sense of it. I go through so many emotions each day and that alone is very exhausting. I keep pushing myself because I have to function for my family and feel horrible and bad about myself because I don’t get the things done I think I need to get done. I keep comparing myself with a “normal healthy” person who manages to accomplish many different things and it just makes me feel like a big fat failure and I feel even worse about myself and my life.
As I am sitting here typing away I think about the conversation I had with my mom earlier. She knows me so well. She actually makes me cry because she points out that I am fighting back the tears and she knows that I need to release the pressure I put on myself by always fighting back my emotions. I know she is right and I know it does make me feel better for a moment, and yet I keep fighting it every single time.
I have to face reality and accept that right now I can not function as a “normal healthy” person. I have to learn to not compare myself with others and just focus on myself and do what I can do without pushing myself over the edge. I have to push myself every day so I can be there for my kids, but I realize I can’t do more than that right now. I have to make people understand that when I say I can’t do something at the moment. I mean it and I am not just making up a lame excuse to get out of something. I am breaking down more and more because I keep telling myself I have to do certain things and yet I don’t. My husband said something really interesting to me last night. He said: “The only things you really have to do is breathe, sleep, eat and go to the bathroom. Everything else is a choice.” We obviously have to breathe to live, we have to sleep so our body functions properly, we have to eat so we can live and well the bathroom thing is a have to as well. 😉 I keep thinking about it and know he is right. He says that all the other things that are choices mean that there will be certain consequences when I don’t do them, but it is still a choice. He is such a wise man sometimes. 😉
Right now I have to make the choices of what is necessary and what are things I have to drop or put on hold at the moment. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have faith anymore and that I don’t know that Heavenly Father is there for me and can make me feel better, but it means I am accepting my illness as an illness and the consequences of it is that I am limited in what I can do. Right now I don’t need advice, guilt-trips and lectures, but just the understanding that I reached my limit. Every time I think I am better, and I push myself more, I crash and that is definitely not healthy for me or my family. I need to get myself back on my feet so I can function like a “normal mentally ill” person at least.
I will never give up fighting this fight, but I do get it when my body and mind say enough is enough. I have to take care of myself because I want to be a good mom and wife (at least to my ability) and I can’t be that if I constantly break down because I am overdoing it.
Maybe one day I will completely understand why this illness is the way it is. In the meantime I can only ask those around me, and everyone who is reading this, to be patient, to be kind and to be understanding to those who are going through it. We are not making this up, we are not trying to make things difficult for anyone, but we are trying to survive and make it through every single day. Acceptance, love and understanding go much longer ways than any guilt-trips, lectures and advices combined. I know for me I already put so much guilt and pressure on myself I certainly don’t need anyone else’s on top of that. And I have to learn to stop doing that too and accept myself as someone who is limited in what she can do.
I know this illness was given to me for a reason. Maybe it is to bring me closer to my Heavenly Father and rely on the Savior. They know exactly what I am going through. Maybe they want to see me having faith no matter how horrible and bad I feel and I do have that faith. That’s what gets me through it again, what makes me keep going, what lifts me up again. I know they understand and love me. If everything else fails, my faith is the only thing that I can hold on to when I feel like drowning. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland expressed it so well: “Trust in God. Hold on in His love. Know that one day the dawn will break brightly and all shadows of mortality will flee. Though we may feel we are “like a broken vessel,” as the Psalmist says, we must remember, that vessel is in the hands of the divine potter. Broken minds can be healed just the way broken bones and broken hearts are healed.”