I’m rarely alone. He is always close. I woke up this morning, to find him lying between my husband and I (I think that Brent is beginning to resent him). My Depression doesn’t care about Brent’s resentment. Secretly, I think he likes it. He loves to separate me from everyone. My Depression wants me all for himself.
This morning he whispers into my ear, “Stay in bed.” “Just sleep.” “We will spend the day together.”
I get up anyway. I head to the shower and try, with no success, to rinse him down the drain. Don’t laugh. Sometimes that works. Sometimes I can calm my mind. I can focus on my breathing. I can drown him in my morning shower.
No such luck this time. Together we step out of the shower and dry off. “Let’s have a good cry”, he says. In that very moment, I catch a glimpse of us in the mirror. I look him in the eye. No, I will not cry. I have no reason to cry. “Since when do you need a reason?”, he sneers.
I realize he is right and, reluctantly, give in. Big ugly sobs. Tears flowing freely. I see us in the mirror again, a terrifying sight. I cry harder now.
I slowly walk into my closet and close the door. In the complete darkness of my tiny, safe place I bury my head in my hands and quietly sob.
I cry for what could have been. I cry for what was. I cry for what never will be. I just cry.
I sit in here for what seems like hours, in reality it has only been minutes. Depression does that to me. He is known to bring on the physical exhaustion of tireless work, even when my body has been sedentary.
I hear rustling in the bedroom, Brent might be waking. Time to pull it together.
I slowly open the closet door but remain in my safe place. With the light now on, I dress for the day. Depression stops me before I am able to step out. He drapes himself over me like a cloak. Only then, does he allow me to leave the closet.
The weight of him exhausts me. Some days are better than others. There are days when my Depression weighs 5,000lbs. There are days when he makes my entire body ache.
Then there are sunny days…
Days when he stays behind. Days when I am really free to be myself. Days when I feel hopeful.
I live for those days. They serve as a reminder that I AM NOT MY DEPRESSION. We’ve been together for such a long time that I sometimes forget. Over the years the lines have become blurry, I cannot tell where my Depression ends and I begin. On scary occasions, I feel as if I don’t begin at all.
False alarm, Brent is still sleeping soundly. With my Depression shrouding me completely, we head downstairs.
Depression and I curl up together on the couch and sip our coffee. Covered by my favorite blanket, we sit silently. I normally find peace in silence. But my Depression taught me that suffering lives in there too.
As I continue to sit in silence, sunlight beams in from the window and hits my, now puffy, face. My Depression doesn’t like the sun; he doesn’t like for me to connect to Mother Earth at all. He says it makes him shrink. He says I don’t need her. He reminds me of all the years we have held each other close, all the experiences we have had together.
I don’t like these reminders. I cry again.
I am tired of crying. Today I want to be me. I want to live. Really live, not just go through the motions.
I make up my mind to do this. I begin to focus on the heat of the sunshine on my face. I focus on the sounds of nature coming from my own backyard. I begin to bring awareness to my breath.
Depression gets restless, “Stop this nonsense”, he demands. He bombards my mind with: to do lists, worries, dust bunnies, regrets and random thoughts. I allow the thoughts to come. Then I remember, I am going to live today. I am going to be me today. I am in charge, not him. I let the thoughts float by like clouds in the sky. I breath in. I breath out. I begin to count my breath. Inhale, 1. Exhale, 2. Inhale, 3. Exhale, 4….
I start feeling lighter. What? Lighter? My Depression is lifting.
I have lulled the monster to sleep. I continue with my meditation. I continue to count my breath. I continue to let my thoughts come and then pass. I am not my Depression, I am not my thoughts. I am me.
When I know he is really sleeping, I lift off what remains stuck to me. I gently lay him down on the couch and cover him with our favorite blanket. I stand up slowly, scared I will wake him, and turn to face the rest of my day.
I know he will wake soon and we will be reunited. For now, I look back at him slumbering on the couch and smile.
Today I will live. Today I will be me…. even if just for a little while.
Shhhhh…don’t wake the monster.