Last August I wrote a blog post detailing my early struggles with depression.
Nine months later, I look back at that post and feel a little deceitful. When I re-read my words, it almost sounds as though I overcame and conquered my depression - like I hammered it into submission and took control of my life. And while I did take a major step by even acknowledging the struggle and then treating it, I’d be lying if I said that depression doesn’t affect almost every day I have here on this earth.
For most of my life, I haven’t known where depression ends and I begin. Depression and I have been one and the same for so long, that despite seeking treatment with medication 12 years ago, I continue to assume that my life now is as good as it gets.
Anyone who has battled any kind of depression or anxiety knows the truth. You have good days, you have bad days. You stack a few bad days together and call it a funk. You stack a few more together and call it a long funk. But you resist calling it more than that, because hey, I’m taking medication for this.
What is fatigue from hard work and what is depression? How much apathy is too much? How much of what I feel is just who I am and how much of what I feel is this daily battle with a disorder that I am still trying to understand?
Off and on for the past few months - I’ve had many moments of wanting to die. That’s hard to write. That’s hard to admit. But it doesn’t make it any less true.
I get up and go to work at a job that I love and that I believe in. I give everything I have while I’m there. But at the end of the day, and many moments in between, I’ve hoped to just drop dead from an aneurysm.
It’s called passive suicide ideation.
And I just learned that it’s a thing. A real thing, with a name. I learned this from a psychiatrist I consulted when a friend convinced me that, despite taking medication for my depression, my life could still be better. I resisted her for a long time, feeling like she was wrong. That I just wasn’t trying hard enough. That, despite knowing better, it was about my effort and willingness to do more, and not related to an illness that punches and kicks me so often that I’m just used to it.
In recent months, I’ve been reminded that, while I’ve won a number of battles with depression, I continue to fight the war. Years ago, I took the first step in managing my depression. And that was a life-changing, life-saving step.
But lately, the battles have come daily.
A month ago, I changed medications - to be specific, I added a new medication. I think it’s working better. It’s working well enough that I’m going to take the plunge to put this out there in public. I’m not sure yet. I won’t likely know for another few weeks.
But I’ve made a decision that I will talk about my depression. And not just when I feel like I’m in a good place. I’ll talk from the hard places too when I can.
Because we don’t talk enough about the suffering. We don't share enough in the heartbreak and in the hard.
But it's time to start.