Depression snuck up on me this past month.
I have a lot of good things going for me, life is progressing, I'm working hard and also trying to buy a place to live. So on paper, life's looking up. But internally, I'm not. Why?
Do you know that the hardest part of feeling like I'm drowning is the guilt that I shouldn't be in the first place? "Counting my blessings" feels like a mockery when I can't will myself out of bed, when I haven't run more than a mile in a month, when I let an entire day go by from my 11x14 bedroom, when my eating habits scare me, when I make plans with friends and back out on them, when I'm unresponsive to everyone's texts, when I miss the family group chat just to hide away. I should also add that I was physically sick this month too, and for one week I was scared I had the delta variant of COVID-19 which brought up anxieties about being sick that I didn't even know were dormant. Thankfully I tested negative, but the toll on my emotional health had already been paid.
The worst thing you can do to someone who is experiencing a mental health episode is tell them how at some point, they've just got to shake it off. Yes -- someone told me exactly that this week, and I was too sad to be angry, honestly. It broke my heart that instead of this friend asking me where I was mentally, it was more important that they checked me for being flaky to teach me a lesson of sorts. I left that conversation actually more dejected than when I first picked up the phone to finally reach out.
Afraid I would go back into the shell I was so tired of being trapped in, I almost backed out on another friend later that day. Still, I showed up to the dinner plans and chose vulnerability in my sadness that was like a salve on the brokenness I brought with me. I actually had fun and went home lighter than when I arrived. While walking the 30 blocks home jamming to soca, I started thinking about how many other ways people have created space for me to return back to myself just this past week:
Wow. Just writing this out helps. Point is, I don't know if I could fight depression without constantly reminding myself that I am surrounded by a "great cloud of witnesses" who greatly outweigh those who are not for me; helping me breathe during this strange season when some days I feel like giving in and giving up to the waves crashing over me.
This morning, I realize that my people are the blessings I can count on, even in the middle of depression. When it looks like I'm surrounded by despair, when I can't show up for others the way I'd like, God's got me covered. Yes, I can keep on keeping on.
He's got you too.