Depression is something I’ve thought about a lot as I move through life as an adult. For all of my logical skills and abilities, it’s something that’s taken me a long time to identify and then a long time to come to terms with. Actually, I’m not even sure that I have come to terms with it yet. Anxiety has been so much easier for me to accept than the idea of depression and it actually annoys me that I have been so slow to allow myself to acknowledge that depression is a part of my life.
Oh, you know, part of it is because I feel like it devalues my life. I have a great husband and we love each other. We have a healthy, supportive relationship that makes us both happy. I have three great kids who are healthy and happy. I have good friends and close connections with my family. I have a home that I love and hobbies and interests that keep me happy and occupied.
How can I be depressed? That what I ask myself after taking inventory. Oh, if I were talking to you about your depression I would tell you that you can’t help depression. That it’s a function of your brain and how wonderful and full and lovely and happy your life is has nothing at all to do with it. I would absolutely tell you that. But me? I don’t buy that.
Several months back, my therapist told me that as my anxiety stopped being such a big part of my life that the depression that causes the anxiety would start to rise to the surface and that came to pass this winter. This winter was hard for me.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve found myself not that enchanted by winter anymore. Oh, sure, I love the first few snow falls and I still love snow at Christmas, but once mid-January roll around, I’m sort of over it. As most of you know, the Midwest had yet another rough winter (nothing like Boston! You guy can keep that crap!) It lasted forever. It still seems to have problems wanted to let go as we had snow on the ground last week. It was so dark here and dreary and the girls were off school so much that it lent itself to this time of apathy. Serious, deep apathy.
I can’t say that apathy is over.
Depression isn’t always a bootstrap thing, but it can be. Thankfully, my depression isn’t debilitating and it stays pretty mild. I can bootstrap myself out of it by forcing myself to take small steps and once I have momentum behind me, depression doesn’t seem to hold on as tightly. My main daily activity is no longer lying on the couch. And, yes, that’s a true statement and, yes, that is a recipe for disaster with kids and pets and a husband and a house.
I’ve been trying to repeat to myself that I have depression and that’s fine. Depression doesn’t invalidate any good thing that I have. It doesn’t change me. It’s just who I am.