It’s been a while since I finished therapy (twice), but today I found a journal entry from a few years ago. It’s kind of like Peggy Lee’s song, “Is that all there is?” I knew I’d come an immensely long way, but still wasn’t at the finish line I’d set about 12 or 13 years earlier. In 2013 I was diagnosed as having a severe depressive episode. When I was a kid, they called it having a nervous breakdown. I couldn’t focus, my short-term memory was non-existent, and was non-functional to the point that I was put on disability.
I’m sharing this journal entry in the hope that others who are battling depression will know they’re not in it alone, and that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Regardless of the reason for your depression, remember that you are not a victim, you are not the cause. You are a survivor.
January 21, 2018
So what happens when you’ve been through therapy twice, meds, meditation, breathing, an online course and more than 50 years of waiting for things to feel better, and you still feel lost? When you’ve done all that, and it seems like the only things you’ve got to show for it are a bad case of the shakes, thinning hair, empty med bottles everywhere you look and peripheral vision that sees shadows like they’re things that crawled out from under your bed to get you. What happens when you have a much better understanding, an excellent understanding, of why you are the way you are, why you react to situations the way you do, why you dress and act the way you do? When you’re not suicidal, and never really were, but you just want this crap in your head to go away and leave you alone? Can’t anyone get this damned thing out of my head?
What happens when 20 years after finding out you were molested 40 years ago at four years old by your step-father for four years, you still feel like you’re all by yourself, no one around to help you, no one to find you, no one to rescue you? Except yourself, and so far, that’s not going so well.
During the day, when there’s things to do, lots of light, easy distractions, your mind seems pretty normal – for you, at least. But when it gets late, dark out, you’re tired but not sleepy, when you sit back and let your brain do what it wants, the hole gets deep again. Sometimes it gets very deep indeed, narrow, dug down through the dirt past all the roots to where nothing grows, there’s no sun shining down this far. It’s quiet, dank, with no place to relax or feel comfortable. The calendar goes out the window and you’re still some skinny little kid lost out where everything’s dead and everything’s dark and the only company you have are the bitey things that won’t leave you alone. You walk and walk and walk through the dead grass, but there’s no one out there and even the dog has been gone for such a long time now.
Just to note, all the therapy, techniques, classes I went through helped. Some more than others, but they all helped. When I was in the hole, I could see and smell the dirt around me. I’m not in that hole any more. It’s no longer something I slip into when I’m tired or something hasn’t gone right. I’m not that skinny kid walking through a dark forest with unseen things biting at me. It’s taken most of my life to get here, but I like where I am now, and where my head is now. I live at the finish line, and I very much like it.
Don’t quit. There’s room for you at the finish line, too.