I’ve crawled out of the depths of despair.
Depression is so strange*. I don’t realize where I am, how bad it’s gotten until I’m at the bottom of the pit. Then I recognize the claw marks on the wall, the nest in the corner, and realize this terrible place is one I’ve been many times before. It’s rock bottom, emotionally. And I didn’t see the edge of the pit. Didn’t feel myself fall down the slope. Didn’t even feel the impact when I hit the bottom. Didn’t know until I looked around and saw my own graffiti on the walls, my own shit in the corners to know this was a place I was held captive before.
The good thing about the bottom of the pit is that I’ve seen it before. I know it’s shape and feel. Once I landed there, it only took me a day or two to realize exactly what was going on and what I needed to do to get back out.
Not that doing those things were easy. Serious depression, real depression, chemicals-in-my-brain-are-unbalanced depression is like being dipped in lead. It’s hard to move. Every thought is weighted down by thousand pounds of nothing.
You could ask me in a kind, loving voice, “What’s wrong?” I’d have no answer. Nothing is wrong. I’m not sad. I’m not dictionary-definition depressed.
You could yell at me, scream and demand. I still couldn’t answer. I would desperately want to shake off the weight, to help you. To fix things. To be who I really am. But she’s buried under tons and tons of nothing, her brain trapped in a mix of chemicals that freeze and weaken, that suppress and drain.
Two things help me when I find myself at the bottom of the pit. My meds have to change. Without permission (don’t try this at home, kids.), I started taking an extra 50 mg. of Seroquel; I had extras, and it worked like a charm in conjunction with the other part.
I had to get out of bed, off the couch. I had to move. My savior from depression is walking. I try to walk more than a mile every day when it’s nice out and I’m not in hideous pain. Lately, that pain, weather, my sick dog, and then the depression kept me inside.
The day the Seroquel started kicking in, I was determined to get myself out of the house. It’s funny, Mom (sainted, wonderful, best thing in my world, SWMBO), came home from getting her hair done determined to drag me off the couch, because she also knew the keys to my depression and was determined to rescue me. How lucky am I to have such a wonderous person taking care of me?
So we did. We lassoed the dog, and headed to the park. My dog is a Anatolian Shepard/Rottweiler mix; he’s a mountain dog. He’s recently decided that he’s not; he’s a water dog. He’s taken to walking into the little pond as far has he can go, scaring all the turtles off their sunning posts. Then he lazily splashes the edge of the lake while I hold the leash and trail him from the shore.
Watching that silliness, walking in the sunshine, and getting those bloody damned chemicals in my brain back in some semblance of order was like magic. My world evened out.
And I’m back to being
*P.S. If you have not read Allie Brosh‘s explanation of depression and how it is like dead fish, it’s worth a read. She explains it in a way that makes so much sense, and is funny as hell. It’s also a great way to help friends and family understand what you’re going through, how they can help, and how they’re not being helpful.
Neither of these women need me to pump up their volume; they’re both quite famous, and each has a book published in the last few years about their blogs and life experiences. But when we’re talking about surviving depression, it’s all hands on deck, people.
Allie Brosh, Hyperbole and a Half
Jenny Lawson, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened