Excuse the capitalization, I’m not really yelling at you. I’m making a point to myself – or trying to.
As far as I can remember, my first serious bout with depression occurred my junior year of high school. I remember walking down the hall with my arms wrapped around my books and my hair covering my face – feeling totally and utterly alone. I recall going to my mom and telling her that I needed help, that something was wrong. She told me that things would look better tomorrow. A good night’s sleep would help.
I don’t blame her for that response. I now recognize that she suffered seriously from depression herself. And times have changed for the better as far as “mental illness” goes. It’s at least recognizable as a treatable illness and not just a character flaw.
I wasn’t officially diagnosed until after the birth of my second child. Meds were prescribed and when I couldn’t be sure as to whether I was “happy” enough or not, electroshock therapy was mentioned. Believe me, I decided I was happy enough then.
What is happy? What is normal? Who the hell knows. Certainly not someone who has been struggling for almost 20 years.
I’ve had therapy, I’ve tried drugs, I’ve tried no drugs, I’ve tried believing enough in God…what’s really helped? I don’t know for sure. Right now, I’m on a low dose anti-anxiety to help counteract the damaging effects of years of adrenalin overloads. The current thinking is that I function in a constant state of fight or flight mode.
The fact remains that I am who I am and that I have a life to live and what I battle the most is “it doesn’t matter”.
- Why do the dishes…they’ll just get dirty again.
- Why pull the weeds…they are just going to grow back and bring their friends.
- Why make art that’s not that great and isn’t ever going to get sold, or hang in a museum, or be important in any way
- Why do random acts of kindness that aren’t enough to really make things better
- Why write a blog…what do I have to say that’s important
It seems that I battle this question all the time…perhaps all with depression deal with this. What difference does my life make? Does it matter that I’m even here? Who cares?
I have to care.
I can’t compare my life to others and determine my value based on their actions and achievements.
I have to know.
- know that I matter to my family even when they don’t thank me for doing the dishes
- know that 50 people have chose to follow my blog to hear what I have to say and every single one of them matters
- know that my art is important to me and that’s enough because I matter
- know that random acts of kindness do make a difference even if I don’t see the outcome
Some days the “knowing” is hard…difficult…impossible even.
Those are the bad days and they happen…to all of us. Especially those with depression. Those are the days when we look in the mirror and think “what if?”. What if I wasn’t here any more? Who would care? What difference would it make? I’m so tired.
Magic answers? I don’t have any. I have words like belief and hope. I have a “voice” inside of me that says “do the dishes, make art, write a blog, be kind”. And I choose to listen to that voice.
And I keep trying to live my life as best I can and not compare myself to others. The others that have better houses, or art in galleries, or are skinny, young and gorgeous beyond words, or give millions away to charities that save lives.
I choose to live my little life and trust that I make a difference…somehow.
I know that I matter because I believe that you matter.
And that’s enough.