The Door out of the Darkness

I want to talk about depression some more.

This topic has come up more than once in the life time of this blog and probably every other blog I’ve ever had (remember the days of LiveJournal?). There’s a simple reason for that and at this point I would hope that it would be completely obvious. If you haven’t picked up on it yet there’s probably something you should know about me.

I deal with depression a lot.

And I don’t always mean for long periods of time. I’ll usually slip in and out of it in the span of a couple of hours if i let it run its course. That’s the beauty of rapidly cycling moods. The things that go through my head when this happens can only be described as torturous. When paired with anxiety, I am a catastrophic thinker. My brain comes up with some of the worst-case scenarios that are possible in regards to things that are important in my life. Especially relationships.

I do go through long bouts that usually last through the winter that can completely question my ability to survive as a normal human being. I reason that surely no human being should have to live like this for so long. The misery shouldn’t affect me for months on end. The descent into the Abyss that is depression is one that has gripped me for years now.

A very wise psychiatrist I had at one point through the local university health care system once told me that depression keeps you rooted in the moment. It doesn’t allow you to see what’s ahead of you. By extension, then, all you can see is the darkness that you’re sitting in and you can’t see a way out. And I used to think I would just have to wait it out because even medication wasn’t helping me balance out my moods. But I’ve realized something and it’s only actually been pretty recently that I’ve seen this.

In the dark room of depression I have found a door out.

The door out is other people. I’m not talking about surrounding yourself with a bunch of people that I love and care about because, quite honestly, that makes things worse; it makes me feel like an alien. My experience recently was feeling very low and very anxious. I was feeling so wrapped up in what was going on in my head I wasn’t in the right state of mind, I guess. Someone very near and dear to me sent me a text that should have triggered that she was struggling. But, I missed it and sent a very self-centered response back.

Her reply was like a punch in the face. And I deserved it. I realized she was struggling and instantly I switched out of whatever funk I was in. In that moment I had forgotten that I even cared about me and focused on her and my depression was gone. And it didn’t really come back.

Depression is a terrible disease but it’s also a very self-centered disease. I’m not minimizing the amount of suffering that it causes because, believe me, I’ve been there. But, at least for me, it only allows you to think about yourself. But if you can find that door to someone else whom you can care about maybe you can find some relief.

Depression is a monster but you must fight it. My prayers for all those struggling with it.

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