Depression is not who I am.

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You’re just lazy.

You love to procrastinate.

You never follow-through.

Some of those statements I’ve said to myself and some I’ve heard from “friends”. You know, those ones that are supposed to support you?  They were commenting on what they saw but they didn’t know the innermost parts of me. Only Mason gets to see that and sometimes I feel sorry for him because it can be ugly. I don’t hold it against my friends that they didn’t know that they were adding salt to a very open wound. The wound that I call depression.

It turns me into this person that I’m sure that I’m not. Some days I question it but for the most part, I know that my depression isn’t really me.

I’m usually very determined and highly-motivated. I say “usually” because on the days where depression has me in a choke hold, I lose interest and motivation. Y’all don’t see those days because I isolate myself. The negative self-talk  doesn’t leave much room for me to do anything else.

On those days, I am exhausted, weak, discouraged, mad, and sad (all at the same time).  So when I skip the gym, don’t put up the groceries, or bother to clean the clothes up off of the floor, I’m not being lazy. I just don’t have that much more energy to exert for that day.

I do procrastinate. Depression often makes me put things off even the important ones like getting to work on time or making sure I’m meeting the deadlines THAT I SET for my freelance clients. It’s not on purpose. I don’t want to lose my job and I like getting my client’s work to them on time but depression makes me focus solely on how I’m feeling and  I’m usually feeling awful.

Along with feeling awful, I feel like I’m not enough, not doing enough, or trying hard enough. If I’m having an ok day, nothing can stand in the way of getting my tasks completed but if I’m not feeling well, I don’t have the mental energy and stability to be on-time. I constantly have to apologize for my actions because I don’t get things done as I should.

I mean well when I make plans or say that I’m going to do something. When I don’t follow through, it makes me feel even worse as I know I can’t really make you know that this isn’t how I am normally. I don’t like to cancel or make excuses as to why we didn’t get up. The time came and I was in a completely different head space.

So if I don’t come around or follow through or have a smile on my face, please give me grace. Everyday isn’t like this but this month I’ve had way too many more sad days than ok days. I’ve seen these four walls more often that I really would have liked to.

Living with depression is tough as it leaves me missing who I know I really am. I’m full of energy, optimistic, loving, caring, and supportive. I still try to be all of those things even on my off days but I still long to be that person 24/7.

I am not my depression.

Nope, I’m not alright.

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“How’s it been going?”

Such a simple question. Also one that I try my best to dodge because the truth is no one really has the time or capacity to take your answer seriously.

Then there are some days where the pressure is too much and if I don’t verbalize my emotions I’m going to explode so I get emotionally vulnerable and answer honestly.

“Girl, I’ve been crying everyday.” “Most days, I don’t want to do anything” “Being a parent is too much.” “Girl, I don’t want to be bothered.” “Chile, I’ve been feeling so sad.” “I have not been able to focus on anything at work. I keep losing my concentration.”

After saying one of the above lines and also revealing that I take (well halfway take) medicine for manic depression (aka bipolar), I’m certain to be met with a statement very close to, “It’s not that deep.” The feeling that I feel after stating my truth to individuals who I thought understood me most was a feeling of unwanted nakedness. Alone, ashamed, misunderstood, betrayed, and well crazy.

Not “crazy” in the way that you’re thinking but crazy in the way like well maybe I am making this up? Maybe it is ok to cry everyday, to not know why you’re feeling down, to be hypersensitive, to be angry, irritable, and never wanting to socialize. To not be able to focus at work and you end up on social media more than you do getting work done. To have a freakin’ ray of sunshine in your house (my son) that most of the time you don’t actually see that way? No longer do I think this is ok.

My journey to figure out what was going on with me started in November 2016 when I began to see a therapist. March 2017, I began taking medication. First for depression, now for bi-polar as I got comfortable with opening up to my therapist more and she could see that I was more than sad (I’m paying someone to listen to me, to help, yet it took over one year to even begin to let her beneath the surface -__-).

The comments that I got when I mentioned the ways that I was trying to help myself were incredulous. So it wasn’t long before I started to take going to therapy not seriously and I begin to miss weeks of medication which is why I cannot say that medication does or doesn’t work as I’ve never taken any of them as instructed. I myself began to believe “it wasn’t that deep” and so here I am.

ONE WHOLE YEAR THIS MONTH OF NOT MISSING A DAY OF CRYING, a day of anger, a day of sadness, a day of having no motivation, a day of fighting to not give up and succumb to watching Netflix and eating Little Debbie’s all day.

I will not go another day of carrying the stigma of mental health in our community. What I’ve been experiencing is certainly not normal and I’m going to take getting help seriously. I’m tired of wondering what it’s like to go a day not in a mood and having to fake like nothing’s wrong when all I want to do is go to the end of the Earth that is not inhabited by other humans and stay there forever. BY MYSELF.

It’s isolating being out here and not knowing anyone else who experiences depression and bipolar (and is getting help) but I will find my tribe.

So this is the beginning of my road to managing my mental health and hoping to reduce the ignorance that surrounds it in our community.