The first morning dew is neither found on blades of grass nor trees, it’s on the corner of my eye. I let it slip to the side of my face to get soaked up by the pillow and stare at the ceiling while I will myself to get up to face another tiring day. Breakfast is a routine to give myself energy to do what I have to. Food has never been an enjoyment, it’s a mean to keep myself alive.
I see the dishes in the sink that has to be cleared and I breathe in long and hard and begin clearing them as a task list I have to complete. My face is sullen and my feelings alternate between sadness and emptiness. This is also how I am at work. My colleagues often ask why do I have such a terrible look on me each and everyday. Mostly I tell them I’m just tired. On difficult days I will say, “what’s there to be happy about?” Yet there are occasions where I would like to have some fun and I’d be the most eloquent, brightest star in the room and be of much joy to those around me. These are rare moments where I have found enough strength and desire to ‘rise to the occasion’. But sadly for my audiences, they are just a flash in the pan. My mother-in-law recently commented that when she first knew me as a teen, I was a bubbly, spirited young girl. I remained quiet and think, that with every life struggle, a piece of me has died along with my problems.
I know what it feels like to be trapped–never being able to shake off that feeling of sadness that is chained around you, never being able to climb out of the deep depths of sadness and loneliness.
Do you believe me when I say I feel terrible that people around me have to live with my depression? I feel sad as it is and I feel sadder that I have to burden them this way. I remember telling a friend, that whilst commuting to see her ill father everyday at the hospital is tiring, remember that the person trapped inside the illness and the immobile body is feeling worse, because I know what it feels like to be trapped–never being able to shake off that feeling of sadness that is chained around you, never being able to climb out of the deep depths of sadness and loneliness. And you feel worse that you are causing those around you pain because try as you might you can’t seem to get out of where you are. Then another stone lands on your back when you see the people around you trying to make you just a tad happier and you then have to muster up immense strength to pretend to be happy because you want them to be happy.
A brother delivered a sermon, mentioning how successful people have everything yet they killed themselves because they are empty and do not have God. How about Matthew Warren? Did he not know God? I can understand why he decided to end his life even though he knew God and seemed normal. He was functioning because of his love for everyone around him. But the effort, burden and pain is just too much to bear. I’m certain he asked God why, but he couldn’t understand why. Our minds just cannot think out of it – it keeps going in circles. Some people think, love is all what patients with depression need. The sad truth is we’re hurt even by other people’s love for us because we think we’re such a burden to them. We have such low self esteem, we have trouble dealing with disappointments, anger and sadness because we believe we are the cause of them–it’s our fault for feeling angry, it’s our fault for feeling disappointed. Because they are normal, we are not. we must be reacting wrongly. Or why are these people oblivious to the reactions they can cause us and why are we overreacting when they don’t even know, how can we be so mean, how can we blame them for not knowing, then how do we have a right to be upset? Did you know that the most common sentence in suicidal notes is, “it’s too painful”. All these thoughts are so painful, it’s indescribable.
People with depression are drawn to their kind because our own kind can understand the feeling of hopelessness and we can say the right words to comfort one another. I was once drawn to a colleague who like me suffers from what we believe is high functioning depression. We’re amazed at how well we understood each other. It almost feels like we’re soulmates and the most wonderful thing was, I wasn’t a broken person to him, I was beautiful in spite of my mental illness. I thought that perhaps I should be with someone who’s like me instead. We could do what we always dreamed of, escape from all our responsibilities and be free to be who we are. But I also knew, if we were both hit by a bought of major depression at the same time, we might agree to die together. So God placed positive A in my life. But poor A and gals have to live with a monster like me. I currently feel the most guilt towards my eldest child. She knows that I rarely laugh heartily but when I do, she laughs with all her might with me. I feel so sorry for this sensible girl. I will myself to be functional for everyone who loves me.
And so day after day, another day of tasks beckons and I strive to do what is necessary with a shadow of doubt and sadness constantly tugging at my legs hoping that I will stop and step into the darkness with it instead. It’s so tempting, to not do anything and just hide in the corner of the room and overthink. It is more comfortable to do that than to get up and about. But I pray that one day, these feelings will all go away and I can be truly happy like a child again. Meanwhile it’s hard, it’s really hard. I’ve come so far, I don’t wish to allow my effort all go to waste. I just have to keep going.