The "D" Word

Hey there old friend, how've you been?

I’m going to pretend that we’ve known each other forever. Or, maybe like we’re those two drunk people at the bar who aren’t dancing, but better yet we are sitting at tables beside each other with a drink, lonely. We make that initial eye contact that feels like that “Hey old friend!” greeting and we decide to spill our guts out to each other as we build a relationship over too many vodka sodas. Either way, this will probably be raw, and it’s going to be real. But like I’ve said before, I am not a doctor. This is through my eyes only and my own personal experiences ONLY. So here it is... Depression, coming from someone who struggles and fights the darkness every. damn. day.

I was sitting in the waiting room of my doctor's office. My appointment was at 1:50 but now it’s 2:10 and 20 minutes felt like an eternity. My hands were sweating, and I felt like I was going to throw up. What if he thought I was nuts? I hear my name get called and I saw him standing in the door of his office. I gave my clammy hands a wipe on my pants, looked at my mom and gained my confidence to go into the office and pour my heart out to a man I barely knew. There were some tears, and when I say some, I mean a lot. From mom and me both. After minutes that felt like hours of me explaining how I felt, it all came to a halt when the answer was “I think we need to try to get your depression and anxiety under control.” Depression? I mean I knew I had anxiety, everyone and their dog knows that, but depression? It was always a thought in the back of my mind but let me tell you when I saw that paper come out of the printer with a prescription for antidepressants on it, it hit me. That’s when the word depression wasn’t just a word or a thought, but it was a reality. It’s now a word that feels like razor blades cutting the inside of my mouth every time I have to speak of it. That’s when this became real my friend, so so real.

“What do you mean you deal with depression you seem so happy?”


Of course I do, because I don’t want people to see how weak I feel. I put on a face because I feel I have too. Isn’t it something how the happiest ones usually have the most going on? I guess this is why they say not to judge a book by its cover. Depression for me feels like I’m stuck in a big black hole filled with negative feelings, words, and actions. The overwhelming sadness that I can’t kick, and the exhaustion of it. I either sleep too much or not enough. The worthlessness, the extreme dark thoughts. Crying and then sleeping and put that on repeat. Pain, emotionally and physically. Lack of drive to do anything. The breaking down before I’m about to do something because my mind is telling me I can’t do it. It’s like my life moves in slow motion, but the world is on fast forward. Though with my anxiety my life feels like it’s going 1000 MPH. You’d think they could just even each other out, but unfortunately, they’re a team and it goes from one extreme to the next, there is no “comfortable middle.” These days are hard, but unfortunately, there’s worse.

Imagine you’re inside of a burning building. The demons are the fire, and you have to choose if you’re either going to get burnt alive by those demons or jump out of the window which would be suicide. What’s less scary? That’s what people don’t understand. It’s having that voice tell you that you can’t do it, you’re not worthy and you should give up. It’s not even a voice you can argue against because it breathes down the back of your neck; threatening you, paralyzing you. It’s fear like you’re being chased by this ugly monster who wants to eat you alive and you run and run, but eventually, you’re too tired to keep going. That’s when the demons win. It’s the self-harm, digging your nails into your wrists and taking chunks of skin off with every grab. It burns, but everything else feels so numb that the pain makes you feel like you’re alive again. But what does that leave you with? Tears and scars. Scars that haunt you and remind you of what you did and how you did it. Your head is in your hands while you cry and you are pulling at your hair because the pain almost feels good. Until after, when you look back and wonder why you did it. You know why you did it but how could something have so much control over you. Or even just the wonder of what it would be like if you weren’t here anymore. But it doesn't make sense. I have everything in life I could ever imagine. I have the best, most loving parents, who love each other with no question and love me more than the world. I have an older brother who is like a best friend. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins who would cross the ocean for me. I have the most amazing boyfriend in the world and a few amazing friends. I live in a warm, wonderful home with my three dogs that bring smiles to my face every day. I have a great network of people. Yet, I still feel so small?

"How can you feel so sad when you’re so surrounded with love? You’re too young to be so sad." Well, I am, and this is depression.

Thankfully, I’ve always made it through those times, even when I fall back in, and for that I am grateful. I’m grateful for those who I can open up to and for those who don’t judge but just lend a helping hand. On the hardest days when I’m hysterically crying and mumbling that “I don’t want to do this anymore,” I’m thankful for the loved ones in my life who help slow me down and comfort me. They talk me through these breakdowns that our good friend, Anxiety, helped create.

My heart goes out to those who couldn’t escape the demons. For those who are still battling, know you aren’t alone, and I’m right there with you. It took me a lot to be able to talk about how I feel on a regular basis. It is not something I expect people to be able to do, and it took me years to be able to do so. Opening up and getting help, and being honest with the people around me has helped me feel okay about voicing this frightening condition. I am not to be ashamed of the battles I face, neither should you.

Though the demons are not gone, I am working on it with help from my doctors and supporters. I don’t know how long it’ll take or what I’ll have to do, but I will find myself again. Where ever it may be, I am out there. Somewhere. Whether it be by an ocean, or maybe in the trees. I am out there, and I won't give up until I figure out who I am, again.

Talk again soon,

Jess

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The "D" Word