Sunday, April 08, 2012

Sunday Confessional: Depression Is Kicking My Butt

Update 2016: This article was featured in my book "Saying NO to Suicide", with added commentary.

I thought the last few years had been pretty tough as my 23 year marriage dissolved around me, but nothing prepared me for divorce. Wow. It's as if my heart has been scooped out with a spork, stomped on, kicked to the curb, then lit on fire. Not that I'm being melodramatic or anything.

Since hitting the six month post-divorce mark and realizing that dating would be dangerous at this time despite how lonely I was (or because of it), and watching my bank account go from black to red to blood red, I haven't been the happiest of people. I think the clincher was when I realized that I found single mums with kids HOT only on weeks that I didn't have my girls. That's pretty pathetic, don't you think? And the fables people told me of LDS women waiting in the wings for worthy men such as myself used to irritate me, but now make me laugh. Yes, somewhere there must be an LDS ward filled with lonely women anxious to marry broken men with pot bellies. Now, shut up. You'll scare away the unicorns.

Yes, I am finally ready to admit that I do not have a good grip on this Depression; it has a grip on me.

The tipping point was when I was frantically ripping my apartment apart the other day to find my missing garage door opener. I had just finished a fruitless search under the TV when I suddenly finished my journey to the floor all the way and simply laid there. I didn't move. I didn't even think. I just felt.

Let me see if I can put what I felt into words:
After a few minutes, I began to realize that the view wasn't very interesting and that perhaps there were better things to do, yet I couldn't think of any. Then I felt stupid. I was staring at my Airport Express, for crying out loud. It doesn't even blink! Get up and MOVE!!!

But the sadness was crushing.

I thank Heavenly Father at times like that for having ADHD. Suddenly I was fascinated by the abstract structure of the Ethernet cable moving through space, catching light only in certain places. On a whim I photographed it while laying there and gave it a witty name (☜ This Way UP) to make it seem I'd done it all on purpose.

Ah, the spell was broken. Creativity again to the rescue. I had a good laugh at myself for lying there staring at a wall, and I pushed myself into action for the rest of the night.

There was a day twenty years ago that I would have spent the day in that position. I could have lost months in that crushing funk. I am not interested in visiting those days again. I've fought too hard to put them behind me. I've fought too hard to master my Depression to let it gain mastery again. And yet here I am on the battlefield wearing only sweatpants and goofy Highlander baseball cap. I'm not even wearing any shoes. I'm going to get my fanny handed to me on a platter if I don't gird up, step up my game, and fight back.

Fighting off Depression when your heart aches and you feel as if breathing requires a great deal of effort is not an easy thing as some of you know and others can imagine. But if we don't fight, we lose. Life is too precious to waste by feeling sad for no reason alone on a floor somewhere.

Do I have a reason to be sad? Yes. My best friend in the world unfriended me, so to speak. But is what I'm feeling appropriate? I used to think so, but if I have evenings of exciting wall watching in my future, then maybe this isn't about being sad anymore. Maybe it has nothing to do with the divorce, either. This is just Depression, that ugly old cuss, and it's time to kick back.

So now you've heard my confession. I don't feel magically happy because I've written it. The sadness is still there like a vice clamped around my heart. But I have a bit more hope today than I did the other day when lying down and staring at a wall outlet seemed like a good idea. It doesn't matter that the moment only lasted a few minutes at best. That it happened at all disturbs me, and I'm ready to fight again. I hope that some of you will fight the battle with me.

Follow me on Twitter as @SplinteredMind. I also explore iPhone photography with Instagram as douglascootey (peek). And if you're a glutton for punishment you can friend me on Facebook as well, or find me on Path where I explore my coping strategy process.