I am the type of person who enjoys making and baking things from scratch. I prefer making my own laundry detergent and I normally make sure I always have homemade sandwich bread. These past few weeks I have bought bread. These past few weeks I have eaten less vegetables because I would buy them and then not prepare them. The heads of lettuce sat until I had to throw them out. The green beans grew mold until they became one. It is disgusting and embarrassing, but it is reality, it is my reality.
Depression is something that I fight with on a regular basis. Sometimes I can feel it coming on and sometimes it takes me by surprise. I had felt it coming on but I didn’t account how bad it would be with all the changes in my life. My husband has been away at a training during the week, I quit a job that was tearing me apart, I started a new job with a new daily schedule and have been dealing with everyday challenges as well. This bout of depression hit me hard.
Throughout my life I have been known as a happy and cheerful person. I have dealt with depression since I was in my early teens but didn’t want anyone to know. I would cry in my room or just lay in silence and not understand why I couldn’t feel anything. I hurt myself but no one knew for almost two years. Even when it came out, it wasn’t something I talked about. My parents knew and a few friends but I didn’t really talk about my feeling or lack of feelings. When I walked out of my house I put a smile on. I helped others and listened to their problems. I was goofy and laughed throughout the day. It was never fake though. I truly do have a joy where I am able to push through. It was hard work to push through the day and when I came home I took it out on my family and myself. I would lock myself in my room and demand to be left alone.
When I was across country in college I had a blast and was involved in a lot. Then a bout of depression hit and I had to push myself to keep going and stay involved. I would go back to my room at the end of the day and curl up in a ball under my blankets. I would wake up in the morning and feel like I was surrounded in darkness. It took everything in me to get up. I eventually became too tired of pushing and missed classes here and there. As I was battling my own darkness I was assigned a paper in Psych class about something I dealt with as a child, and was having issues with the relationship I was in. I broke. I tried to write the paper but as I would read and watch documentaries for my paper, I would cry and relive my trauma. As my relationship chipped away at me, I sank farther into the darkness and stopped getting out of bed. The best thing happened to me; my funds dried up and the college told me that I had to leave.
I came home and smiled as I worked at retail job. I went to my church and smiled as everyone said that they were happy I was home. I lied when they asked if I had a good college experience. I would go home and close myself in my room and cry. I felt empty. Eventually the darkness went away and I was “myself” again. I felt all the feels. I laughed and smiled and cried when needed. My life was clear and I felt good. I knew that depression was something that would come back again and something I needed to deal with.
I made sure I took care of myself. I ate well and took daily walks. I lost a good amount of weight, but more than that, I loved myself even on the lazy days. I felt close to God. I was social with friends and was kind to my family. I was also always prepared for the darkness. The darkness did come but I pushed through and was able to take care of myself. I would smile during the day and would come home and do yoga and talk with God. Somewhere along the way I lost my routine.
My husband is amazingly supportive and pushes me to take care of myself. He reminds me to read my Bible and to do yoga if I feel that would help. I have ignored him the past few months on these things. I have been so emotionally exhausted that I didn’t take care of myself on normal days so when the darkness hit this time, I just went under and it over took me. My husband would come home and be overwhelmed by the mess I had not dealt with but encouraged me and made me feel loved. When he calls during the week and ask what I did with my day he congratulates me if my accomplishment is taking a shower. When he came home this weekend I was getting dressed and realized that my pants were tighter. The darkness was starting to lift and I was thinking about the past few weeks. I realized how I had eaten and was disappointed. I had worked so hard for so long and now I felt like I had ruined it in just 2 months of being in darkness. I decided not to get down on myself.
As I sat on my couch with the darkness separating just enough to give me light to think, I decided to spend money. I realized that I am not at a place yet to make everything by scratch. When I make things from scratch there are more dishes to do. When there are dishes and I am tired, I get overwhelmed. If the darkness is looming, it is harder for me to fight it off if I am tired and overwhelmed. I know that I need to get my health back on track. I looked in the fridge and realized that I only had snap peas for fresh veggies and they were almost gone. I went to the store and got a bag of pre-made salad with the fixings. It was almost $5. To me, that is ridiculous and never would I have paid that in the past. I would have told myself that I am being lazy. However, I realized that I am not being lazy, I am taking care of myself.
Depression hits people in different ways and at different times. There is no right way for someone to deal with their battle. Self-care looks different for others. Some people take a bath with candles, some people get their nails done, and some of us buy a bag of salad so we can eat healthy but deal with our emotions and brain chemicals. If you are battling depression, find your personal way to push through. As long as you are not harming yourself or others then it is okay to do what you need to do. Go on a walk, watch a movie, buy something that is overpriced that will make your life a bit more manageable.
I am looking forward to the darkness fully lifting so I can handle making everything from scratch. Until then, I will be spending money on pre-made salads and frozen veggies. If it ever gets so dark I will try to be willing to buy pre-cut fruit too. This my life and battle, I am going to embrace it and continue to push through.