I hope that anyone who knows me will say that I am pretty honest about my life. I don't usually hide the bad that is going on in my life. I am transparent. People who only knew me through church, might not feel this way. I tended to put up a wall there because of past betrayals. But I try with all my friends to be honest. I have never been the mom that only told the good of my children. I was quite open about the hard times too. It is a difficult topic. You don't want people to think ill of your children or you as a parent, yet you long to connect with someone else who has the same pain. Today, that is not what I want to talk about though. There is one area of my life that I have not always been as open about.
Depression settles around me often. I have good reasons for it. I am chronically ill, often in pain, and there is no cure in sight. I have dealt with that depression for years. In the last couple of years, new factors have presented themselves: children leaving home, parents aging, and finding myself in a new role of motherhood.
My son leaving home left a huge gap in my life. His baseball gave a certain order to our lives. He played year round so we only had November, December and part of January "off". When he left, I struggled to order my life. Luckily, my daughter was still at home and needed me to drive her carpool to and from school. She was member of a choir that needed parent help, so that gave me something to do. But this year, my daughter drives, is no longer a member of the choir, and is quite independent. My son left to study abroad. My mom almost died. My job changed. My daughter learned she will be going abroad next year.
Now, there are days I don't want to shower or get out of bed. There are days I get several "things to do" marked off my list. There are many days, that I shower, go into the den, sit in my chair, and knit and watch TV. I survive. My creativity seems to have dried up. The bubbling passions have waned. I just get through my days.
The sun helps, it seems to penetrate the gloom somewhat. But it doesn't seem to quite make it to my soul. Exercise helps, walking Sunshine gives me a boost, but it doesn't seem to last quite long enough. I take medications and that helps too. I have friends to talk to, but there are days there just isn't enough energy to make that call. The most help comes from my husband who gets it and doesn't judge. If I don't seem to get the laundry done and he needs clothes, he just puts a load in. If the dishes haven't been done for two days, he just loads the dishwasher. Most importantly for me, though, has been the connection we have every night as he reads aloud to me. We began this long, long ago, but were very sporadic about it. Since he has changed careers, we have started back and have read several books together. I look forward to that everyday.
What I dislike most about depression is how insecure it makes me feel. I have feelings of being a loser, a nothing, or insignificant. I feel like I am always in the wrong. I can do nothing right. I beat myself up. I feel guilty for not "doing" more around the house. I project these feelings on Jack which causes friction. I feel like a bad mom. I feel like a bad friend. I know none of these statements are true...but I feel them. When I am depressed, I don't always have the energy to fight them off. It is much easier to succumb to the feelings of doubt. I dislike how my focus turns inward instead of outward. I don't like being a "woe is me" kind of person.
I know this too, shall pass. I know that I am not alone. So why am I writing this downer? Because maybe you do feel alone. Or maybe your spouse is depressed or your friend and you think they are the only one. Mainly I am writing because writing helps me. It helps me sort out the words and feelings. So this is me. This is what you don't always see behind the smile.