(Content warning: this post contains discussion of mental illness and suicide.)
I haven’t written anything since late October of last year. It’s not that I haven’t wanted to. It’s that I haven’t been able to.
During the month of November, we had a lot going on with family and then Thanksgiving, and the week following the holiday, my grandpa went into the hospital. Sadly, he never went home. It had been barely over a year since we lost my grandma and that wound was still fresh for me, just so you can understand how devastating this was for me.
The holidays came around, and once again, I found myself trying to celebrate with my family while dealing with my grief. Having to do that two years in a row was tough, and I have no doubt that as Thanksgiving and Christmas come around again later this year, the season will forever be slightly tainted by the fact that two important people in my life are gone.
But this post isn’t about what will be happening six months from now, it’s about what’s happening in my life at this moment.
I took this picture yesterday, a little after 3am. I got myself out of bed and decided that I finally had the energy to take a shower.
At that point, I hadn’t showered in a week.
It wasn’t out of laziness, but rather due to depression. I let my house — and myself — become a disaster this past week because all my energy went to making sure I took care of my kids: feeding them, clothing them, bathing them, doing the dishes when I could manage it. I’ve been in survival mode for a long time, but this week, I just couldn’t keep up anymore. I’d been doing the bare minimum.
Everyone thinks depression looks like sadness, but it’s so much more. For me, depression looks like exhaustion. It looks like apathy. It looks like dozing off on the couch while my kids play together. It looks like not doing my dishes for three days. It looks like not showering for a week. It feels like I don’t matter, and sometimes, it even feels like I just want to disappear for a little while. It feels like self-imposed isolation. It feels suffocating. When things are at their worst, even just physically, my body aches. I’m numb inside while I hurt all over.
When I heard about both Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain this past week, I felt some sadness, but I also felt a sense of understanding. I get it. Living with depression is difficult and painful. No matter what you have, no matter what sort of successes you’ve found in your life, depression doesn’t care, and it can consume you and become overwhelming so quickly.
I’m currently working on getting my mental health taken care of, not just for myself, but for my family, too. They deserve a mom and a partner who is more present, and I would like to give that to them.
This post is meant to serve as a reminder to those of you who are struggling: you aren’t alone. I’m right here with you. It’s okay not to be okay sometimes, and if you find yourself lacking a support system, I’m here for you if you need me, because no one should have to suffer alone. I’m lucky enough to have a few people in my life who have been helping me through this, and you deserve that too.
And just in case no one has told you today: you are worthy, you are important, you are loved.