Sometimes I’m A Mess
I’d love to make this post an inspirational one. I’d love to throw you some quotes, or tell a great story right now to hide the fact that I’m struggling and scared. I ask others to write their truths on this site, and it wouldn’t be fair of me to not do the same.
There’s a side of me that not many people get to see. I’ve perfected the mask, and I wear it often. I suffer from Depression, and sometimes it gets really bad.
Sometimes I’m a mess; an ugly, fucked up, overly emotional, confused, and miserable mess. Depression has me by the throat right now, and I’m surrendering to its grip. I don’t even feel like I’m fighting it. Depression turns me into a person, wife, mother, and friend I don’t like. I would rather push people away when I’m like this then spend the time explaining my absurd behavior and mood swings. One day I’m loving life and making plans, and the next I’m contemplating making a run for it. I can’t even keep up anymore.
My depression doesn’t make me want to drink, which I am grateful for. Instead, it makes me want to disappear. It makes me wish you didn’t know me so I wouldn’t have to act like me even when I don’t feel like me. Depression makes me miss who I know I am.
I’m usually “the fixer;” most likely so I don’t have to look at my own problems. When I’m depressed I can’t help you. How can I give you hope when I feel hopeless? How will you ever be able to trust me if you know that I’m such an incredible fuck up? I feel useless and afraid that you’ll see how broken I am and not love me. So I avoid you to the best of my ability. If we have plans, something will come up; the kids will be “sick,” or my husband will be “working late.” I’ll send you to voicemail even though I told you to call me the last time we texted. I don’t really want to talk to you even though I know it might snap me out of this. I can’t tell you that I feel like this. I can’t explain how empty and hopeless I feel because I’m afraid you’re going to judge me. I’m afraid you’ll look down on me and shake your head; that you’ll tell me I should be ashamed of myself for falling so low– that I should know better.
I do know better.
I know that if I pray and reach out I’ll feel better. I know that I have no business feeling so ungrateful for the gifts I have in my life. I know, I know, I know. And then Depression tells me that’s all bullshit and that it’s not real; that everyone knows I’m just a loser, and it’s only pity that I mistake for friendship.
When I think too much about this stuff, I can’t breathe. I can’t even type all of this without bawling. The guilt I feel about being sad for reasons I can’t fully explain makes me ill. And so I isolate. I hide away and tell you I was much too busy with the blogs, or the kids, or any number of other things I should be doing, and we don’t connect. Trust me, if you knew this part of me you probably wouldn’t want to be my friend anyway.
I try to talk to my husband, but when I tell him the truth about my feelings he gets nervous. “Welcome to my world!” I want to say, but I just apologize instead. He understands that Depression is not a choice, but doesn’t like to see me like this. I know it worries him, and that just adds to the guilt. I’ve seen a thousand therapists and tried to talk, hypnotize, and study these feelings away. I’ve tried medication, but I don’t like the way I feel on it. Plus, I’m terribly disorganized and can’t remember to shower everyday, never mind take a pill. I hate pills anyway.
I suppose the biggest problem is that in a week I’ll be right back to normal. These feelings will have passed, and I will be “back.” I will be feeling grateful for all that I have and playing happily with the kids. Things that bothered me this week will seem a bit more insignificant and will not cause feelings of inadequacy and fear. I won’t even think about this week and/or the yuck.
I will be okay…. and then I won’t again.
Julie Maida lives in Massachusetts with her amazing husband and three children. She has been in abstinence-based recovery since May 2, 2000.
Julie is eternally grateful for all the gifts of recovery and fiercely determined to advocate for, and connect ALL women with the appropriate support and resources necessary to achieve their personal recovery goals. She writes about mothering with mental illness at juliemaida.me.