A large percentage of my twelves of loyal readers know me personally and know that I've struggled with depression. Some may even know that I've been pestered by it since sometime in my teens. Problem was, I didn't know what the hell my problem was. There would just be these time when nothing was worth doing and there didn't seem to be any point to anything anyway so why bother? Laying on the couch was just fine, thanks. Everything was a h-u-g-e effort. Gravity was at least twice its normal strength. I was exhausted. Everyone around me was stupid and going out of their way to piss me off.
These periods would last for weeks, maybe a month or two, then very gradually things would seem to get better. Often the lows were followed by an extreme burst of Shiny, and a new project or hobby would become all-consuming. And I could do THIS, and also THIS, and wow! Does that look like fun!
It took a long, long while before I realized the pattern. No, my life didn't just go to hell all of a sudden, and I would recognize that THING again, and remember that it would probably pass eventually. That realization didn't make it go away but it did seem to help a bit, knowing that I (probably) wouldn't feel this way for the rest of my life. Because? Ugh. That would be really, really bad.
Oh, and being married and having a kid? Well, let's just say it wasn't easy on any of us, especially since we didn't know there was an IT, much less what it was. I just knew that there was something inadequate about me, that some significant portion of the time I was unable to do the things other people seemed to handle just fine.
Lovely Daughter tell the tale of one time when she was about 11. I was immobilized on the couch in the upstairs TV room, unable to reach the remote across the room. I actually hollered at her to come up from downstairs to bring it to me.
I know. What's sad is that at the time it seemed like a perfectly reasonable solution.
So more things happened and then it was early 1999. I had just turned 39 and we had just found out I was p... pr... PREGNANT, for cripes' sake. And you know what? Once we wrapped our head around the knowledge that this was indeed happening, life got better. Things I used to have to literally force myself to do (matching socks, emptying the dishwasher, changing the roll of toilet paper) came so easily that I couldn't even remember why it was ever a problem. I felt... normal, or at least how I imagined normal people felt. Daily life was almost effortless in comparison. I got shit done!
I floated normally along, all normal-like, all the way through until Young Son was almost two. Then one day I was staring at laundry that was glaring back at me, and I felt IT again, like a nearly-palpable veil of 'fuck it' settling over me, sucking the very energy of life from my bones*. My heart sank. I hadn't even realized that I had been above water all that time until I felt it close in over me again.
But this time, thanks to the seemingly hundreds of commercials on the TV, I thought I knew what it might be. I went in to my doc and he told me right away what IT was. And guess what? As the commercials had promised, there were now a whole raft of medications to try. I picked up my prescription and within a week I felt my world level out. I was one lucky girl, to get a workable med on the first try.
So the lowest of the lows are gone**. Life isn't always puppies and diamonds, but most of the time it's within a standard deviation of normal. I still have dips and occasional episodes of stupidity, and I still hate to empty the dishwasher, but I can change the toilet paper roll without engaging in a contest of wills with myself. And I can fetch my own damned remote, most of the time.
Except in February. Don't expect much from me in February. Don't say I didn't warn you.
* Dramatic, much?
** Along with the highest of the highs, but I'll take that hit.