Last week I wrote about a recent bad depressive episode that I experienced. This week, I want to give some back-story, so you can have a little more insight into how I got there. I know, technically, prologues are supposed to go before the actual story but, for some reason, I felt like this is the order in which the story needed to be told. So, maybe it's an epilogue. I'm not entirely sure.
While this depressive episode took me by surprise, it didn't come out of nowhere; it was something that started out small and built gradually. It all started almost two months ago, when I felt like I was coming down with something. In a recent interview, Sarah Silverman mentioned that her experience with depression felt like coming down with the flu. This is exactly what it felt like for me: I had aches, pains, exhaustion. But, it wasn't the flu; it was the start of another storm: a depressive/anxious period that would hold on for who-knows-how-long. I didn't feel like there was anything could do to fight it; I couldn't step out of its way. And, as you know from reading this, it gradually got worse and worse, and then culminated into that bad night. The following is what I wrote two weeks before that night:
I'm currently in this state where I don't feel like I have the energy to take care of myself. I don't feel like I have the energy for anything. I'm worn out. Drained. And for no particular reason except that my brain is broken, and it's dragging me down. It's been like this for weeks now, and I'm getting tired of it.
Right now, all I can do is the bare minimum: to force myself to stay alive and do the very basic things that I'm supposed to do to keep living. I force myself to get up in the morning; force myself to shower (sometimes); force myself to get out of my apartment and go to work; force myself to get through the day; force myself to eat things; and occupy my brain with distractions until I've agreed that I've been awake for a sufficient number of hours and can allow myself to go to bed. And then I get up the next day, dreading the fact that I have to do it all over again.
It's exhausting. The inertia is strong. It feels like I'm trying to swim upstream against a very strong current that tells me it would be easier not to do anything at all anymore. But, that's not what I want. What I want is for it to be easier to live, not just survive. I want to live fully. To feel feelings again. To enjoy the things that I love. Instead of life feeling like swimming upstream against a current, I want it to feel like soaring down a water-slide. I want life to feel easier, to feel enjoyable, to feel exhilarating.
I've felt alive like that before (recently even), so I know I have the ability to feel that way again. But, I can't control it. There's nothing I can do to fix how I feel right now. I can do small things to make myself feel better, but I can't fix my brain completely. I'm stuck in this "survival mode" for the time being and I have no idea how long I'm going to be here this time. It's never on my own terms. I just have to wait it out...wait for the storm to pass. All I can do is hold onto the hope that I'll get to that place again: the place where I feel alive.
Thankfully, I made it through the storm. I'm still here. I'm safe. I'm alive. Am I back to feeling 100% myself? No, not yet. Right now, I'm trying to use this post-storm period as a time for recovery. This means taking care of myself, trying to do the things I enjoy, and surrounding myself with the people I love. It means checking in with my Psychiatrist to get their perspective and advice (which I will be doing today). I'm readjusting, renewing, rebuilding, so that maybe I'll be a little bit stronger when the next storm comes.
Since tomorrow is Thanksgiving, I want to say "thank you" to the people who support me and love me. You all (and that includes you, dear readers) have helped me weather this storm. Even when it's really dark, just knowing that you're out there gives me hope. For those of you who responded when I asked for help, or reached out with support, know that it does make a difference. It helps me more than you could know. And I don't take it for granted. It is because of you that I am alive.