“Chronic depression sucks you dry.”
I’d been asked if I could sum up what living with Early Onset Dysthymic Disorder for over 30 years felt like, in one sentence.
My response was not an exaggeration. Was not the result of having a bad day. This was the clearest way I could sum it up for my friend.
How do you make the abstract real? How do you encapsulate the invisible for someone who won’t know unless they experience it?
In various ways, in various intensities, it has the feeling of being drained of all that’s healthy, buoyant, and productive on physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual levels.
And in so many ways, it’s easy to feel alone.
It was all I could do not to run back to bed that morning.
I was having a hard time starting my day. For no real reason except this is what the dysthymic brain does.
Instead of feeling alive, I felt this underlying current of agitation, thick brain fog, the need to hide out, knowing if I tried to get up I’d be completely off my game.
After three years now with my diagnosis, I know this is just my brain talking. But it’s also so much more. It’s a complete disabling of reason, it’s a kind of shutting-down that is chemicals and transmitters and broken mood not easily fixed.
I don’t type all this so you’ll feel pity. I type all this because I know there are others.
And I’ve learned that sometimes to get to a good place mentally, you have to get to a good place physically.
And vice versa.
I couldn’t say that particular morning, that my day was going to be a good one. But sometimes the right people step into your day for the right reason for the right time.
I remember it so clearly.
I was behind on everything. I was feeling disjointed and agitated for no reason, a familiar symptom of my chronic D.
I hadn’t slept, I felt depleted of all focus, I didn’t even know how to say what was wrong.
I was feeling like hightailing it back to the covers on my bed that didn’t judge me, need anything from me, or require clear thought.
I was only up for an hour before I felt like I had been battling for 24 of them already.
“Lord, you’re going to have to give me a way through.” I had been praying it non-stop.
Let me be real with you all.
Some days are just plain foul.
Some days are just going to send you into a tailspin and leave you crying, “do over!!!” to no one in particular, and often to the Father.
No matter what kind of forward stride you think you’ve made with your depression, some days it tries to remind you that it can take you backwards in a heartbeat.
Last week I got real with you all in a FB live and this blog post here, talking about how the Lord doesn’t waste the struggle, but will use it, and I also joined hundreds of thousands of Canadians talking about depression and our stories for #BellLetsTalk Day…
And the worst part is that I could do it all again this week… because although the special media emphasis has past, the depression will continue to wreak havoc.
So story time.