My experience with depression is not sadness. In fact I don’t feel sad at all.
I just don’t feel.
There may be uncontrollable sobbing, loss of interest in things I once enjoyed, lack of motivation, finding it difficult to get going in the morning, or any time of day really. An inability to sleep through the night. But mostly it is numbness.
The biggest IDGAF because I feel nothing.
This may be a taboo subject, but that signals to me that I should write about it. As I’ve mentioned before, my writings are not about a unique individual who has unusual experiences. It is about the average joe muddling through life. I am willing to bet that there is another soul out there who can relate to what I am going to say.
So, here we go.
In doing so, I opened a delicate door that I had been holding shut with all my might for ten years.
Picture Game of Thrones Hodor here.
The struggle has been real. I have been on a journey of learning to manage my depression rather than pushing it down to the deepest part of my stomach only for it to come out to play with a vengeance later.
For me, managing depression means being aware of when I am slipping down that unpleasant rabbit hole. Throughout the course of my treatment and the power of hindsight, I learned that there were a lot, tons if you will, of red flags that my depression was poorly managed. I wrote them off with a mental note to deal with it later because who has time now.
One of those signs was hygiene.
Insert ‘ew‘ here.
However, I was ignorantly unaware of the connection between showering and depression. And I should go ahead and insert a mind blown emoji to symbolize the impact this realization has had on me.
I was asked several time during my intake interview how often I showered. My reply was,
“Whenever I need to.”
That was an honest answer. And isn’t that when everyone showers?
But apparently the definition of ‘my needing to’ and a ‘healthy need to’ were different.
Mindfulness matters folks.
As I went through the program, I was asked every session about my bathing habits. I also listened to others discuss theirs. And I realized: I had stopped caring. I could go days without actually turning on water thanks to dry shampoo and deodorant.
I really don’t know if anyone noticed; no one said anything to me. Other than my husband.
Looking back my husband would ask me:
“Did you shower today?”
And I would give him an evil stare taking complete offense. Not realizing he was checking in on my mental health.
I came to realize that I wasn’t showering on the regular because there was no point in doing so says depression.
So now, I check in with myself.
Has it been a minute since I showered?
Is it because I’m a working mom of five and ran out of time?
Or is it because taking care of myself is pointless.
Either way, I hop in the shower.
You can insert sigh of relief here.
But, if the answer is the latter, I have then made myself aware that my depression is taking hold and I need to be extra diligent in implementing my coping mechanisms.
I find depression to be a chronic illness. One that I am doing my best to manage. One that I have to do the things to manage it.
It’s hard when it is your mind that is sick; after all, when it is a physical illness people say:
“Keep a positive attitude,” and
“Look at the bright side.”
Insinuating that the path to wellness is mind over matter.
I have always struggled with how to do that when it is my mind that hurts.
I guess I just have to tell myself to keep going.
And hope that it works.
So far, so good.