I’ve been reading Jenny Lawson’s book, Furiously Happy, and it’s been striking a chord. The book is Lawson’s story about fighting through mental illness with positivity and embracing your brokenness.
I also read Emily V. Gordon’s Super You, which is all about embracing your best self, but framing it as a superhero narrative.
Both books talk about moving through your issues to be something bigger and something better. Both books lead me to write this.
My struggles with depression have been long and varied, and while Lawson’s are much more intense, something about her upfront attitude about her illness and specifically how it manifests has given me courage.
I’ve had two major bouts with depression and a few smaller hits. The major ones were when I was twenty one and the other just under two years ago.
Depression is not the same for everyone. But here’s what it looks like for me. The world becomes too big and I am sure I am invisible. I’m too small and no one will notice if I’m not there.
So I stop being there. When I was in college this meant I didn’t attend classes. Two years ago, when I lost my job, I simply kept leaving the house and told NO ONE what happened. No one cares, no one notices anyway.
As everyone who’s ever come out the other end of it (or loves someone who has) can tell you, depression lies. And it lies BIG TIME. When my first bout hit and things got really bad, I couldn’t tell anyone. My parents had just gone through a similar situation with my brother and why would they care about mine? I was invisible, remember? My friends had fled from me. (This was, by the way categorically untrue, but remember the lying?) So I flunked out of school, came home, got better, went back to school, still struggled, but finished. Was A LOT better, and then things got bad again…well, rinse, repeat.
I’m not good at therapy. I get why it’s important, but because my depression specifically pushes me to believe that I’m invisible and unimportant, I have trouble unloading, especially on a stranger. Why should they care?
In August, my mom and I had a long talk about this. “You have so much more to lose now,” she said, “I know you’re doing better, I’m proud of you, but if it happens again, if when you have children and you get post partum depression, if anything knocks you off your equilibrium, you need a support system.”
I smiled and nodded, as I had a million times, but didn’t really move on it.
A few weeks ago I started to feel the numbness and thoughts of invisibility creeping in. I know enough about my own self care to keep it from consuming me, but I also have health insurance now, so I’ve decided to start shopping therapists. Yes, counting down the days to something I was looking forward to, listening to my “Hang In There Kiddo” playlists, and letting myself eat some chocolate helped, but I want to be healthy, I want to thrive and I never want to lose 6 months again. I’m incredibly nervous, but I owe this to myself and the people I love.
So that’s what’s going on with me…Thanks for letting me get it out as usual. Hope everyone is doing great. If you’re not, that’s cool too. Talk to someone, listen to Katy Perry and Taylor Swift and dance until you can’t stop laughing, go to your happy place, wherever that is and know that you’re loved and special and someone sees you.