People who have never dealt with depression think it’s just being sad or being in a bad mood. That’s not what depression is for me; it’s falling into a state of grayness and numbness. ~ Dan Reynolds
I have a person I connect with on Twitter, she’s part of the Twitter writing community and we connect over writing and the occasional political meme. She outwardly is the person you want to be, happily married, very attractive, smart, witty, great sense of humor and seems to be very kind. Well the other day she pulled the mask off and in a highly confessional post and admitted that she is suffering from near clinical depression. She talked about the weight of carrying the mask for everyone and she just can’t do it anymore. It was a really honest and shameless post. Those of us who do and have suffered from depression get this feeling.
Reading her post I was reminded of when I was at my absolute depressed worst. I was working at Hartnell College at the time. I was completely blown apart, but I was fully masked every day. Literally no one understood what was really going on with me. They all thought things were great, little did they know I was on the phone every night for an hour with a friend who was emotionally holding me together, that I spent most nights falling asleep weeping.This went on for several months and one day I was walking down the hall at work.and I saw one of my staff coming toward me. She was one of my worst employees, and we had no connection and rarely spoke. As we were passing she stopped, put a hand on my arm, looked at me and said, “why are you so sad?”
As boxers will tell you it’s the punch you don’t see coming that knocks you out and holy shit I did not see her coming. I was devastated, I mumbled, “I’m fine” and made a beeline for the restroom. Where I sat in a stall and had the only panic attack of my entire life. After I finally got myself together I went straight to my car and went home, called in sick the next day and melted down.
Happily, those days don’t exist for me anymore. I no longer drop into the black well of despair for weeks at a time. I spent a lot of time, corresponding with the creation of this blog, learning about depression, happiness, myself and my triggers. I built strategies for righting the ship when things started to get bumpy and haven’t dropped fully into the well in almost 15 years.
As I’ve talked about recently, I’ve been languishing recently as a result of COVID and just the general shit state of the world. But last week during my vacation, without the distractions of work and a lot of time to go walking something hit me. I realized I’ve actually been living with a low level of depression for some time now. With all of the madness in the world, I really hadn’t noticed. It’s low level, so I’m still completely functional at work, handling my other obligations, I’m exercising, sleeping ok, back to eating well again. Recently I’ve even made some progress on not languishing, getting things done that have been on my to do list for some time.
So, how am I depressed? The thing that I’ve realized is that I find no joy in anything right now. I thought maybe it was just because of COVID and the fact that I hadn’t been doing a lot. But I’m realizing that even the things that normally bring me joy aren’t cutting it right now. In fact, even a really good pizza back in New York, while wonderful, didn’t hit the way it normally does. That’s the bad news.
The good news is that the only way to solve a problem is to acknowledge and understand it. I have ways to work out of depression, I’ll start implementing those now that I’ve realized what’s actually going on.
The main reason for this post tonight is to acknowledge that right now many of us are feeling this way, many of us are masking well every day and people have no idea what we’re going through. I’m here tonight to tell you that you’re not alone. That it’s ok, that you can get through this and if there’s no one else, I’m here, firstname.lastname@example.org drop me a note, let’s have chat. You’ve got this. ~ Rev Kane