For the last two weeks, I have been steadily getting rid of the clutter that surrounds me. I have worked diligently, though not always cheerfully, on throwing things into the dumpster that occupies half of my driveway. I have had to close my eyes so friends can throw things out. I have sorted through bins, emptied bins, filled bins and moved stuff out of my general living space. I have destroyed a huge desk…with my bare hands, not power tools or a hatchet as I had originally planned… OK, I used my feet too. (Let me tell you…that was fun!) I have painted and rearranged furniture. I have swept, mopped, washed, and folded. I have collapsed into my bed many nights lately with my heating pad on my back. I couldn’t have done any of it without my friends.
It is an interesting and startling thing to look back on a period of depression. Startling to me because often I don’t even realize that I was depressed in the first place. Sure, I know that things are hard and that I may be moody, but I never realize how deep a funk I am in until I am not in it any more. It is like being on a mountaintop looking down on the valley you were just in. From up that high, the valley appears deeper than it felt from inside it. Looking back now, I can see it clearly. When I don’t care that I am dropping off and picking my son in my pajama pants. Or going to the store in them. When I am tired all the time but accomplishing nothing. It is not eating until I am shaking for lack of food. It is my mother noticing, again, that I have lost weight. For me it isn’t feeling sad all the time. For me, depression is feeling nothing. I feel like I would probably notice it if I was always on the verge of tears. But that is not how it works for me.
Depression is sneaky. It can creep up on you. And it hides in clutter, playing a nasty game of freaky peek a boo. Depression, anorexia and I have been dancing for years. But today, in my clean living room, I am dancing alone.