When you are in a depression, how do you pull yourself out? How do you recognize it? Is there a way to turn your thoughts around to reflect the outcome you would prefer? In other words, can you think yourself out of a depression? When you notice that sadness has been holding your hand and staying with you, can you pull your hand away and get up off the couch?
I have battled depression for as long as I can remember. Sometimes I win. Sometimes it wins. Some days, I am constantly at the edge of tears. Others I can laugh and play with my kids. And in the last few years many of the issues I have had for my whole life have improved. Maybe not by “normal” standards, but in my eyes I have made progress. But whatever I accomplish, each day is a struggle.
What I have noticed, though, is that even when I am in the midst of despair, there are some things that I know for certain. I value my family. I adore them. Even when I am in my deepest depths, they make me happy. They shine a light into the darkness. Some days, the darkness only allows a pen light in, but they are that penlight. Whatever happiness that is constant, is my family.
I know that at my worst, I go numb. When it all seems too overwhelming, my feelings evaporate leaving me a functioning zombie…except for the whole rotting and eating brains thing. I shut down emotionally. Those are the days that I don’t feel on the verge of crying, even though I know on a cognitive level that things are not going well at all. I do what I need to do, and that is all. Those are the days that I just want to sleep. Sleep until it is all better. Climb into the cocoon of covers and the warmth of my bed and lay in the darkness until everything sorts itself out. Of course, life doesn’t work like that. Especially with three kids. So I function. I have no other choice.