The smiling and bubbly girl standing in the center of the action hides a terrible secret. She suffers from depression. Although, there are many forms of depression one aspect remains the same. The belief that life has become increasingly overwhelming to the point that functioning or the handling of mundane tasks becomes questioned.
I should have known that I would have some form of my mother’s legacy but for the majority of my thirty years on this earth, I was fine. It was my mother that needed to be taken care of or worse be placed on suicide watch. I would just put a smile on my face and basically do what most teenagers or adults did. I would just deal with it. I remember thinking that it was okay that my mother suffered some form of mental illness. I would tell her that it was normal for her to sleep for 23 hours of the day or to forget to cook or even bathe. I would deal with it. I could not relate to what she was going through because I just did not understand the depth of her despair.
I was thirty when it hit. I would smile and say all the right things. Most people assumed that I lived a charmed life but in my head, the world was becoming too much to deal with. The onset of complications of a chronic illness that I never expected coupled with the increasing demands of work added a slight edge to my agreeable personality. It was not until being dumped, harassed, being bullied, and neglected did I begin to sink into a despair so great that all I could do was smile.
My coworkers did not suspect that there was anything wrong but my mother would just stare and know. She urged me to visit a doctor. I could not sleep. I alternated between stuffing my face with food that I could not eat and not eating at all. I would hide for days and pace. I forgot to take medication and could not seem to climb out of the imaginary abyss that I had erected. I was officially depressed and I did not know how to seek the help I needed. In my profession having to take any form of medication is seen as an unforgivable taboo. There is still days that I struggle to remember those days of my downfall but the truth is that most of what happened remains hidden under a fog. I simply cannot remember.
I know that in my head I took the correct course of action and I am now under a physicians care. However, I wanted to be normal and I wanted to be strong. I am a woman who has survived a number of horrors and yet I could not be strong enough to dispel the dark cloud when it had originally arrived. I know of others who have had such positive outcomes and I commend them for the strides they have made but this is my version. I still believe that I am that lonely child surrounded by a sea full of individuals who cannot see the suffering or relate to the complex woman that I have become. This is a war but each battle leaves my subconscious littered with more casualties of festive thought that will never remerge. Yet, most people want to believe we are all happy and so I smile or laugh to deceive you into believing that I have definitively won the war against depression. My truth is much more basic and the cliché that the process is completed day by day is accurate or maybe it is really about surviving at all cost.