I’ve said before that depression is much like an old lover. One you’ve successfully managed to get out the door – along with all of his things – and begin a new life. A life in which laundry gets done, friends get visited, lists get checked off, balanced meals get cooked, and the things you enjoy get enjoyed. But something or a lot of things happen. Usually in succession and often involving sleep loss, grief, financial or marital stress, etc. — and, under the weight of exhaustion, your resolve weakens. That’s when he comes looking for you. Whispering in your ear. Telling you all your efforts are futile. Crooning the familiar songs he sang to you before. Knock, knock, knocking at your door. Until you open it and invite him to come inside — and his seduction is complete. And the next morning –every morning you wake beside him– you know you knew better. But now his clothes are in the closet, his toothbrush beside yours, and he is ingrained into your life once more.
I’ve noticed lots of things. When I do, I race off to WordPress and create a post, give it a title, and even jot down some of the words that are clamoring to be released. But it isn’t long before he begins whispering to me. This post will take a lot of time. Of course, if you write it, you’ll likely infuriate someone and will feel the need to respond. Which will just upset you more than you already are. You’re tired. Tomorrow –you’ll write it tomorrow. Of course, I don’t. It doesn’t get written. Thoughts and emotions keep pounding, and everything just gets louder. From the dishes being unloaded to the dog’s incessant barking — Morgan being bipolar and Clark being autistic. It’s all so very loud. And all I want is to sit on a porch overlooking the pasture on a cool early morning and hear…nothing. Nothing but the wind blowing and perhaps a little rain or moving water. No voices. No screaming. No phone ringing. No cacophony of everything I need to take care of. To sleep. To read. To write. To recharge. Because I am simply depleted. I attempt to get my head together and manage to accomplish a thing or two. But my constant companion draws me back in to myself. His incessant whispering for me to lighten my load and sit down for a spell. To put it off for another day. To pull the covers over my head and attempt to hold the world back. Yes, he knows how to talk to me.
My heart aches. My fears bully me. And even my bones feel tired.
Everywhere we go, we take two cars. There are few things that we can confidently plan as a family. It’s too crowded, too bright, too large, too hot, too long. Too everything. Sometimes the view from this ride is beautiful. Sometimes, it’s fun. But right now it is making me sick. And I just want so very badly to be let off. Every time I get on the highway or have a strange pain, I fear dying. Not for me, but because who will take care of Clark? Who will fight for him? How would Morgan do it alone? And how – how – do I ensure that my sweet husband will understand that I love him so much though I cannot give of myself to him equally? Some days – or weeks – it’s too much.
And, in my darkest moments, I fear that I am not enough. That I’m doing this all wrong. Making the wrong decisions. Not doing enough. Doing too much.
Yes, I have been to see my doctor. I have taken antidepressants. They helped marginally, but my hair started falling out (a truly unfortunate side effect for a depressed person if ever there was one.) So the doctor and I are trying again with another antidepressant. Trying because there is no other choice. For the alternatives to managing this are unacceptable. My boys need all of me, therefore depression can be allowed none of me. There simply isn’t enough room for him in my house. I’ve told him he must leave. To pack his stuff and get out. Good riddance and all that. So far, he hasn’t budged and has turned into a squatter instead.
But I know something he doesn’t. I know the unconditional love and trust of two boys who depend on me. I know the bliss of snuggling against their sleeping forms in the wee hours of the night. And I know that, in this battle between him and me, who I’m really fighting for. In nature, whoever gets between a mother and her young is always at a disadvantage. He’d do well to remember that.