Yesterday should have been a great day, MY day. It was Teacher’s Day in Argentina, and I had all of Thursday off to do what I pleased. So many possibilities, so many options. It should have been a day to relax, to enjoy myself, and to celebrate my profession. Should have been.
The day started off decently enough, but at some point in the afternoon while at home with Fede and Sebastian, out of nowhere, I crashed again – hard- and became very depressed. There was nothing in particular that happened, no way to pinpoint the source of my misery, and nothing else that I could really do except to try to “ride it out” again.
For those who have never experienced a mood disorder firsthand, it is difficult to comprehend what really makes a depressed person tick. I can only imagine that those who do not know what it is like find it beyond frustrating that it appears that, in one way or another, the afflicted individual chooses their state and chooses not to simply “snap out of it.” They choose to be helpless and perhaps even relish or find comfort in depression to a certain degree.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Nobody makes a decision, consciously or otherwise, to be weighted down by a thick, black, and blinding cloud when they know that there is light on the other side, within their grasp. No one would or should ever desire to be trapped in a hellish prison while the cell door is wide open. These analogies are just a few of many in terms of how I regard my own experiences with this sinister state.
In an attempt to help ease me out of my bleak mood, Fede suggested that we take Seba over to the plaza near our apartment to play. As we walked together, the three of us hand in hand in hand, my thoughts raced as I tried to give myself a pep talk to alleviate the pain.
“Come on! Look at it outside! It’s such a beautiful day, such perfect weather! You’re with your two favorite people in the world! Come on, come on!”
I watched my son play in the park, running and toddling from the swings to the slide and all around the perimeter of the sandy play area, but instead of experiencing joy, all I could feel was sorry for him. Sorry that he has me as a mother, that as he grows up, he will become more aware that there are times when something is “wrong” with Mommy. At that moment, as tears stung and started to well up in my eyes, I also felt sorry for Fede, who has assumed the responsibility of having to pick up the shattered pieces and clean up the mess that I become when I am depressed. That is not what I want for my family. I want to be whole, I want to be well, more than anything.
And then, a new sensation came over me. I suddenly felt furious, angry at my depression, as though personifying it. Angry at it for having robbed me of so many precious moments that should have been enjoyable, not riddled with pain. Angry at it for having crippled me and paralyzed me, to the point where there were moments when I could barely get out of bed to brush my teeth. Angry for time and energy lost that can never be recovered.
Anger is not exactly a positive emotion, but I suppose it is a slightly healthier step up from depression, which is essentially anger turned inside toward yourself.
At the end of Teacher’s Day, with the help of my husband, I got in touch with a new psychiatrist who my therapist has been recommending for some time now. The main issue that had been holding me back for all this time was money, but as Fede put it, there is nothing that I can buy for my son and no amount of money that can take the place of him having a mom who is happy and whole. Beyond needing a med check and an additional professional opinion about my current, unsustainable state, I need relief from this pain. Just as a person suffering from a migraine should avail of medical help to relieve their pain, a person suffering from depression should be no different. Pain is pain. While I can’t choose to completely rid myself of these black moods and episodes of depression forever, I can at least choose to be as proactive as possible in terms of arming myself with as many tools and resources as possible to face it head on and come out okay.
F*CK YOU, DEPRESSION!