Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Act of Depressing

The online American Heritage Dictionary says this about the word Depression:
The act of depressing.
The condition of being depressed.
An area that is sunk below its surroundings; a hollow.
The condition of feeling sad or despondent.
Psychology A psychiatric disorder characterized by an inability to concentrate, insomnia, loss of appetite, anhedonia, feelings of extreme sadness, guilt, helplessness and hopelessness, and thoughts of death. Also called clinical depression.
A reduction in activity or force.
A reduction in physiological vigor or activity: a depression in respiration.
A lowering in amount, degree, or position.

Defining depression is so easy with those words up there. 
The act of depressing.
A hollow.
The condition of feeling sad or despondent.
Inability to concentrate
Extreme sadness, guilt, helplessness and hopelessness

It is so much harder to explain the force and nature of depression.  The moment when you pass from light to darkness.  The moment when you lose control of your emotions.  The tragic feeling of loss, inadequecy and division that happens inside of your mind, that changes you mentally, physically and spiritually. 

How long and hard the road can be to to get out of the grim valley that depression so easily takes you to.  It is like riding some ill-advised roller coaster ride.  The highs can be so high and wonderous and frightening but the plumment back down to earth can shatter all of the previous high as your stomach rises up into throat and your shrieking on the downward ride and you think 'oh my god will this end?' and even if logically you know it will end, it can feel never ending. 

Have I ever mentioned I hate to ride roller coasters?  Simply for that reason.  I have been riding the roller coaster year round for years.  Why do I need to ride on them for the high and low I get just from being me? 
I wake in the night to M Bug screaming.  I run to his room my heart racing.  It is 2:03am.  I calm him down, get him to the bathroom, and back to sleep.  I crawl back into my warm cozy nest, a little white dog snuggles up next to me.  I should feel calm, safe, sleepy but, as usual lately, I do not.  My head is pounding.  Sleep is elusive.  I pray, asking for some calm, I beg, I try to relax using an old game we used to do when I swam - squeeze your toes, relax them, tighten your ankles, relax them... onward.  I pet Santana and whisper soft sweet nothings to him.  I lay there in the dark and stare at the ceiling, my mind is racing faster and faster despite my best efforts.  I sit up straight in bed and leap out of bed again.  My heart is racing even faster then when I initially woke up.  I am sweating.  I walk out of the room, I pace and pace and pace and gulp for air and nothing is going in but everything is coming out but no air in. My mind is screaming calm calm calm... I go lay down and then I sit up.  No air.  I tap K gently then with frightening intensity.  'K, I cannot breathe I cannot breathe I think I am having a panic attack please please help me.'  The tears rush out of me at that point, my throat is raw and I cannot breathe.  K is calm, he is calm for both of us.  'Breathe', he whispers. 'Breathe you can you do it.  You are okay.'  I am sobbing and gasping and light headed and I am just listening to him talk.  It is subsiding.  He says 'turn on the TV and breathe'.  I do.  It is 3:20am.
It has been a long time since I have sank this low.  It has been a long time since I've had such a massive panic attack.  I know why I had it, I know why it drop kicked me into the next step.  The Act of Depressing. 
I think it is funny when I believe for long months and, in this case, long years of not being depressed that I have some how kicked being depressed like a bad habit.  Hahaha I laugh to myself.  Were you really like that?  HOW PATHETIC!  Hahahaha.  And then it comes back.  With a vengence.  Evil and unhealthy.  Troublesome.  And worse yet... I cannot just be hollow, I cannot just be depressed, I have children.  Small children who depend on me.  I have a house.  A job.  A husband.  Two dogs.  I have a life goddammit.  I am not supposed to feel this rocked by my old demons.  I want to scream and kick and run and I cannot.  I just feel trapped by the depression and everything else.
Fighting depression with a young family is a little like punching one of those standing punching bags.  It is a losing battle.  You will never knock it down, it is built to stay up, to last.  Here's the thing about being a mother and feeling this level of depression.  When I was a kid, I hated my mother for being depressed all the time.  Hate with a capital 'H'.  I thought she was fucking nuts.  No, I did not say to myself at six years old, she is fucking nuts but I know now those would be the words to describe what I thought about her at that age and beyond.  To me, she was weak, a fraud, insignificant if she could not fight it.  It pissed me off.  It drove me crazy.  It enraged me.

Sadly now I know.  She was not really weak or a fraud or insignificant.  She was fighting it with all of her heart and will.  The fact remains that I do not want my kids to see me the same way I saw her.  I want them to wake up every morning knowing what kind of Mommy they get and not wondering what kind of freak show will show up.  I want them to know Mommy as a calm loving person, not the way I have felt over the past few weeks.
I hate to admit failure.  I hate to admit when I am wrong.  I think there comes a moment in all of our lives where we know something has got to change.  That the act of depressing is not an option any more.  Not that it was ever a good option before kids, but surely my kids deserve better and why carry on some kind of weird depressive family history.  What on earth is the point of that?
Writing is cathartic for me.  So it is a start.  The opposite of depression is elation: joyfulness or exaltation of spirit, as from success, pleasure, or relief; high spirits.  So here's to finding the joyfulness in high spirits.
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