Wednesday, August 13, 2014

What You Need to Know About the Darkness.

"I don't want my kids to remember the days that mommy was sad. I don't want my kids to remember the days where mommy wasn't herself. Where mommy didn't want to get up. Where mommy didn't speak. The days where they could misinterpret my actions or lack thereof to mean I didn't like them.

The acting role I put on in front of other people, I wish it would carry over into their little lives inside our home. That I could always have my smile on, make my jokes and pretend with them that Mama's day couldn't get any brighter. Only because I don't want them to know how dark it feels.

But these are the days where I parent from the pit. The dark pit. I have to get through it and out of it and over it and I will. Until then, I have to just keep going. And they likely will remember it. They'll remember Mama got sad. Mama was emotional. Mama had her baggage. Hopefully it will make for colorful stories when they're older and maybe help them cope with their own emotions they'll likely inherit from two passionately emotional parents.

The last bout of this led me to make the heavy decision to begin taking meds again. I'd been on medication for most of my life so this was no course I was stranger to. There had been times in the past where the prescription in my hands felt like a life preserver thrown out to save me. (Remember when your prescription was written out on paper for YOU to deliver to the pharmacist?? Until I wrote that I forgot that that was a thing!)
This time, it felt like such a defeat. I couldn't do it anymore. On my own. I couldn't do it. I needed the help and it was a punch in the gut.

Since being on something life has felt so much more bearable. Like the scales weren't always tipping over, out of bounds and out of control. But I've sunk back into something so familiar. And it's ok, I just wish I knew how to better parent through it."

I'm not good at sharing the dark things. At letting people into the dark times. I wrote the above in one of my dark times from the pit. I don't talk to anyone about it, I make jokes instead. I don't cry to anyone, I smile instead. If you ask me how I'm doing in these times, I'll say I'm fine. But I'll go home and feel totally alone in the pit of depression. So I'll write about it and process through it (usually with my poor husband trying his best to be beside me) and instead of clicking "publish", I'll click "save". There it will sit in draft form on my computer so I can continue to hide in the darkness until I can fight my way out again.

I struggle with it everyday. I fight it everyday. I survive it everyday. 

I've had depression for most of my life so I am no stranger to it and it no stranger to me. In its clutch you find yourself thinking through what life would look like without you. There have been dangerous times where the conclusion I came to was brighter, better, without me. And the darkness almost won out. Thankfully, luckily, truthfully, I'm so glad it didn't.

I am no stranger to it and it no stranger to me. I know how to starve it of its plots and persuasions. 

There was a day a couple of months ago, though, that I entertained the darkness with its ideas of the end. I know how this sounds. I don't think of suicide all the time. I promise, no one has anything to worry about. I'm bluntly stating what ongoing depression looks like.

So I thought about it. What would this life look like without me? And what came back to me wasn't so bad.
And I knew I needed more help.

My strength of mind wasn't helping me anymore. My positive demeanor wasn't helping me anymore. Praying about it wasn't helping me anymore. Singing, playing, laughing wasn't helping anymore.

"To my fellow Bad Ass Survivors: Take your goddamn meds and don’t listen to anybody who tries to shame you out of them. They just don’t know- because they don’t have to know. They are two-legged men calling prostheses a crutch. They will not be there in the dark with you. They won’t. You can choose to ignore their reckless voices now or the monster’s voice later. Bite the freaking bullet and swallow the damn pills. I think of my medicine like I do my faith- if I find out one day that it’s all bullshit- oh, well. It made me happy and helped me love life and my people better." - Glennon Doyle, Momastery

And I knew I needed the life preserver. I needed the medicine I tried so hard to do without for so long. I had believed I was too strong for antidepressants. I could do without them. I didn't want them. It's frowned upon greatly to take them during pregnancy and my withdrawals from it during my first pregnancy were brutal. My postpartum depression devoured me alive and I was too afraid and too ashamed to take anything for it. 

I'm not going to risk birth defects. I'm not going to risk withdrawals. I'm stronger than that. I can do this. 
But I couldn't. 

I walked into the Doctor's office with my two girls and told the Doctor, through choked back tears, a faulty smile and matter of fact voice that I couldn't do it on my own anymore. 

And since that day, my own dark passenger has shut the hell up. 

When Robin Williams died, everyone was shaken and grieving. It was like losing a father figure. And so many people were so absolutely baffled as to how someone so happy could kill them self. How could someone be hurting so bad and hide it so well.

Some of us were shaken to our core for exactly that reason. Some of us do that and some of us suddenly felt so unsafe.

His darkness won out. 
It's devastating.
It's horrifying. 
I'm not safe either.

And I found myself angry at the people calling him "selfish". The people forming arrogant and ignorant opinions about him and the people who suffer from a darkness so bleak.
I found myself fuming at people who took it upon themselves to advise others to stay away from anti depressants. 'Pray about it instead', they said. 'Draw close to God instead," they said. 'Watch your diet instead'. 'Take herbal supplements'

I'm here to punch all of those people in the throat. Right now. If you said that, I just punched you in the throat. You're shaming people away from something that could help them. So shut up.

All of those things are good. All of those things are important. SO IS TAKING YOUR MEDS. If your chemical imbalance is paralyzing you, please talk to someone about it. I'm begging you.

If taking a natural supplement helps you, that's fantastic and I want to give you a big hug- you have successfully silenced your darkness.
If exercising and eating gluten free everything helps you,  that's fantastic and I want to give you a big hug- you have successfully silenced your darkness.
If taking anti-depressants and making sure you don't miss a single effing day helps you, that's fantastic and I want to give you a big hug- you have successfully silenced your darkness.

The shaming stops here, with the death of a great man who made some sort of positive impact on everyone. 
A man who didn't deserve this and his family who didn't deserve it either.
A man whose laugh and joy will forever silence the darkness that took him.

With the shock and mourning following Robin Williams' death, I find solace in the other voices ringing louder and louder. Telling people to seek help. Yelling for those hurting to seek help. Someone who needs to hear those voices will. We are still here.

"Do not go gentle into that good night.

Rage, rage against the dying of the light."