Fighting the Battles of Depression

I once thought that depression was all in someone’s head, that it wasn’t as severe as people made it out to be until I dealt with it on my own. God, I was such a freaking idiot. Sometimes it isn’t easy to get out of bed. Even when we administer medication, there are moments when we all face various forms of depression. The most challenging part of the battles is when we don’t see the episodes coming. Our self-esteem takes a beating. I know it happened this past weekend when someone I care for accused me of something I didn’t do. Her paranoia over something that happened with another person took hold, and she let me have it with all barrels. I suppose I should chalk it up to the fact that she could lash out, and I’d still love her, but it does get tiring walking on eggshells with someone that you never know what you do to make them upset.

My life is full of issues that could cause me to wallow in self-pity and loathing. But after all the training in college and therapy that I’ve encountered, I’ve learned that depression isn’t something that people always see coming. The first week of my marriage, I knew I had made a colossal mistake, but I hung in there because I wanted to make the marriage work. We were wrong for each other all along, but we loved each other, or so I thought. It was during that time that my depression began to take hold. I didn’t see the signs, or instead, I saw them but chose to ignore what I saw. I confided in the wrong people, and when I spoke with my husband about my concerns, he listened for a small amount of time, and things would always go back to the way they previously were. I felt alone and lost. I didn’t know how to communicate without hitting him over the head with a four-by-four, which would not be wise. I couldn’t understand that his actions were only part of the problem. I took his behavior without too much fighting back. I allowed him freedoms that I never should in the first place. Instead, I chose to complain and gripe and become bitter. What good did that do? Absolutely none down the road.

I suppressed my emotions and learned to allow the behavior to continue for years. It was only after significant changes in our lives that I began to question everything. How could I let this behavior continue when I fell out of love with him? It didn’t help that I fell for another man during that time and didn’t pursue the relationship because I knew it would not be a healthy environment for either of us. I gave the other man conflicting signals. No wonder he had whiplash from my actions and attitudes. I was not okay mentally.

My husband rarely came home after work until late in the evening. He coached the ROTC program at his alma mater, and while it was a worthy and noble thing to do, it caused a lot of conflict in our marriage. He spent more time at work and school than he did with me, and I heard rumors that he was having inappropriate relations with the kids at the school. I didn’t know what to believe, so I changed my schedule and started volunteering myself. I loved the kids and the program, but I didn’t love feeling like our marriage always took a backseat. Anything he wanted to do, we did, no questions asked. But when it came to what I wanted, I had no clue. I changed everything about my life to meet his needs and wants and lost my identity in the process.

I did what a lot of people do to save a relationship. I tried getting pregnant. That was a gigantic mistake. Not only did I lose my child, but my depression worsened. I lost everything: my marriage, job, child, and identity. My depression became full-blown. Sometimes I would look in the mirror and see only my shell. I couldn’t see my soul because my eyes were blank, and I felt numb and cold, isolated and torn. My skin felt like it aged overnight. My heart ached in ways that I can’t explain. When you lose a child, you don’t lose only the child. You lose a sense of worthiness. You lose the pride and hope that you once held in your womb. You feel a gaping hole in your soul that feels like it will never heal. Then when time passes, you either find yourself able to conceive and carry again or discover that you will never know what it feels like to have a child either in your womb and deliver or hold them in your arms. That’s when the depression grips hard. You see so many people around you forming families and talking of the incredible joys and wonder. At the same time, you experience a hollowness, and it’s challenging to keep from lashing out at those for their happiness while you are fighting severe wounds.

I fought hard with God over the pain, both physically and emotionally. Where I lacked the most skill was bouncing back quickly. I started to get over the grief, and then my ex-husband wrote on Facebook about how he’d never been happier with his new love. Many people congratulated him soon after, and when I texted him about it, he told me they were pregnant. The pain in my heart was so sharp that it pierced through my entire body. I shook with pain and anger. The betrayal I felt was immense. I cursed that child, and while I knew that was wrong, I wanted her to grow up and inflict the kind of pain on him that he gave me. I was worse than hurt. It wasn’t because I wanted him back. It was because I felt robbed.

I lost friendships over the years for various reasons. Some were my fault, and others weren’t. Some of those relationships ran their course. Fighting battles with depression are when you don’t recognize you are depressed; it’s difficult to get treatment. Acknowledging the depression is the first step to getting help. According to the Healthline website, a few symptoms can alert you to the various things you need to watch out for in your behavior. For example, do you have a hopeless outlook? For a long time, I did. I couldn’t see the positives in anything. I hated what I experienced. I couldn’t recognize that I had other things in life I was sent to do, and raising a child wasn’t one of them. 

Then I discovered that my so-called best friends had gone behind my back and told my then-husband information that wasn’t theirs to tell. One of them told him to ignore me so that I’d come crawling back to him. She knew what he put me through, yet she told him how to get me back. I’m not like my friends. I don’t feel the constant need to get a man at every moment. I like feeling strong and independent. And I’m not too fond of the idea of being with someone who makes me feel inadequate, disrespected, and unworthy of a true partnership. I’d rather be with someone for the right reasons than go home to some schmuck to be with someone. When I found out what she did, my anger rose because talking to another person’s significant other is not a friends’ place. When that line crosses, many issues stem from those actions. In our case, it was one of many issues that caused our friendship to disintegrate. Mourning the loss of a forty-year friendship wasn’t easy for either of us, but it’s opened up new opportunities for both of us, and I think it’s helped my depression. When you find that your depression is less because of how the other person made you feel, that tells you that the friendship wasn’t as strong as you perceived.

Another issue to note is the loss of interest in what a person is doing. I once loved reading every night. When my depression started to take over every aspect of my life, I fell away from reading every night. I came up with many excuses, and I didn’t acknowledge what was going on but instead ignored the signs. My anxiety levels increased, and it became increasingly challenging to remain focused. I was consistently tired, and my appetite was horrible. These few things made me aware of what I felt, but the point I’m making is simple. We all have issues in our lives that make us feel depressed, anxious, unworthy, and not good enough. The key is to find ways to handle those emotions. If you need help, please make an effort to reach out and get help. Talk to someone you trust if you don’t think it’s severe enough to seek counseling. The important thing is you take care of yourself. Life is fragile, and we all have a purpose. Pay attention to what your body tells you and get the assistance it may require. You never know. You could help many people who struggle like you along the way. Have a great day, everyone.  

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