Apparently I’m depressed. It’s weird because I’ve been depressed before. In fact I was once clinically diagnosed with moderate to severe depression. I remember the moment perfectly. I had felt sad plenty of other times in my life. But this time felt different. This time felt like it had lasted too long. It wasn’t a day, a week, or even a month. It had been weeks, months, and I finally made a doctor appointment and went in to explore if I needed medical intervention. And the doctor gently told me she would ask me a series of questions to determine how I was doing. I gladly agreed. She began, I answered, she continued, I answered, and then I broke down crying. It became obvious in that moment that I was deeply and utterly depressed. Her questions were so basic, things like rate your level of appetite, energy, enjoyment, sleep or lack of sleep, etc. And I slowly realized with every question that I was down, like real down. Appetite? None. Energy? None. Sleeping? Wish I could do it all the time. Enjoyment? Can’t remember the last time. Etc etc. I realized before she finished what the diagnosis would be. Thankfully at the last couple of questions about wanting to no longer be alive and thinking about hurting myself, I said no, I don’t feel either of those. She announced “you have moderate to severe depression.” I took medication for a month. It was powerful. It worked. Then the external life circumstances that had caused this changed and the things that were haunting me got better. This time feels different, to some extent. It feels more internal, like not much could truly change it. This time I don’t want to take medication. Not being I don’t believe in them – true, it took a lot for me to finally agree I needed them, I prefer avoiding medication when possible – but because I feel like what’s stirring inside me is demanding to get out. Bottling it up further by taking medication will not serve me in the long run. I feel like my whole life has led to this moment. I feel like my whole being is demanding my attention. Silencing it with numbing medication doesn’t feel right.
So how do I cope with it this time around? And what exactly is it? I don’t know. I was at a brunch this wkend and a friend asked “D, are you depressed? You seem to me like you might be. I recognize the symptoms, I’ve been there.” I thought I was hiding it quite well. I’ve certainly been honest and authentic, but I thought it wasn’t so obvious. Apparently I was wrong. Last week, my sister R asked me the same exact question. So I think it’s official. And now I don’t know how to respond to the part inside me that wants to be heard.
I feel like it wants to talk to me for days on end, or possibly months. I only have minutes or hours of free time in my days and yet this thing inside is demanding what feels like a year of my attention. Like I’ve spent my whole life distracting it and telling it “We’ll talk soon.” And finally it’s breaking down, and saying “I can’t wait anymore. We need to talk now.”
I took a day off last week where I decided I would pay attention to it and what came out was fascinating. It feels like my whole life I’ve been keeping everything together and my soul/mind/body is utterly and completely exhausted. Tired of pretending, tired of feeling like I have to act a certain way, tired of caring about everyone including people I don’t even know, tired of asking questions and spending every second of every day looking for the answers, tired… tired… tired.
Self-love. I think that’s what I need. I think my self-love is beyond empty. I’m not sure I’ve ever known how to refuel it. I feel like I’ve spent my whole life worrying about others that I don’t even know myself. Damn.
I’m sitting at Starbucks right now and the sun is so strong that I can’t really think. Maybe I can put a Change Me Prayer into the universe inspired by Tosha Silver’s amazing writings. Here it goes:
Divine please change me into someone who can trust you have my back. Please help me be kind to myself and patient as the answers become clearer. Please help me trust the answers will come and help me see the ones already here. Please allow me to blossom into the person I am destined to be in the Divine Plan and be willing to let go of the things that no longer serve me. Please change me into someone who can fuel her soul with so much self-love that it pours onto others, not pours onto others from an empty tank. Please change me into someone who can follow her heart completely with courage and gentleness.
At a loss so will sign off for now. The CMP is a good exercise. I’ll return to it. I have a feeling it can unlock a lot of what’s buried inside.
[Re: the title. It speaks to my existentialism. My obsession with understanding why we’re here and what life is about has often taken a lot out of me. Recently I’ve become convinced aliens exist. I heard a first-hand account of a close friend who saw a spaceship in Colorado as a teen and I believe him. This realization makes the concept of “universe” feel perhaps more real and also “different”. I always equated God to the Universe. Now the word feels more in line with how we use it in science. Anywhoooo…]