Black and Blue

It was many years ago now, the Little Princess was a new baby, not a nine-year-old, and I was not myself. I held her in my arms and wept, apologizing to her because I feared I wouldn’t live to see her grow up even this far. I was depressed.

And for a long time after that deep, and fairly lengthy, depression, I told myself it was all about hormones, that I never would be that scarily beyond reality if I weren’t suffering from postpartum difficulties.

But the truth is that there have been other times since then that I have been so low I wondered if I could rise up at all. And every time I had an excuse, well, such and such was going on, so that triggered it. I’ve never wanted to admit that maybe I’m just a person who suffers from depression.

The feeling of not just sinking, but actually being sunk, has been in my chest for the past couple of days. This is despite having a job I love, at which things are going well. This is despite having a patient, steady husband. This is despite having three kids who are pretty spectacular, each delving deep into creative interests while also doing well at academic pursuits. This is despite having a rich spiritual life. This is despite having two fluffy dogs to love and snuggle.

And even if I could make a case for not quite enough money to go around, or just being so busy that I’m frayed at the edges, the truth seems to be that I am…depressed. The effort to just get out of bed yesterday was Herculean, and even then I couldn’t pull myself together to go to work. I got up and went today, but it was harder than it ought to be.

I remember sitting in the hospital all those years ago, so low I can’t even measure, and listening to the other people there talking about how many times they had been in and out and in again. And I just knew I had to get better and not be like them. I had this idea that I could get better and never be in a bad way again. So it was shocking three years or so ago when I found myself in the Black Lands again. I got through them that time, and found, somewhere, a way to cope. Eventually I felt better. But I looked back and thought, well, that was just a case of feeling insecure about a new relationship and the challenges of distance.

August was full of days like these, and I did a simple thing. I made the bed every day. Somehow that seemed to say, “I’m out of bed, and I’m not going back!” And that helped.

Maybe I’ll go up and make it now.

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