I’m struggling today.

Maybe it’s the lack of sleep or the fact that the streets of Staten Island are covered in yet another solid sheet of ice, but I woke up feeling half-empty. Sure, I smiled and snuggled my daughter before I dropped her off at daycare, but something was missing. I am missing.

If I am to be completely honest, the last few months have been better. I’ve learned to tap into my emotions—i.e. to have emotion—and to try to take life “one day at a time” (a concept which is nearly fucking impossible for someone who is chronically depressed). I’ve been going to therapy on a fairly consistent basis and I have been taking better care of myself, physically and emotionally. But I am not better and today sucks. I cannot shake this shitty feeling and I cannot shift my focus back to the present. I am lost in the darkness in a stagnant sea of self-loathing. I am stuck in the past and avoiding my future.

But, as always, I have slapped on my “happy face,” the one I practice in the mirror to keep up appearances. I know I put on a good face; I always have—which is part of a problem I know now started long ago. I can carry on a conversation and I may even muster up a fake laugh or two, but I am rarely okay, even when I say I am. It is part depression, part anxiety, and part of me.

On days like these I question everything. I question myself and every decision I have ever made (and I mean every decision). I use the silence to I question my relationships. I question my friendships. I question the true intentions of my family, and I question the reason my husband is still with me, having seen the insanity first hand—having stood beside me after suicidal threats, tendencies, and even attempts. I consider running away. The truth is running won’t save me from me, I know that, but it will save those I love from me—from feeling obligated to support me or stand beside me.

Depression and anxiety is fucked like that. Depression makes me want to push everyone away but anxiety causes me to pull everyone closer—but not too close. I want to be alone but desperately need a hug or to be held or to be told it’s okay to not be okay. (Whatever you do, please do not tell me it will get better. As well-intentioned—and true—as that statement may be, it is not what I need in the depths of this depressive hell. I just need a god damn hug.)

I keep trying to put depression into words but I can’t. (Shit, as I reread this I realize I can barely put my feelings into words let alone an entire disease.)

It’s not even the sadness I struggle with anymore, it’s the little things: the emptiness, the silence, the racing thoughts, the isolation. I struggle to catch my breath and try, in vain, to soothe the lump in my throat with copious amounts of cold water but I can’t. My eyes sting and burn and I can’t focus. I am cold and numb. I am wounded and raw. I may smile but inside, behind my crooked teeth and cracked lips, I am expressionless, emotionless, and flat. And the longer I linger here, and the more I struggle, the worse it becomes.

So on days like today, when all feels lost and depression is all-consuming, I will remind myself what one of my favorite bloggers once said, “maybe everything isn’t hopeless bullshit.”

And maybe that is the best advice I can give myself and others…

Photo by Kimberly Zapata
Photo by Kimberly Zapata
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