How New Year's Eve Was Different for Me as Someone With Major Depression
Last night, I saw joyful posts from people celebrating New Year’s Eve, sharing photos with their families and friends, as well as optimistic statements about the coming year. For me, no matter how hard I tried, I could not pull myself out of my slump. The thoughts kept cycling in and out, but I could not stop them. As much as I wanted to make it a truly “Happy New Year,” I could only think of what I did not have around me.
Right now, I can easily think of reasons I should have been happy. My children were in a good mood and generally getting along with one another. My husband did everything he could to make it pleasant. I had family with me. I had someone to kiss when the ball dropped. And, for goodness sake, I really do have so much going for me. I finished my master’s in education program before Christmas. I won several grants so I could get Chromebooks for my classroom. I’ve been recognized at the school board. Truly, I am blessed, but the fact that I’m not happy despite all of that actually makes me feel worse.
What’s wrong with me? I kept thinking. Beating myself up about not feeling gratitude. I hurt my husband’s feelings, because being with him was not enough for me. I wanted to be surrounded by friends and family, celebrating in the way I imagine “most” people do, which led me to thinking about how few friends I have and how many I’ve lost over the years. By the way, Facebook’s memories can be horrible to look at when you feel like you’ve lost so much. Or gained so much, if we’re talking about weight. What has happened to my life? I wondered. And then, more thoughts came. Like, Who am I, really? Where did I go? About four years ago, I literally lost my mind. When I did that, I lost a majority of my friends, who did not understand the person they were speaking to was speaking from a place of hurt. I guess I can’t blame them. Who wants to be around a person who overreacts to everything and always sees the downside of things? I don’t even want to be around me. Why would anyone else?
As everyone makes their New Year’s resolutions, I could only think that I just want to be happy. I want to be more positive. I want to fix what’s broken inside of me. Even after I took my evening cocktail of medications designed to keep the depression, fibromyalgia and everything else at bay, I could not sleep. I lied awake in bed thinking about how horrible I made this day for my husband. Thinking about how hurt I felt when he got real with me about it. Wondering if I could make it through another year. In the end, I went to bed feeling sad and alone.
This whole depression thing is a monster. It storms through my life, ruining everything it touches. While this self-defeating attitude is not helpful and I can recognize this fact, the battle that goes on inside my head — the struggle to find something positive to say — often winds up being a losing one. This monster feels bigger than I am. It’s a real bully. I’m not totally sure how to defeat the monster, because I don’t feel as if I have the right weapons to defeat it.
This year, I want more than anything to be as happy as I look in the pictures or, even better, as happy as people around me appear to be. I don’t really put much effort into hiding the cloak of darkness that surrounds me, but I hate it when I enshroud other people in it without meaning to. To my husband and my children, I am sorry for what I become when it takes hold of me. To everyone else, I wish I knew how to puke rainbows when it feels more like I’m dying inside. Some people say you can decide to be happy. I say that I wish I fought more successfully against the negativity. If you could only hear the battle that rages on in my head, you might feel just as confused and exhausted as I do. Each day I am alive is a small victory. I know this may not be the happiest New Year’s post out there, but it’s what I have got. Please bear with me while I fight for my happiness, my marriage, and for a lesser impact on my children. I thank God for everyone who chooses to still speak to me even when I may fail to recognize the bright moments in my everyday life. And honestly, I could use a support system if anyone’s willing to be there.
2017. The year of my pursuit of happiness? I guess we’ll find out.
Image via Thinkstock.
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