An Exhausting Day in My Life With Depression
For me, every day I wake up is a battle. Most people don’t know and only some are now learning I have major depressive disorder, panic disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (from a currently unknown cause). I see two different therapists, each to treat different conditions. I’m on multiple medications just to try and keep me from completely breaking down every day. Each medication has its own side effect that takes its toll on my physically and mentally.
I have always been the happy girl, the go-to girl, the girl with the answers, and it’s hard for people around me to deal with me not being all there for them. People begin judging or talking amongst themselves on what is going on with me. So instead, I spend most of my days trying to smile and pretending nothing is wrong. On most days I wake up, take my meds, take my time getting ready (at this point I don’t even wear much makeup or bother doing my hair), and eventually drag myself out of the house to work. At work I do what I can to not fall behind, which is a struggle in itself because I’m constantly distracted by my thoughts and emotions. When people come to me with questions or tasks, I quickly put on the happy-girl smile and tend to their needs, the whole time just wanting to tell them to go away and let me be alone. But that’s not reality in a work setting, especially when you are the person in charge of getting things handled for your team. When they turn their back to leave, my smile fades and I write down what they needed because I’m likely to forget what it was within 5-10 minutes. I move through my day like a zombie making sure to smile at anyone who comes near so they won’t notice. I barely leave my office anymore. My blinds are drawn, and my lights are off. I attribute this to my migraines, but mostly it is because I can’t stand looking out at a gorgeous day and knowing I’m trapped physically and mentally inside.
By lunch time, I slap a smile on my face and pick up my kids from school. They have grown used to the fact that Mommy needs to take a nap during lunch breaks and thankfully haven’t really asked me why. My son even comes over to rub my back occasionally. If I don’t manage to fall asleep, I’m angry going back to work on top of feeling miserable and wanting to cry and hide. I finish up the end of the day the same way I began it: smile at the people, tell them I’m on top of the task they have asked of me. When 5 p.m. comes along, I have to pace myself walking out because running people over in the hallway is not acceptable.
I drive the five minutes home nearly in tears. It’s been another day I simply couldn’t break the depression cycle. I wipe my eyes before walking in so my kids don’t know I’ve been crying. From here I usually lay back down on the couch to rest some more. Faking happiness is exhausting.
Most days I have to order dinner out for the family because I simply don’t have the energy to cook. The days I cook are always made up of “easy meals”: tacos, mac and cheese, leftovers. Anything that will take 15 minutes or less because that’s all I have in me. By the time I’ve made dinner, I’m not even hungry. If it’s just me and the kids home, I won’t eat. If my husband is home, I force myself to eat as much as I can so he doesn’t get too concerned about me “not being hungry” again.
The evenings I usually lay on the couch and play with my phone while watching TV. It’s mindless and requires no real energy. I smile as much as I can when my husband asks me if I’m OK. On days where I’m being more honest with myself and him, I’ll answer “I’m trying to be.”
I try to go to bed early. I used to fall asleep within five minutes of my head hitting the pillow. Now I lay there for hours, unable to turn my brain off. Begging myself to fall asleep. Praying to let this all get better so I can be “me” again.
The next day I wake up exhausted, and the battle to get through another day begins all over again. The cycle never ends.
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Thinkstock photo by Andy Nowack