The Text That Reassured Me It’s OK to Struggle With Depression
I never expect anyone to know what to say. I think that is what can be so terrifying about reaching out, even in a text. Any other conversation in the known universe has an expected response… a “normal” response:
“I ate a bad burrito and I am keeled over the toilet.”
That’s awful! Drink some ginger ale and feel better!
“I have the flu and can barely function.”
I am so sorry! Try a warm bath and some vitamin C tablets!
There are days when I wish I was in the throes of body aches, fevers or food poisoning than to be calling out of work for depression again. Days where I wish I could say my body is failing because it is too much to explain I am mentally ill. Instead of same-day doctor’s visits for antibiotics or the standard soup/rest combo, I have same-day doctor’s visits to change my antidepressant regimen and look into other therapy options.
Sometimes I wonder how relatable any of that actually is?
There is only a thimble of people I talk to about the lengths of my mental illness. One of them is my mom. This morning, depression crushed me and took the last operating bone in my body with it. I called out of work, scheduled a doctor’s appointment online, and sat in bed racing through thoughts of being a catastrophic disappointment. I cried and then cried some more. Finally, I decided to tell someone. I texted my mom.
What’s in a text? Sometimes a whole lot of nothing, and other times… a surprising amount of everything. My mother, who has been dealing with a lot of category five health issues lately, doesn’t always know what to say to her dear depressed daughter and I actually understand that more than I do my own self. I mean, how can I blame someone for struggling with a resolutive response to an issue I can barely describe? This morning, she responded with something that really grounded me at that moment, though.
“It is work to take care of our human bodies.”
That sentiment soothed me. Reflecting on the many colds and flus I have had in this short but relentless 25-year life of mine, I realized that the amount of work it took to overcome those viruses is cumulatively much less than the effort it has taken me to get through one week of unruly depression. In the end, all of it is work to survive. My immune system is just as valuable to my survival as my psyche.
There are many articles and books out there that prove this to be true as well. Many sources of information you can dig into to find a better understanding of the power and necessity of good mental health. An unprecedented competitor though is finding that understanding within the ones you love. A well-written, well-researched piece will do little to cradle the broken pieces of you like a connection and understanding from the tangible people around you.
So, what’s in a text? A chance. A chance to connect with your mentally ill loved ones. It doesn’t have to be a profound and philosophical novel either. The answer could be a mere thought and found right in your own humanly experiences.
My mother has spent the last year or so in and out of emergency rooms and ICUs. She has been physically demanded out of life to take care of her body. She may have never walked this path of mental derailment but she has had her own series of hardships take over life as she knows it. Today, she gave me a breath of that experience to bridge the gap. “It is work to take care of our human bodies.”
I encourage you to do the same. To bridge the gap. To text back. Because what’s in a text could be the difference between spiraling down or getting back up.
Now off to “work” I go.
Image via contributor.