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What I'm Focusing on During This Season of Having Depression

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They don’t tell you that depression sometimes feels like nothingness. Like food turning to ash in your mouth, sleep as nothing more than a way to teleport through time and accomplishments just boxes on a checklist. They don’t tell you that sometimes it’s hard to even notice it’s happening, until you stand side-by-side with another person. I don’t mean a conscious comparison, but how the individual energy clashes — my lack of feeling makes me feel out of place while watching others go about their day. My lack of enthusiasm and drive stand out while trying to encourage my children to really dive into an activity or stretch themselves. It’s hard to give something you don’t have, at least to give it consistently.

I didn’t know until I was 28 that I have epilepsy in my frontal and right temporal lobes. But I have known most of my life that I experienced a certain kind of sadness, or an absence of “go.” I was 28, after 10 years of various kinds of talk therapy to learn coping and healing tools. And while I wouldn’t trade the life-changing choices I made, my brain needed more help than my heart did.

Now this story could be about a lot of things, but I want to focus on one. I spend a lot of time reminding myself I have epilepsy, that perhaps I’ve pushed myself too hard, or maybe I need to eat better, get some sun or talk with a friend — because I know those things help me focus on the future. Why is that important? Because the day I no longer believe the future is important, or like it no longer holds something for me, is the day I give up. And I’ve come way too far to give up.

I go through the motions a lot during seasons like these, because sometimes in the in between (the moments between moments), I feel alive and sober. I feel deep, remarkable pride, grief and joy and everything in between. I’m fortunate that my seasons of depression haven’t been as lengthy as they were in the past. I’m fortunate that I sought so much counsel and therapy. Because it doesn’t matter what causes the depression if you don’t have tools to protect your mind from self-harm, or a support system you’re willing to be transparent with.

Depression is something that thousands of people experience, triggered by illness, loss or trauma. Depression, however, is a symptom of something that needs mending. Broken hearts or broken brains — don’t keep it to yourself.

“You aren’t a burden… you have a burden, which by definition is too heavy to carry alone.”

Photo by Caleb George on Unsplash

Originally published: February 14, 2020
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