When You Can 'See' Depression Just as Much as You Can 'Feel' It
I want to talk about what I didn’t realize. I have been living with the black dog since my mid-teens. On medication, off medication, in remission, plummeting again. I go through phases of immense motivation to do right by my body, then I have moments of complete despair, moments when I can’t even be bothered to shower.
I didn’t realize I’d feel like I was falling apart. Like literally. The deeper and more lost I get in my depression, the harder it is to look at myself in the mirror. The harder it is to look people in the eye, because I feel like a shadow of who I really can be. My hair is dull — hell — it’s even falling out. I try an up-do, I try blow drying it, I try straightening it. It frustrates me, it exhausts me. I give up and pile it on top of my head in a messy bun.
My skin is dull. I have breakouts I read are hormonal. Yes, I’m a woman in my 30s still fighting the acne war and I’m losing it
miserably. I promise myself I’m going to keep hydrated, get all the alcohol out of my system, and I give up by lunch time. My nails are peeling. They are fragile and peel and snap, and any thoughts I have of ever having hands that look like those ones in the hand cream adds are null and void. My hands look more like an old woman’s hands, wearing the lines and marks of years of pain.
My bones ache. I click and creak. Once upon a time, I pushed myself to being a fit, strong woman. I could run and jump and challenge myself. Now I have to talk myself into going to yoga. It keeps me moving, but damn I find all those aches and pains in my mind and my body.
I want my strength back. I didn’t realize it would feel so difficult.
This is the thing about depression, it creeps in on you. We live in such a fast-paced world that while we are busy going about our days, getting to work, running the kids around, making social meet ups, getting the groceries, thumbing our way through everyone’s perfect online lives — somewhere along the way, we forgot to take care of ourselves. I didn’t realize I was going to be in a head space where I just didn’t care anymore. Numbness fell over me. I watched my nail polish peel off because I couldn’t be bothered. I watched my hair disintegrate because I didn’t care. I watched my body change because I was too hungover to do something for me.
I didn’t realize my mental health was going to take over every inch of my actual being.
I didn’t realize how hard it was going to be to keep up the charade.
I didn’t realize how this blackness could spread from my mind and take my body with it.
I thought my illness was something I could feel, but then I could see it…
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Thinkstock photo via n_chetkova.