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When Depression Strikes Again

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Recently I had to confess the one thing I hoped I would never have to confess again.

I think my depression might be coming back.

I fought it. I fought it longer than I care to admit. Sure, the long naps and intermittent sleepless nights and sugar binges should have been a sign, but denial flows thick in my veins.

I actually said it out loud to my friend. Well first, I sipped on my coffee for 45 minutes and asked her about her life with feigned interest. Then I looked attentively at things she showed me on her smart phone, hoping the minutes would tick by and I wouldn’t have to spill my guts. But she knew. I knew she knew. She probably knew months ago. She’s one of me. She’s spent years on the bipolar express trying to outsmart the pendulum as it swings violently from superhero to angel of death.

The words came out in a roundabout way. “I think I’m a little distracted, just a little off the beam.” That darned beam. I didn’t know what people were talking about when I first came into recovery. Eventually I got it. Then I got on it.

My good, grounded friend reassured me not to jump to conclusions. “Just focus on right now,” she said. So I mentally erased all thoughts of tacky Halloween costumes, Christmas stress and excruciating middle school fights with my daughter who hadn’t entered sixth grade yet. Instead I tried to be in the present — noticing the July heat and how the sweat droplets it created on my cheeks perfectly masked the tears I couldn’t contain.

I hate depression. I like recovery — except when I’m depressed. Because that’s when I have to do the things I don’t want to do. I know I have to share my feelings. I know I have to tell my husband that even though I think he can’t tell my sarcasm and irritability are out of control, I actually love him despite my cleft tongue; I have to tell him what he already suspects — the despised depression is trying to take over his wife again.

But this time I won’t let it…if only it were that easy. I don’t want to let it. But I don’t want to do what I have to do to keep it from swallowing me up. That’s the nature of the illness. So I guess for now I’ll just try to stay focused on staying in the moment. The moment just off the beam. I’ll try to stay in close contact until I can get back on it comfortably.

Because with the help of my friends, mental health professionals and others like me I will get back on the beam. In the meantime, I’ll try to read some funny stuff. Because the best medicine for my sick head is laughter – at others, at my situation and even at myself.

Take that depression! I’ll conquer you again.

Originally published: November 29, 2015
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