There’s not a day that goes by that I am not depressed. It’s built into my DNA, like blue eyes or high blood pressure would be. And even if I try to numb it—with shopping, or food, or aimless scrolling through the internet—it still finds me anyway because it is me.
It took me far too long to realize you can’t outrun yourself.
Because the truth is, even though depression (and its sneaky little sidekick anxiety) have been built into my bones, there was an ebb and flow to my days. Some were good and conquerable. Some, I suffered through. But there was just enough balance to convince me I was fine. The world had fed me the idea that depression looked like staying in bed every day, and because I was still rising, and sometimes thriving, I thought I could get by. I just surrendered to the fact that this was my lot in life: I’d always be the girl with a little extra dark and a little less light.
But then I went to try on dresses.
It was just a seemingly average day in the life of a functioning depressive. I dressed myself and my kids. I sent them to school. I worked out, ate a protein bar, sat in my car, and felt nothing. Not happy, not sad, just numb. You see, that’s the sharpest tool in my minds box—it wants me not to feel. If I’m indifferent about life than I’m not living it and the dark side wins.
I tried one of my go-to fixes: buying things I don’t need, as if “stuff” is a cure-all for suffering. But when I entered the dressing room, the pain slipped in so fast I had no choice but to sit. Unbuttoning one more button seemed like too big of an ask.
This is how depression works: you’re just floating along and it pops in unannounced, setting up shop, refusing to leave until it’s good and ready.
So I decided not to fight, and found a seat.
I looked at myself for a long while, at first judgingly (because that’s what a warped mindset will do to you). I hated the dark circles under my eyes. I hated my messy bun and how I was still losing hair three years after having children. I hated that the dress I tried on was in the double digits. Why couldn’t I be meek, and small, and blend in beautifully with everyone else?
And most of all, I hated my life. I hated that I had a history of abuse and never wanted to be intimate with my husband. I hated that that very husband had a failing heart and my only two children were both on the spectrum. Most days this diagnosis blends into our every day lives, but not today—today it felt heavy. Today I wished I didn’t have to put back the clothes I tried on because of therapy costs.
Today, I hated that everything was harder for me, even trying on an ill-fitting gown.
I sat there for an unreasonably long time. So long that I finally started to see something new: