To My Former Self:
I see how you have been in bed for days at a time now and I’m concerned. I see that you haven’t eaten but only enough to keep you breathing and I’m worried. I watch you as you vacantly stare at that corner in your room that houses the t.v. that is never turned on. Your vacancy worries me, too.
I see how you struggle with yourself inside your head every morning to pull that weight that feels like a thousand pounds from your bed. I also see how some mornings you just can’t carry that weight today.
I know the thoughts that seep into your brain and stay there, unwelcome. You don’t know how you got this way. You don’t know why you’re so screwed up. You don’t know why you can’t just “get over it” and enjoy the sunshine like everyone else, it seems.
I watch you as you shudder at the compliments on your recent weight loss. “You’ve lost so much weight! How did you do it?” You want to answer with the truth. You want to let them know eating doesn’t have a place when you are fighting to stay alive. But I hear you as you nervously tell them, “Oh, you know, the boring cutting calories and exercise!” and hope that the subject is dropped. I hear your sobs and know that they are coming from an intense and complicated grief. You don’t care about your weight, your appearance, or what you are doing to your body.
Depression has permeated every pore in your body and you are just.so.tired. I know this is an exhaustion you have never felt before. This is the type of exhaustion that lets you sleep for hours upon hours and when you wake up, you are only slightly less exhausted. There is an odd mix between insomnia and constant sleeping that not even you understand.
Speaking of sleeping, I watch you wrestle with your thoughts in the darkness of the night. I see the thought creep into your mind each night that maybe you won’t have to face another day of this hell. I know that the night has always been your enemy. The literal darkness only compounds the figurative darkness that is enveloping your mind.
I beg you to please hold on.
I can speak of these things because I know there is another side, one you will come to soon. One day, one moment, the fog will begin to lift. Pieces of light will begin to shatter through the darkness but only in fragments. I can promise you that the best thing you will do for yourself will be reaching out for help. You don’t feel like you can be helped but you know you can’t feel this way any longer. I know you will feel a sense of relief for the first time in months when someone acknowledges you are actually depressed and not just lazy or selfish.
There is hope.
There is always hope. You don’t see it now but hang in there for just a little while longer and you will see it. You will begin to see it again in the eyes of your children and the feel of their little hands wrapped around yours. You will hear it in their voices as they tell you they love you and giggle playfully. You will begin to feel it when you begin to love yourself again by just giving yourself some grace.
If you are struggling with depression, please know that there are resources available out there for you. If you are in the U.S., please reach out to 1-800-273-8255 and talk to someone. No matter how alone depression makes you feel, you are never alone in your fight.