We all want our loved ones to feel better when things are going poorly, but I am not sure everyone understands just what is involved in the recovery process of depression. Not that everyone should, but with most things in life- sometimes some perspective goes a long way.
You never quite feel complete again. You never quite feel in control again.
One of the worst parts of depression is realizing that you are no longer in control- despite what you may want to believe, the brain is something that modern science does not have all the answers to yet.
The only real control I have is whether or not I am on top of taking my meds. That’s all. Thankfully I am.
I am by nature a positive person. I have always been a ‘glass half full’ personality. You know that annoying person who is always able to find the positive in any situation? That’s me. At least, it used to be.
People always used to ask me how I could see the good in people and situations all the time, and I would always have the same answer; because I CHOOSE to. Despite all that I have been through, I still always try to see the good in things. To this day, even after all she has put me through I still can’t bring myself to wish ill of my ex-wife. I cannot say that I hate her.
I believe that most people can choose their own reality. After all, I was able to for many years. If you are old enough to remember those “Choose Your Own Adventure” books, I absolutely loved them. I guess deep down I like to have control- which isn’t a bad thing.
The problem is that with depression, we lose the ability to choose how to perceive our lives. No matter what we WANT to feel, there is chemistry at work in the grey matter that makes those perceptions for us. And we lose control, or at least our ability to control how we feel about that.
And that’s where the cost of recovery comes in. Nobody wants to feel low, nobody wants to be depressed, and even with a great support system we don’t want to feel like we are a burden to our loved ones, so we do our best to push our problems down because all we want to do is regain some semblance of control again.
It feels like a vicious cycle; I know I am allowed to have bad days and I know my loved ones aren’t judging me, but I don’t want to drag them down any further with my problems knowing I am already taxing them enough but if I don’t lean on them- it could be detrimental to my mental health…
Then there are the days that things are not great; not bad enough to drag you into a funk, but you still need to pretend things are better than they are. It’s like hosting family when you are sick- you pull up your socks to get through it and nobody realizes just how bad you are really feeling, but on the inside you know you should probably just be in bed.
Living with depression is complicated.
It’s not just being sad or low. It’s struggling with figuring out how to function again in society while not being a complete burden to those around you. It’s also about not overthinking- too often I find myself wondering a myriad of things that are so far out of my control but keep me in a funk far longer than I need to be.
And then there is the C-word; control. Too few days I feel like I am in control and those are the good days. The days when I feel like I have too little control are the bad ones; The ones where things seem dark, and hopeless. The ones where I try not to let people’s sideways glances at me feel like pity, frustration or consternation. The ones where I try to convince myself that it’s all part of recovery, and not a cost of it.