I don’t know what lies more: depression or happiness? The only times I can feel validated to the outside world are when I am zombie-depressed. I sleep, I mope, I cry, and I think about suicide for comfort. But what about the other end of the spectrum? When I actually experience “good” days?
The other day, after a solid night’s sleep (aided by two Advil and a Benadryl), I woke up refreshed (as refreshed as I could possibly be) for the first time in years. I climbed down the ladder of doom which I will inevitably fall off of one day, had my breakfast, my meds and vitamins, and sat down to check out the progress from the previous night’s homework escapades. Then it hit me. This strange feeling like something was inside my head trying to escape. My eyes were holding steadfast against my lacrimal glands, which felt like they were nearly bursting at the seams. I sat there, on my ottoman, ready to tackle the day, but also ready to spontaneously start uncontrollably crying. What is that about? I am only 32. I am not hormonal. I am not pregnant. I am not menopausal. There are no other explanations that made sense.
It wasn’t until today that I realized my depression/happiness-polarized life is in constant battle. There is a majorly-depressed monster with dysthymia who is fighting with a happy, innocent 7-year old girl. When I was seven years old, I laughed uncontrollably. I had fits of laughter so intense my belly ached. Now, when I reflect upon the enormity of my depression, how strongly it has taken over my life, and how it has become such a huge part of who I am, I wonder who the “real me” is. Am I fooling those around me? Is the Bloggess right? Is it true that “depression lies”? How is it that I feel more like a fraud when I am having those rare moments of happiness?
Case in point: David and I took the dogs to Buttonwood Park the other day. The weather was gorgeous that day. The sun was shining, the grass was freshly mowed, kids were playing on the playground, and I had just bought a delicious coffee/chai creation for my caffeine/sugar addiction. We crossed the park to the arboretum and found a nice tree where David could sit on the ground with his guitar, with Max by his side, and I could lounge in the sun, trying to tan my unsightly appendages. Then there was a brief moment where Pebbles playfully approached me. So I did what any normal person would do, I wrestled with my tough 14-pound fawn-of-a-dog. She growled, her tail wagging fervently. I grabbed around her belly and she and I rammed our heads into one another. It was pretty awesome.
It lasted about 30 seconds.
I realized it was time to head to my class so I got off the ground and righted myself. I put my sandals on and looked around, taking in the scenery, the fresh air, and the awesome ball of burning gas that I can’t thank enough for bringing some color to these ghostly limbs. But as I stood there, holding Pebbles’s leash, a huge wave of uncertainty and paranoia overtook my thoughts. I was still there, in the moment, on the outside; but in the inside I was thinking, “I should be acting depressed. I’m lying to everyone. What if my therapist sees me? What if any of my doctors see me? They won’t believe me. Am I happy? I’m not happy. I can’t go through this. I have to go through this. I should text my therapist. Are my meds working? Maybe I’m a fake. Maybe it’s me that I’m fooling.” Later that day, just like every other day, it’s always the same, “Well, there’s always suicide.”
I’m always trying to reach some validation through others and I find that at times I am actually trying to overwrite my current near-blissful state of being. I am doing the exact opposite of what I should be practicing. I am allowing the depression to convince me that I am depressed even when I am feeling okay. Why is it such a difficult endeavor to allow myself to be happy and not feel guilty during that one solid moment in time so I can actually enjoy life?