When the darkness inside wakes you up in the morning, you don’t want to open your eyes. You want to stay there, stay numb. The pain that brought the darkness was so deep you don’t want to feel again but the world keeps on spinning and babies smile and learn to walk; they are proof that there is joy, though you don’t feel it. You just breath in and out. You cry in secret knowing, you will never feel again. But then after a while, maybe a long while, you do. You start to spin again with the world, you rejoin the dance, you start to connect but this blur revisits like an old friend you wish would just disappear forever. It’s a part of you now and there are seasons that remind you how you don’t want to go on. Like the leaves are sure to turn to sunset colors, you know the sadness will return, it’s now known, expected. You start to see the value in it, there’s a beauty in seeing the pain and knowing it and understanding because you don’t walk alone in this shadow.
We are silent soldiers, carrying the weight of the world, feeling so much, with great and sometimes debilitating capacity for empathy, with deep passion for making the world a better place. We set ourselves on a goal towards beauty, towards community, to know others like us and assure them, “you are not alone”.
This is a short and poetic brief of the last 6 years of my life. If you suffer or have ever suffered from depression, you are not just nodding your head, you might have a burning in your chest because you know exactly what I’m talking about.
So let me say it again. You ARE NOT ALONE and even more than that, you are not condemned. You aren’t cursed. I’ve been in this blur for the last 8 months. It’s been a longer one this time around but each time I “go under” I learn something new about myself and others like me. It’s a slow process. Half the time I tell myself I’ve just been PMSing for six months straight and then I remember, I struggle with depression. For me, it makes me tired, it makes my brain foggy, it makes me feel like I’m in one of those dreams where you’re running with everything you have but moving just inches at a time. I want to be entombed in my sheets each morning with a thousand pound anvil cherry on top.
I first knew I had a problem about one year after my twins were born, almost two years after my dad died. I had let it go too far and one day I realized that I had a plan to “exit” my situation. I thought, “I will just wait till Reed falls asleep and then quietly take every last narcotic we have under our bathroom sink and he will just wake up to me gone and I will sleep.” Something shook me and I realized that was NOT me. I, Kelsey, would NEVER do that to my family. Something else had taken hold of my head it was not good. So I fought hard against the fog and found a doctor that would prescribe me a life preserver. I was extremely lucky in that the first medication I tried worked for me. It’s become part of my story and when you know your story, you find your tribe. I’m not saying that my tribe is everyone with depression but it is those who are brave and broken and ok with both. The do it scared folks are my kin. Chances are, if you’re reading this, that’s you. You wanna be everything your supposed to be but you know you’re not up for the challenge but you’re walking forward anyways saying, “I will cross that scary bridge when I come to it.” Then when the scary bridge is in front of you, you realize it wasn’t that scary in the first place because you are growing stronger with every step you take.
Some people will battle depression their entire lives. I pray I’m not one of them, I hope it someday leaves me completely and I’m doing the work to see that end but if it doesn’t I won’t have failed. I will have wrapped my literal and figurative arms around every person I find who has suffered, who has known loss or anxiety or depression and told them with experience, with deep meaning, “You’re not alone, your pain is not meaningless and you are making something beautiful.”