It’s never easy when you have to force a smile on your face and hide from your friends and family what’s really going through your mind and heart because you don’t want to worry them. But the truth is that dealing with depression is never easy and there is no quick fix for it – and they SHOULD worry, so they can help you find a way out of the darkness…if they can. If you LET THEM.
I’ve had quite a few months dealing with moving, second guessing my ability to become a successful filmmaker and also dealing with being a caregiver. I’ve been feeling invisible, worthless, like a failure. I can’t shake the feeling as if I’ve ceased to exist if it weren’t for cooking, cleaning up the house or someone else’s finances. No one calls in to see if I’m okay. I don’t go to a psychologist because I can’t afford one. I don’t go to a counselor because I can’t afford one. I don’t have medical insurance so I can’t medically care for myself – so what do I do? I try my hardest to swallow the tears that seep out when I watch an emotional film – that’s the only way I let myself feel anything. I go for walks with my dogs and dive into listening music.
I try to call people to talk to them, to get out of my own head but they’re busy with their lives. How can I tug on their sleeve and say “pay attention to me right now” when they have tons of problems of their own? The past couple of weeks I’ve contemplated just leaving…disappearing into the ocean. But how can I do that? I still haven’t achieved what I’ve wanted to achieve.
Some of my friends and family don’t believe that I can make it as a filmmaker. They urge me to apply for another job so I can get a steady paycheck. They wonder, out loud, why did I take on the responsibility of caring for my remaining living parent – saying things like “you’re being wasted” where I live and “come back to the U.S. so you can be yourself again” – but what does that mean? To be myself again? I used to drink, party almost every weekend be a slave to the 9 to 5 and think that I wasn’t ever going to amount to anything other than the retirement pension I was working towards. My life dissipating through my fingers with every code I’d type into the computer working for someone else. Who was I? A woman who struggled with body image, to keep a romantic relationship for more than a month…but I was there for them. Always available to them, for them.
Who is it that they want me to be? Do they want me to be that person who pretended she was always happy and available to solve their problems whenever they called – which was often. Do they want me to be the person who quietly navigated through life trying to figure out how to become a published writer and eventual filmmaker? Who do they want me to be? The one who listens to their gossip and eats nachos on game night? Or do they want me to be the one who prefers to not watch the game and go to the movies instead? Who do they want me to be? Who do I want to be?
I’ve wondered heavily for the past few years…I recently told a close friend of mine that I’ve been mentally struggling with things – he said “Why!? You have a job that is paying you good money, what is there to be sad about?” there is a huge different between being sad and being depressed. Depression doesn’t go away – you always feel the darkness even when you’re in your good days. Depression plays tricks on you, makes you feel as if everything would be better if you weren’t around. Makes you feel as if you’re the problem with everything, even when you know you’re not. It takes so much effort to realize that you’re doing good, that you’re being good, that you are good when you’re depressed. That is, if you even make it through the darkness.
It takes so much effort to realize that you’re much more than a person who cooks for others – even if they don’t really speak to you other than to ask for food or to make banal comments about what’s going on in social media. It takes that much more effort to know that you do exist when all you’re trying to do is to work or watch a television show when someone else is blaring videos as if you weren’t there…
It takes so much effort to realize that you’re more than a dog walker, feeder, pooper scooper, dog groomer – but it’s easy when you look into their eyes and they lick your chin and wag their tail and jump and bark announcing that you’re home or that they’re grateful.
It takes so much effort to know that you’re valued when people expect for you to do everything without complaining – because that’s what you’ve been doing for the past few years.
It takes so much effort to not paddle far away into the waves on your boogie board….
Depression sucks, but what sucks more is not seeing the light you know is there…what sucks more is not fighting. So, I fight.
I fight really hard.