Things have been bleak. It was a slow fall--one that I thought I correct on my own. Somehow, that slide steepened and I hit pretty close to the bottom without expecting my situation would dissolve to the point of talking myself out of bed in the morning and avoiding all non-essential contact with humans. Suddenly I was good at nothing, enjoyed little, and wanted to quit. Quit writing. Quit working. Quit seeing friends.
Depression lies. It's cruel and convincing. All of the successes, positive traits, and wins go into hiding. A big blanket descends, smothering me with negativity. My confidence melts away and I no longer know why I do the things I love. Everything loses its purpose. The fatigue that came with it this time was stunning. The world was in slow motion.
Depression and anxiety run in my family. I've been close to it my entire life. I've watched family members be hospitalized, improve with medication, and then resist medication only to bottom out again. Finding the right balance takes time. The odd thing is that it's so easy to see what's happening when you're standing next to it. When it's happening to you, it's a different story.
My mood is closely tied to my health. If anything goes out of balance, the downward spiral begins. It's insidious in its gradual pace, and it's easy to lose control.
One of my complaints at the clinic was my inability to improve at running. My doctor noticed a heart murmur after minor exertion and suddenly I was on quest to determine whether a heart problem was at the root of my fatigue. These things take time, and I spent the next couple weeks eating junk food and binge watching The White Queen. It was an odd choice, but it worked in my favor. Watching historical fiction based in a time that didn't have any medical advancements made me realize how lucky I am to be alive now and here, even more so when witnessing the paranoia driven murders of those surrounding the Tudors and Yorks.
We received great news at the heart clinic after a stress echocardiogram. My heart looked perfect. The blood work, on the other hand, highlighted one issue. The murmur was brought on by hypothyroidism. It also explained my decline in mood and extreme fatigue. Just three days into a medication adjustment, life looks brighter. Literally. I'm noticing more. The story ideas are finally happening, and I can walk a mile without gasping for air. I've found joy. I want to do more and it's easier to bounce back. Which is a really good thing because we're traveling, and it has been interesting. But that's another blog post.
It's hard to confess when things aren't going well, but I think it's important to be honest. Depression lies. It minimizes friendships and hides reality. It distorts the truth and makes things dark and hopeless. I feel so lucky to have friends who weren't afraid to let me know they were concerned. I'm thankful I've learned to be suspicious of my darker thoughts and talk to a doctor. I wish I would act on that suspicion sooner, but I'm learning.
Things get better. It's okay to need help. We all do. Most importantly, don't listen to the lies depression tells you. When things find balance again, the world is a wonderful place. There is too much to enjoy to wait to fix things. Life will get easier.
If you or a friend needs help, call 1 (800) 273-8255 or visit http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ to chat.