By Megan Loden
I’ve dealt with anxiety for longer than I can remember. I was always anxious as a child and it has only gotten worse as I have aged. But depression……that’s new. I have all the sympathy in the world for those who suffer from any form of depression. I have never thought less of anyone who struggles with depression and have even admired the strength it must take to tackle this battle every day. I just never even considered it happening to me. I always thought of myself and being the queen of suck it up and move forward. Like I just wasn’t chemically made up to battle those demons. I have a higher likelihood of developing addiction or heart disease due to genetics, but not depression, or so I thought.
For whatever reason, depression, or any mental health topic, is largely misrepresented. I would never have considered myself to be depressed, mostly because I didn’t feel sad. I didn’t cry. Like, ever. I didn’t lie in bed all day. The dishes were clean and the laundry wasn’t beginning to pile up. In fact, I was so on top of it that the sink was almost always empty and the laundry made it through the whole load in one day. That’s right, friends, I was washing, drying, folding, ironing, AND putting it away all in one day.
How could I be depressed? Well, I was isolating. I was faking my way through each and every day. I was feigning interest with each interaction with the outside world. I stopped going to the gym, which I used to love doing at least 5 days a week. Hell, I even stopped writing. I met pending deadlines but that’s it. No pitches. No submissions. I was completely lost for inspiration and motivation.
I was recently driving on the highway early one morning after my morning drop-off routine with the kids and suddenly found myself thinking maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if I wrecked my car badly enough to die. I literally jumped in the driver’s seat. It startled me. Scared me, really. It wasn’t what I expected it to be. I wasn’t sitting alone in a dark room with a bottle of pills, shadows moving across the carpet. I wasn’t standing in front of the bathroom mirror holding a razor with tears in my eyes, worrying that my note for my husband and children wasn’t enough. It wasn’t what I would call a suicidal thought. It was just this overwhelming indifference. Like maybe I wouldn’t care. Maybe my husband and children would be better off. Maybe.
How did this even happen to me? How does the queen of suck it up and move forward even get to this place? It’s an empty, lonely place to be in. The part that really threw me for a loop is that this whole thing did NOT look like it was supposed to. TV, movies, even pharmaceutical commercials all portray an indescribable sadness. Yes, they list off many other symptoms, but the underlying theme of the portrayal of depression is sadness, desperation even. I didn’t feel that at all. I just felt nothing.
The misconception around depression left a serious subconscious impact on me. It had me convincing myself that I was avoiding people because I was busy. Not because I just wanted to be home ALONE. It had me convincing myself that I was tapped out on writing. A year and a half and the jig was up. I was out of ideas and had nothing left to say. Find a new passion, honey, because this one ain’t for you. I even began to tell myself that my husband was no longer interested in me or our marriage. I know, I know. None of you know either of us. Let me tell you here and now that this couldn’t be further from the truth. He was worried about me. He loves and adores me in a way that probably borders on unhealthy and he has NEVER given me a reason to believe otherwise. Even when I’m being unreasonable or crazy. He loves me. I have NEVER had a reason to question where we stand.
From the outside, everything is perfect. I have 3 wonderful, healthy children, an amazing husband, and the freedom to pursue my dream. How many people can say that? That’s just the thing. Depression doesn’t care. It will creep in and destroy your life if you let it. It starts off so slowly that you don’t even see it happening. I’m so grateful for my husband’s support and the love and understanding of those closest to me who have been by my side recently. I couldn’t have gotten through this time without them.
If you’re suffering from depression, even if it doesn’t look like you think it should, I encourage you to find someone to talk to. As a society, we need to start being more transparent about what depression really looks like. How can we look out for one another if we don’t even know what we should be looking for?
About the Author
Megan is a stay at home mom taking motherhood one day (read: glass of wine) at a time. When she isn’t busy embarrassing her teenaged twins with her mere presence, she can be found obsessing over her 10-year-old son or talking to her dogs and cats while her husband answers on their behalf, voices and all. She can be found on her Instagram, on Facebook, and on Twitter. Her writing can be found on Twiniversity, Scary Mommy, and on BLUNTmoms.