It's tough to explain suffocating, debilitating, paralyzing depression to someone who has never experienced it. The past couple of years have been a fog for me. Part of the depression experience for me is memory loss. There is probably a technical term for it. All I know is that when I come out of serious depression, I don't remember a lot. It's like my mind switches to protective mode and wipes away all the darkness. A lot of the good stuff gets wiped out as well. Something else that depression does is magnify all of my little quirks. I am naturally a little anti-social, but in the past couple of years it has become painful for me to meet new people and be in large crowds. If you have met me recently, I'm sorry if I seem stuck up. I'm not. I'm just dealing with a host of other things and not able to process new people.
There is good news, though. For the past couple of weeks, I feel as if I am waking up the morning after a really long hard day, knowing that the long day is over and a new one has begun. I don't know what has caused the awakening but I'm not about to question it. I'm just grateful. Coming out the other side and looking back, I feel remorse. I don't know that I could change anything if I was able to go back, but I feel bad for what my family has gone through because of me. My kids have had a mother who was "checked out" a lot. To my credit, I never turned to alcohol or drugs, although I was tempted at times. I did, however, turn to sleep. It was easier to take a nap than to deal with life. I could sleep for a couple of hours and that was a couple of hours that I didn't have to deal with anything. Also to my credit, I never considered suicide. That doesn't mean that I didn't lie in bed and wish for a meteor to come screaming through the roof and blast me into oblivion, but I knew that I could never intentionally remove myself from the lives of my children. The most active approach I took towards ending my life was that I quit wearing my seat belt. (Yes, I just joked about suicide.) I knew that having a mother who committed suicide would be harder to deal with than a mother who fought depression. I always had the hope that I would eventually win, and I think I have. I know that there will be hiccups and that the chances that I will never again experience depression are slim, but it feels good to have the scales tipped toward happiness instead of sadness for once.
These have been a rough few years. We have had two unexpected pregnancies, one welcome, the other - not so much. The first birth of the two pregnancies was scary, with me hemorrhaging, so you can understand why the second pregnancy was less than welcome. Add to that the fact that unexpected baby number one was only eight months old when I got pregnant with unexpected baby number two and you understand even more. We filed bankruptcy and as a result lost our house and our car. We celebrated our ninth wedding anniversary by attending our bankruptcy court hearing. We moved twice, both times while I was pregnant. Morgan has attended, dropped out and re-attended college. We have dealt with a seven year old who refuses to pee in the toilet. We have both started and quit a few new jobs.
The point of all of this is not to make you feel pity for me, it is to give insight. I have wondered why I spiraled downward and Morgan held it together when he experienced the same things that I did. Maybe there were lessons that both of us needed to learn and this was the way we had to learn them. I wish that I could say that through all of this I became closer to God, that I learned that I could lean on Him for strength. But I can't say that. I quit praying. I quit reading the scriptures. I quit attending church regularly. While my head knew that God would help me, that he would have carried as much of the burden as I would let Him, my heart insisted on turning away. I sometimes wonder how I have survived my immense stupidity.
So now, here I am, waking up and trying to figure out where all the pieces go. My kids are now nine years, seven years, nearly two years and five months old. I feel like the last time I looked, I only had Mike and Noel and they were five and seven. When people say how fast time flies, I feel it even more. I'm trying to get back in the habit of going to church, praying, having friends, keeping a house. All of the balls have dropped and I'm discovering the difficult reality of getting them all back up in the air.
The remorse that I feel is tremendous. There are times that I hold Jack and look into his eyes and am overcome with shame that I was ever uncertain that I wanted him. At times, my husband has had to shoulder the entire burden of raising a family alone. This means laundry, homework, cooking, dishes, all while still earning a living. Michael and Noel have had to find their independence sooner than they otherwise would have.
I feel the need to express apologies and gratitude to those who have been by my side throughout all of this and are still here. The love and patience that have been shown amaze me. I don't know if I'm the kind of person who could and would have stuck by someone who was as despondent as I have been.