I used to say, "I suffer from Depression, Anxiety, and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)." But I have changed "I suffer from" to "I battle" this disease. Every. Damn. Day. Some days are easier than others. Like with everything-sticking to a diet or an exercise routine. Quitting smoking. Learning something new. It all takes discipline and perseverance. And the one day you need that discipline most is the day it's in short supply.
I've always viewed Depression as being stuck at the bottom of a well. Not sure how many of you are old enough to remember "The Little Rascals." You can probably find it on YouTube but it's from a much less enlightened time and is offensive if you're a person of color or if you're not and are woke.
Anyway, there's this episode where Spike, the typical bully, gets his comeuppance when he falls down a well. Stymie dangles a rope that's about two or three feet long and tells Spike to grab on. When Spike replies he can't reach it, Stymie, quite annoyed, says, "Oh, try jumping a little bit."
That's typical of Depression and support systems. They dangle insufficient rope and tell you to jump for it when it's all you can do to breathe in and out. Also, the longer you stay down in that well, the deeper it becomes. And colder. And darker. Up in the light, your support system throws up its hands in frustration. "Why won't you try?" they implore. Battling Depression is as much about teaching yourself what to do and what not to do as it is having a support system of people who have educated themselves.
Stymie eventually finds a rope long enough to pull Spike up out of the well. I've lived in that well for weeks, sometimes months at a time. That was before I became a Warrior and learned to be vigilant. I've learned to recognize the early warning signs. I know I'm starting to slide when small tasks like brushing my teeth or putting on make up become a difficult undertaking.
I was once fortunate to have been treated by an excellent psychiatrist. The one thing she said to me that has always stuck is: Oh, I can give you meds. That's just the salt in the water. You need to exercise and not on the treadmill but outside in the sun. You need to be social. A book club. Coffee with a friend. A date night with your husband. Etc, etc...She works for the VA now. I was sorry to lose her. But I've never forgotten the things she taught me. I don't let the disease win. I fight hard. I work hard. I am always aware of what's going on in my head and my body.
Depression is powerful and debilitating but guess what: I'm a total badass that can make it cower instead of the other way around.