Depression and the fear of slipping

In terms of mood and my general well being, 2013 has been a good year. Probably the best for me in a very long time. Longer than I’d care to admit. Upon reflection, It’s safe to say I’d been depressed since I moved out of my parents house in 2007. That’s five years of my life spent in a fog. Five years waking up every day only to find the act of getting out of bed next to impossible. Insurmountable, as though I carried lead weights on each shoulder and the ticking of the clock only made the burden heavier. It seems so silly now. Trying to summon the strength to put clothes on, to make myself food, to take a shower, felt so difficult at the time. I couldn’t wrap my brain around how to do these things. It all seemed like so much work. Too much. And yes, I did them. But each task took much longer than it should have so I was left at the end of the day feeling even worse about myself because I hadn’t accomplished anything. Process repeat. But when the very basics take all of your energy, consume all of your strength, it’s all you can do to get out of bed, put on clean clothes and run a brush through your hair.

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Then after the hormonal up and down wrench works of the baby blues, I’m feeling better. Much better, in fact. I wake up each morning, get dressed, and eat breakfast. Partially because I have to. September wakes so I wake. She needs to eat, so I need to make her breakfast and I might as well eat when she does. We go for walks and go outside every day. My depression used to always get worse during the winter because of a lack of sun exposure (and sleeping all day meant I had very little time to get myself together to get outside into the sun) and a lack of sun exposure can cause seasonal affective disorder (SAD), of which I definitely suffered. This year though, I’m much better. We get out daily, I have full days. I don’t feel like I’m wasting time anymore. All good things.

But I’m afraid. You see, I’ve been working at a breakneck pace the past year. Working hard. Working every chance I get to build my business up to where it should have been a long time ago. Most of all, I’m working so hard so I can help us to move into a bigger place and so we can provide a better life for September. That’s my motivation.

In freelance business (well all business, really), the holidays signals a universal slow down. I’d been working furiously the week before Christmas then it all just sort of stopped. It’s fine. I have enough money (for once) and things are going well. My clients are set to pick up the pace again come January. I’m not worried about it.

But I don’t know what to do with myself. I can’t relax. I’m always on the move, looking for things to do, to finish, to accomplish. Because if I sit still, even for a moment, I’m  afraid I’ll get too comfortable. I’m afraid I haven’t really escaped my depression and that it will reach its warm fingers out from the couch cushions and envelop my waist and whisper in my ear please, won’t you stay a little longer until I’m locked in place. Until it has me back and this time, I might not wake from the numb slumber again.

I’m afraid that I’ve been running from the monster and if I sit still (especially when I’m alone) it will get me. It’s waiting for me in the dark. Part of of me (the sane, rational part) knows this is nonsense. I’m okay. A little nervous, perhaps, because my life is so good right now and it hasn’t been in so long that I don’t know who to handle it. A normal reaction. But the other part, the part that feeds my tendency toward darkness, is looking over her shoulder and wondering when the bubble will burst.

Because happiness and me don’t go together. At least, they haven’t in a long, long time. And part of me feels so guilty for being depressed at all. What a downer I was. How useless. Part of me knows I still have a long way to go to not hating myself for so many things.

Before, thoughts like these would render me powerless. I’d curl in a ball and not move. I’d fail to face the day at all. But now, I am defiant. My depression can’t have me back because I have me back. And it’s been a long time coming.

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