I have decided that my depression is just a chronic condition, like my colleague’s lupus, or my father’s epilepsy. These conditions are never going to go away, only managed. And sometimes I’ll manage better than others times.
These are the other times.
Inside my head, I hear the same voices telling me over and over: I am bad. I am just disgusting. The people who care about me don’t really know. If they knew, they would be repulsed. There’s something evil and twisted in me…
So I restart my at-home yoga practice at evening when I get home from work. It feels good to stretch out after a day in the office, but my practice isn’t reaching my heart. That’s okay, I tell myself, every day on the mat is a different day.
But I wake up in the morning wanting to hurt myself. I am so full of the hateful negative energy that I find it hard to get up. The voices say: I am horrible. I am separate from the world. I can’t connect because there is something fundamentally wrong with me.
I know those are just voices, just habitual thoughts and not reality, so I tell them it would be better if they could just tell me what is really wrong. I tell them, whatever you are trying to communicate, you don’t need to be so mean to me.
I can’t get them to answer, and I can’t get them to shut up either.
I’m getting stressed out at work. January was (mostly) manageable. February is already out of control, and it looks like I can’t plan on keep normal work hours until at least the middle of April. I think work stress is something that opens the door for a worsening of my depressive symptoms. I felt so much better during my leave last fall. Perhaps that’s why the depression had been building over recent weeks.
The negativity takes over my head, and my body as well. It physically hurts. I’ve been meditating, but it’s increasingly hard to conjure up that feeling of being unconditionally loved. Nothing is helping. This morning, I can’t stop thinking, burning would provide me with a release.
So today I take my silly dogs for a long walk across the meadow and back through the woods. The weather is mild, and they are their usually fast, bouncing, joyful selves. I get some fresh air and a bit of exercise. It helps a little, but not much.
Depression is an illness, I remind myself. I don’t really expect to get well. I just need to keep on managing. I feel like giving up sometimes, but that’s the illness too. I have to keep trying.