My husband has never been depressed. He tries to understand what I’m going through, but the truth is, he doesn’t. He can’t possibly understand something that he’s never experienced. To him, I just need to try a little harder. I just need to make the effort to do my hair, because those small victories count for something. I just need to exercise and eat right, because those two things are so important. And one day, when I figure out what the underlying issue is, I’ll be able to come off the medication because I’ll have my strength back.
Now don’t get me wrong, my husband is such a good support for me. But he doesn’t understand the complexity of depression, the dark abyss that it is, or the way that it sucks your motivation up until there’s nothing left but a desire to do nothing. Yes, I’ve had some major improvements since starting the Abilify, but I’m still recovering from this episode of major depression.
There’s a blog post on The Mighty that talks about what it’s like to have depression. The writer tells the reader to fill a bathtub with warm water, and stay in the tub as the water drains. Even after it drains, the writer asks you not to leave. Not to try and warm yourself. I’m contemplating asking my hubby to read it… because how do you explain to a loved one what you’re experiencing?
The truth is that if I had a broken arm or cancer, or any other PHYSICAL illness, I wouldn’t be told to just eat better or do my hair. There wouldn’t be the expectation that I can just shake it off. But with mental illness? It’s invisible, and many of us who face these illnesses are really good at FAKING it. Faking being happy, faking being a functioning member of society, faking, faking, faking. It’s survival. It’s necessary. It’s exhausting. And we do it day after day after day.