This post wasn’t on my editorial plan. It’s not something I necessarily thought I’d ever speak about beyond the safe circle of my immediate family and a few friends. But I have been teetering on the edge of a depressive episode for the last few weeks and writing about it certainly can’t hurt.
Imagine a deserted beach, totally covered in fog. I was pulled into the water when I was 16. It was deep and dark. No one knew I was in there until my mom found me. With my parents’ help, I swam back to safety.
I’ve waded back in those sad waters from time to time. Some swims stand out in my mind: the year after my mom died; the first three months of my daughter’s life; the majority of my pregnancy with my son. Those are the swims when I hit water that was almost rough enough to pull me under. When I had trouble finding my footing and was left gasping for air.
Other swims blend into normal life, not necessarily triggered by anyone or anything. I might lose my balance a time or two but it’s manageable. No matter though; the fog lingers.
Even when you’ve managed to avoid the water, the beach is still foggy.
I made it only knee-deep into the water this time before my husband pulled me out and led me away from the surf. I can still see the water from here though, and I’m still in fog.
The fog is unforgiving and it messes with my mind. The fog tells me that my work is sub-par, even though my boss says otherwise. It tells me my friends are mad at me, even though we’ve had no arguments or falling-outs. It tells me I’m a mediocre parent, even though my kids hug me and tell me I’m the best. The fog makes me hypersensitive but unfeeling. It’s confusing and disorienting, but I’m almost too numb to care.
I’m one of the lucky ones. I have a support system that pulls me out of the water. Many times, I can just walk in the froth where the waves hit the sand, and then I can walk away on my own, trusting that the fog will lift.
If someone you love goes silent, let them know you’re listening. If they withdraw, extend your arms further. Love cannot always fix it, but its warmth makes the fog a little less chilling.
I’m trying to get back to myself and my regular life, which includes regular posts. I trust that it will happen, as it has so many times before. Thank you for sticking with me.