It’s hard to find a light switch when the light is already out.
When you’re alone in the dark and the dark is suffocating and swampy it sometimes overcomes that black hole at the center of us all that pulls our world towards us and gives us infinite mass.
Today we lost another wonderful, creative, brilliant human being to the swampy black. Depression is something about 10 percent of American adults deal with, including myself and a good number of my friends. It is completely concealable if the person chooses to hide it, but impossible to ignore.
When the sun is shining and it’s the weekend and there are mountains to climb and horses to ride and life to do, sometimes the weight of it keeps me in bed. It’s like sitting at the bottom of an inescapable, pitch-black well that is invisible and located on top of your twin bed that the afternoon sun is shining on so invitingly.
In these moments I am naked and my goosebumped skin is burning dully.
Sometimes I can rally and roll out of bed, sometimes I just can’t. And those days I hate myself for my inability.
These episodes have only been a regular part of my life for less than a year. My first bad moment of irrepressible weight was terrifying — a whole new dark to be fear. I watched Netflix, stared at the walls and wondered who I had become, where I’d gone wrong.
Knowing that I’ve done nothing wrong to bring this upon me is helpful sometimes. Knowing that a large percentage of the women on both sides of my family have depression sometimes eases the guilt. But these women don’t talk about their battles and victories with the mood disorder and it makes me feel alone among my blood.
Now I look at the news about Robin Williams apparent suicide and hope I never have to wander the spiraling halls that led to his death, though I know those halls are not always far away and have known people who have walked them.
So I’ve decided to cast my net wide. Before this post, three people knew about my depression. I’m a naturally private person, but I also was afraid to be typecast by the stigma surrounding the disorder. I’m bucking the trend of my relatives and letting it be known. I’m bucking my own inner fears of being seen as weak or less than.
Like many other uncomfortable topics hushed by societal norms, I think the best way to combat the stigma surrounding depression is to come out honestly and talk about our own experiences when we are ready. Only then can we foster discussion, minimize misunderstand and build a support network.
Then maybe when we feel chained to our beds and couches somebody will be there to watch the walls with us. Maybe they will sit with us until we find the light switch.