Two separate days, two separate photos that show what my depression looks like.
Depression is defined, according to the American Psychiatric Association as a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act.
Here’s the thing, though, while I’ve met a lot of people with depression, since it’s considered ‘common’, I also have met a lot of people that don’t understand it. Those who dont understand how one day I can be laying on the couch, unable to move, sadness taking over so much that I dont even want to open my eyes. And the next day, bury that sadness by sitting outside with my laptop and escape into writing.
For me, my darkest depressive days will come out of nowhere.
One day I wake up, happy, and like I take on the world.
The next day, it could be something little or nothing at all and I feel my chest caving in and the world around me seems so huge that I have to shrink myself down to hide from impending doom.
My dear husband will try and cheer me up. He’ll tell me this will pass. And I feel like a failure. A failure I just can’t be happy.
I have two young children who are now home for the summer, who want their smiling and happy mom.
Some days I can do that. Some days I can genuinely be happy and elated.
Some days I have to fake it.
And some days I can’t do either and I bury myself in the covers on the couch, and we put on movies and cuddle.
Life, working from home on a basically comission based job has given me more ups and downs than I ever had in my corporate career.
The truth about being an author is that while some will have that steady income, I’m not one of those.
There are days and months where I can write thousands of words in a day, have great sales, and feel like Im on top of the world.
Then just as quickly as that boom of happiness come, it can shatter again in an instant.
Sales of the next book will falter. Life will get in the way and I’ll be too crippled to write. Or busy with kids activities, getting home too late to even care if I put my hands on the keyboard and just want to lay in bed with my husband and watch Ancient Aliens.
He doesn’t understand my depression. My girls dont fully either. But they understand when Mommy is sad. Or frustrated.
In the early stages of mine and my husband’s relationship he’d try and ‘fix it’. Now, he’ll offer to bring home dinner and a movie and we’ll all huddle together.
Work might not be done and my Amazon paycheck for the month may not even pay the water bill. But he doesn’t judge me for that. He doesn’t tell me to give up my dream and go back to working in corporate America.
He tells me just being here with our kids and to pour my words out onto the computer is enough. That I am enough. That I am worthy.
Even in my darkest days, I know that I can escape. Whether it be with my family on the couch with a movie, or into my own fictional worlds.
These arent always on the same day and every day can be different when the depression monster takes over. But it’s something I have to live with. It’s something I’ve struggled with all of my life.
When I was younger I didn’t know how to control it, but now, I know there’s nothing I can do to fight it. I just ride it out and know that the days of laying on the couch will pass. That I have my words to escape to, my family to rely on, and my understand friends, readers, critique partners, and people in my life who don’t judge my mental illness.
Sometimes it takes a village behind you, even when you dont want to see it. Even when that village lives in the computer or are two litle girls in Black Panther masks on the couch next to you.
This is depression, folks. This is me.