Depression. It's my dark shadow. I've been living with it since my late teens. Even so, it can still trick me.
For the last few weeks I've been under its spell and up until today I didn't realize it. Instead of seeing the depression as the REASON I feel as though everything is hopeless and life sucks, I have been thinking that I'm depressed BECAUSE everything is hopeless and life sucks. It's a big distinction but depression has an incredibly convincing way of telling me terrible things and getting me to believe them all.
Complicating all of this is that my sweet husband died and even after more than two years, I miss him all the time. Grief and sadness and depression are all tangled up at times, and so hard to sort out.
But what I can see now (even still in the depression - though it might be lightening a bit now) is that there have been times (even after he died) when I didn't feel that everything was hopeless and my life sucked. I never once felt as though my life wasn't hard and painful and full of grief, but it wasn't hopeless and it didn't completely suck. It contained incredible lifelong friends, nature, new wonderful people, a home, the financial freedom to not have to struggle to find work again, relatively good health, a picturesque neighborhood, the chance to start over career-wise, travel, writing, art and even the opportunity for new love.
Under the black veil of depression, though, at times, my mind told me that none of it mattered and it was too hard to go on. When the veil lifted I could see that the depression had been talking.
And that is what has happened to me again. I fell for it again. Which is a testament to how powerful a force depression can be.
I have to remember to take care of it like any illness. Get as much sleep as I can, eat as well as possible, surround myself with people who can love on me, take my meds, give myself compassion.
This time, again, I forgot about this momentarily. I tried hard to be happy. I tried not to be a bummer. I tried to be something I couldn't be. I thought the fake-it-till-I-make it strategy might work. I felt ashamed for being so sad. It can't be fun to be around someone this sad, right?
Then again, I am sad. I'm terribly sad. I can't fake a different mindset or push myself to be what I'm not. I'm also worthy of love and compassion from myself and others and I definitely haven't been giving those to myself. I've been hard on myself. I questioned my character and wished I could be different. Someone who can feel happiness, silliness and joy.
I am that person once the depression lifts, but right now, the depression has a hold on me and I can't blame myself for it.
It's the depression to fight, not my self. My self is still there. My funny, nerdy, loving, silly self is there. Once the veil lifts, there it will be. It's not the self from before Dave died. She died that day, too. It's a different self, but one I think is pretty great too.
I just have to remember that when my dark shadow whispers so convincingly that I'm not good enough and that everything sucks.