Mentally, metaphysically, I embrace my philosophical understanding of life. I wrap my arms around the peace and calm that rules my mind and tempers my tolerance. It is a maturity that allows me to complete my current science course and academically discuss Darwinism without feeling as though my spirituality is being threatened. It has allowed me to accept my weaknesses and ask for help. I found this empowering.
It hasn’t been easy accepting my depression. I am a happy person, an optimist that makes Brenda gag with my sunshiny giddiness. It is a trait that I inherited from Mom; she was difficult to read, too. It went so long undiagnosed because I always attributed the woe to other things.
Yes, I feel sad, but I just moved away from home and maybe I’m a little homesick.
Yes, I feel sad, but my mother was just diagnosed with end-stage Cancer.
Yes, I feel sad, but Mom was just told that she has three months left to live.
Yes, I feel sad, but I just picked up my life and moved 1,200 miles.
Yes, I feel sad, but my husband just left.
Yes, I feel sad, but my mother just died.
Yes, I feel sad, but I am in constant pain; I am sick…my health is hazy.
Then, one day not so long ago:
Yes, I feel sad…but why?
I am not one of those ignorant people who disbelieves in mental disorders. My genetic makeup is of two sources seeped in anxiety and depression. I grew up surrounded by people on Prozac and Lithium. But, I worry how to assimilate in a world of people who know not such illness. It took a bit of convincing to get Nick to accept that it was not his fault that I wasn’t happy. It wasn’t anybody’s fault. With the encouragement from a friend at work, I made an appointment to speak with my doctor.
In the last few weeks, I have noticed a difference. My smiles are rooted deeper than my face. My mind is sharper, and I no longer feel worthless. Speaking with the doctor crumbled my bravado. Telling someone the depth of the evil inside of me felt shaming. “I am the one that spreads cheer, not the one who needs it!” I thought to myself. I have since accepted that this process was not a compromise of my strength, but an extension of it.
My mother taught me open-mindedness. She regularly reminded, “Everyone has a story!” This is my story. I may be on medication for the rest of my life, but I do not feel inferior. I do feel light, I do feel really and truly happy. I have kept my diagnosis quiet until recently because I feared how other people would react—but I feel so good. I trust my true friends would not deny me such freedom.
So, this is me. I have depression, but it does not define who I am. I am also flat-footed, knock-kneed, and arthritic—you’re not going to hold that against me, are you?