When Gray Becomes Black

Today was a bad day.   None of my days have been easy lately, but today was especially hard.

This time of year is always difficult for me.  The weather starts to change.  The skies turn gray.  It rains.  It gets cold.  My mood, inevitably, darkens with the cycle of the seasons.  I become gloomy, slow, all-around just sad.

For the past few years, the winters have been easier for me to withstand.  My doctor (and I) finally figured out a medication regimen that kept me level, stable.  I could (and would) get a little down.  The frenetic energy of the summer months would fade and I would feel like I was going in to a state of hibernation.  But I have maintained my ability to function.  I still go out, just not as often.  I still brush my teeth and hair, even if I don’t put on makeup or a cute dress.  I still wash the clothes, even if I don’t put them away.

Apparently, the time has come to discuss a need med regimen with the doc.

I’ve felt the gray slowly creeping up on me over the past month or so.  That’s exactly what it was doing… creeping.  I stopped laughing as easily.  I started to pull away from social obligations.  I started to lose enjoyment in the things I normally love when the sun is high and the skies are blue.  This is my (new) normal, though, so the creeping didn’t necessarily concern me.  It bothers me, but it doesn’t terrify me.  Not anymore.  I don’t have to be scared of myself anymore because I’m stable.  I’m functional.  I’m just… tired.

Or so it goes.  So I thought.

This past week the gray stopped creeping and slammed in to me like a black wall.  I haven’t cleaned my house or showered or pried myself off of my favorite chair except to wear a path in the floor between said chair and the couch.  Pretty much my life has consisted of snuggling in my favorite blanket, smoking too much and binge-watching Law and Order.  I don’t want to leave my house.  I can’t drive anywhere.  I barely made it to work on Saturday night.  Truth be told, had my husband not accompanied me, I likely would’ve found a way to get out of that, too.

Today was the day where the immediate future became crystal clear.  Tears.  Lot of tears.  My favorite blanket.  Binge-smoking.  Constant inability to focus, listen, see.  My daughter asked me out to lunch and I, without even thinking, told her they were going to town this evening.  Simple as that.  No yes.  No no.  No maybe.  I didn’t even consider that with everything she’s going through maybe she needed a little escape of her own.  I failed to grasp the enormity of the fact that my 20 year old daughter wanted to spend time with me… just me.  I sat and stared at my computer instead.  Subsequently, she watched B movies on Netflix… alone.

This is where the guilt kicks in.  Not only do I live in fear when the black comes, I live in a constant state of remorse.  I guilt myself into feeling like a horrible human being.  I feel worthless, needy, gross.  I want to be alone.  I’m afraid of being alone.  I want someone to hear me.  I’m afraid to talk.  So I sit in silence and stare at my computer, or a tree or nothing at all.  I do this until I finally give up and crawl to my bed where I either sleep entirely too long or not at all.  Then I wake up, reluctantly drag myself out of bed and start the process all over again.

My sister says to be gentle with myself and that it’s okay to have a bad day, but I have to wonder… how many bad days are we allowed before it’s not okay anymore?

The life of a person who suffers from depression is a vicious cycle of fair to better to unbearable and back again.  Right now my life is…. bearable.  I was able to get out of bed.  I haven’t made it on to the couch yet.  I hugged my kids and my husband.  I tried to listen when he told me about his day.  I gave my cats treats and forced myself to work for an hour.  I even brushed my teeth.

Yes.  Today was a bad day.  Tomorrow probably will be, too.  But as long as I brush my teeth again tomorrow all is not lost.

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