I've battled depression most of my life. I don't mean the blues or teenage angst - I mean in need of medication sometimes debilitating depression. I've been pill-free for the last two years and I've done pretty well. I keep too tight a reign on my emotions but it keeps me level so while it has some negative repercussions on my life it does more good then harm.
I've really struggled lately to keep it all in check. It's an exhausting battle to stay above it. It feels like treading mud instead of water. I often want to just stop treading and give in but once you let it seep in a little it takes over. It spreads like a cancer until all your thoughts and feelings are dark and all light in you is completely turned out.
When you are teetering in that in between place - between being well and being sick - it is much harder to stay well. Staying well requires a lot of thought, self-awareness and energy where being sick only requires giving in. When you hover just above it, depression looks like a soft, comfortable, warm blanket. You just want to crawl under it and stop fighting; give in to it and let it take over...but you know you can't. You know you will may never get up again if you lay down.
My Grandfather died of no particular medical reason. He was depressed for the last ten years of his life. He fought depression off and on his entire life. My greatest fear is that I'll end up just like him. Susan says I'm too self-aware to allow myself to get to that dark a place. My Mom says that my Grandfather couldn't get past his depression because he was unable to forgive and I am not like him in that regard. That's all comforting but I'm not sure I can afford to be convinced. I'm not sure I can get too comfortable in their faith in me. I don't want to live on emotional lock-down but for me emotions are so scary - they feel like they could lead to the end of me - that I could give in one day and ten years later I'm still there, under the blanket that instead of being a comfort has become a prison. My Grandfather was a prisoner in his own mind. When well he was kind, strong, hard-working, active, funny and loved all of us with a passion. When he was sick he was paranoid, sad, dark, sometimes mean, selfish and petty.
I love soft, warm, fuzzy blankets but I've got to stay away from this one. I've also got to find a balance between emotional lock-down and emotional takeover.
Well that was a good session of over-sharing. Time for some sleep.