I was recently diagnosed with depression and acute stress disorder. Three years ago, my mother died of a heart attack and a stroke. Yes, a heart attack and a stroke. Naturally, it depressed the living shit out of me. The house was a prison without her. I hated coming home from work most days. I was lost, angry and fatigued all at once. But what really scares me is the idea that I’ve been depressed and have possibly suffered from acute stress disorder for much longer than the three years since my mother’s demise. I can honestly say I wasn’t a particularly happy kid growing up.
I don’t know how to describe depression exactly, but I’m going to try. It’s like . . . it’s like being sad, intensely sad and feeling guilty about it at the same time. It is a demon of lethargy and sloth; of sorrow and abject self-loathing. It works in a circular fashion; I feel sad, and then I feel guilty for feeling sad, and feel even sadder. Some days are better than others, but in many cases, it’s hard to get out of bed. I find no interest in doing things I passionately enjoyed. I’m surprised I still like writing. I suppose I’m too terrified to give it up. If I gave up this passion, I’d have nothing left. Too scary of a prospect to even think about.
I’m not sitting on my ass moping about my predicament, mind you. I am in therapy and it’s helping. It’s good to speak with someone who listens deeply without judgment. I recommend everyone get a therapist or seek some type of counseling. We could all use a shoulder on which to lean and an ear to listen.
I gather my biggest problem is my issue with self esteem. That is to say I have none. . . well not entirely true. I have some measure of self-esteem, but it wanes like the ebbing tides. Some days, I think I’m the shit and other days I think I am shit. I pride myself on my intelligence, but I’ve already rewritten this damn entry so many times I’ve lost count, all on account that I short change my own intelligence. I just don’t think I’m that smart. I have three college degrees for fuck’s sake and I don’t think I’m that smart. And here comes the guilt. Who am I to think I lack intelligence when there are people who can’t even read, or who never attended college? It kinda works like that. A voice in my head (not an actual one), a residual antagonist critiquing every little flaw and blemish. A constant resounding chorus of sirens driven to a crescendo play on loop in my head, you are broken, you are nothing.
I want to win this war. I will win this war. But some battles are hard fought and I’m often exhausted from the experience. The reality is not everything will be OK in the end. But the strongest are those who adapt. I plan to adapt.
Like Kendrick Lamar said, I love myself. One day at a time.