This last week saw me hovering on the borders of “DEPRESSION”. I found myself listless, wearing pyjamas all day, sobbing my heart out when the Idols winner was announced, not sleeping for four days, no appetite and a constant back ache… yes it was bad. And I wasn’t premenstrual either. Here I was in the throes of such anguish that not even the smiling faces of my children, who enveloped me with love and affection, could move me. The culmination of months of stress and major life changes finally got to me. Over a period of four days, I found myself sinking deeper and deeper into this bottomless abyss.
Depression sounds like a dirty word (weird for me because swearing is my absolute favourite thing). The mere mention of the word “depressed” seems to inspire all sorts of stigma’s (see “mental illness”, “psycho”, “can’t-cope-despite-seeming-to-have-it-all-syndrome”). I used to be one of those women who could handle anything. I dished out advice on how to be strong, how to be a survivor and how to always look for the silver lining and lesson in every situation. I knew the Oprahisms by heart and could give myself a good talking to whenever I had brief moments of despair. I handled my father’s death, I was a single parent, I had miscarriages, I moved provinces with little support, I left the comfort of a small town to enter a very big town that is so fast you have to literally hit the ground running to keep up. I endured it all. Survived it all. So now, how could I end up like this?
This generation of women are taught to be fearless, to be independent, to work hard and play hard. Our options are limitless. We are as smart and savvy as any male counterpart. We can have the kind of life our grandmothers could only dream of. Yet, of all the women I know, at least half of them are miserable, stressed and depressed, and openly admitting to being depressed seems to be equivalent to saying “I am a drug addict”.
Back to Basics
For me, my AHA moment came at 4:00am today. I know there are people who would give anything to live for one more day, anything to have the blessing that comes with having children or the comfort of a warm bed or food on the table, a responsible, trustworthy husband, good health….the list is endless. Perspective is knowing that no matter what happens today, tomorrow will be better. Perspective is knowing that my job does not define me. Perspective is knowing that there are certain things you cannot change and you have to live with them.
So for today, I am grateful that I have some inner peace and that is enough to pick me up when I fall.