- Posted September 23, 2012 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Are you living with depression?
depressed, but not feeling sorry for myself.
I hate to say to anyone that I am depressed, because there is so much misunderstanding and impatience on the part of people who have not had first hand experience of it. Believe me, I am impatient with myself. I am heartily sick of being depressed.
I have learned to understand that I grew up with an alcoholic mother--I honestly didn't realize that until I was past 40!--and a doggedly co-dependent father, and that I learned a great many unhealthy psychological habits in that environment. My big sister was the perfect child, and my younger brother, though he was often in trouble, was never blamed for anything. I was the family scapegoat. I made the mistake of recognizing--indeed, insisting--that something was wrong in the family, and that was unforgivable. My behavior; in fact, my depression itself, was an embarrassment and a betrayal to the family. The more I tried to get the help I needed, the more I was punished.
I have twice married men with whom I could only be unhappy. I have left them both and tried to move on in a positive direction. I have survived cancer, and live with the chronic pain of inflammatory arthritis. I lost my mother to breast cancer when I was 39, and stopped communicating with my father and brother when I was 49. I finally recognized that those relationships were abusive and were major contributors to my struggle! We are always told that family is so important and necessary. For people with depression, family is often the source of the pain and difficulty. We can't go on bowing to the mythology of family; we need to sever unhealthy ties and build our own new, constructive relationships, elsewhere.
But I haven't had the energy or the strength to find new family. I am entirely alone in the world, aside from my 4 nearly-grown children. I have tried hard not to let my depression do injury to their lives, but I am fearful that I might have failed.
It is exceedingly difficult to tell my story, because I fear that people will say I am making excuses. It is a line I heard all the time from my parents: feeling sorry for myself and making excuses. It is wrong. It is a cruel attitude to take towards those of us with this problem.
Suicide? Maybe when all 4 kids are grown up and fending for themselves comfortably. Right now, I haven't the luxury of considering it. Want to tell me it would be selfish or sinful? Shut up and go away! It would be neither. It's MY life. And it is horrible. My children would understand.
What comes next? I don't know. Another new therapist in this new town? Right now I am busy trying to come up with the rent, and terrified that I won't be able to stay housed, and fed, and keep the heat and electricity on. All I want to do is sleep, and everything else is a battle, and no one will think me any kind of special if I fight it out and win, because, for heaven's sake, it's only doing what everyone else does--what we all must do--and how can I be so indulgent as to try to claim a victory if I do it?