And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair. ~ Kahlil Gibran

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Depression and the Barefoot Life

See how I tied that in?

I have debated long and hard about whether or not to write this post, and how to go about it. I have decided in a rare bout of recklessness to just spit it out and see what happens.

I was diagnosed with clinical depression and an anxiety disorder 4 years ago. I have been on and off meds since then, though I do much better with meds.

Depression is not something you can explain to someone who has never had it. Clinical depression is more than having the blues or being down. For years I believed that everyone in the world felt as lost and scared as I did every day, and that I was weak for not being better able to handle life. I established rigid routines, I searched religion for an answer, I took up meditation, I did pep talks with myself, I changed my diet, I exercised. I did everything I could think of to somehow get a handle on the constant fear I lived with and the conviction that I was never going to be able to do anything right. I firmly believed that if I just kept my head down and kept trying, something would someday magically change and I would understand how everyone else in the world managed to live and enjoy their lives without feeling like the world was about to fall apart.

Then, one day, my boss pulled me aside and explained that not everyone felt the way I did. It wasn't that there was something I was missing. Most people didn't have to struggle every day just to get out of bed. Phone calls did not put everyone into a panic. Life was not overwhelming for everyone.

I was shocked.

I went to a doctor, and the doc basically said "duh!".

In a lot of ways, that day was the best day of my life. I learned that, while there IS something wrong with me, it's not a lack of strength or effort. It's not my fault.

Since then, I have become much better at handling the things life throws at me. There are still good days and bad days, but I can tell (most of the time) when my reality is not the same as the one most other folks deal with.

Lately I have been going through a long string of bad days. It affects everything and every relationship I have. I know a lot of it is lack of sleep and the stress of having FIL come to visit. I want things to be perfect, and know they can't be. I also stress whenever there is a change.

Times like this I get angry. It isn't FAIR that I have to work so hard not to freak out over every little thing. It isn't FAIR that I get stressed and then I can't help but be short with my family. I isn't FAIR that my family should have to watch me lose it a little more every day.

I know, life isn't FAIR, and no one ever said it was.

A big part of being barefoot for me is learning to just relax, and deal with every day as it comes along. Not letting things get me down. Not letting myself get overwhelmed by the minutia of life.

I have to remember that it is more important to be calm and enjoy the things in my life that are truly wonderful. I have beautiful children. My DH loves me, even though I am nuts. My parents are fabulous. My brother is an amazing guy that I enjoy spending time with. The bills are paid. The apt is warm and dry.

Really, life is good.


Kati said...

(((((HUGS))))) I hope things take a drastic turn for the better. Obviously if it's a chemical thing (which depression often is), it may never cease permanently, but fair or not, EVERYBODY deserves to have good days, even if it is a sprinkling of them among the "bad". You're in my thoughts & prayers, sweety!

Jacki said...

Bravo to you for your bravery. I thought I was reading a page from my own life. It's not fair, is it? Right now, I am going through my blog list because I am putting off making a phone call that is for no particular reason stressing me out. Would you ever consider writing something about how having kids affects your condition and vice versa? This is something that pertains to me, as I do not as of yet have children but would like to eventually. Again, kudos to you!

barefoot gardener said...

Kati and Jacki-

Thanks for the support! What a pleasant surprise.


I think perhaps a post on depression and kids could be in the works. Keep checking back.

As for the phone call, the best thing to do is grab yourself by the b@lls and just do it. It sucks, but afterwards you can reward yourself with a big bowl of chocolate fudge brownie ice cream and a big pat on the back.

Jacki said...

I DID make that phone call, and it turned out just fine! Looking forward to hearing more from you and will be checking back often!