I fell into the well again this weekend.
That’s what depression feels like, like sitting at the bottom of a dark hole surrounded by stone walls. You know there’s sunshine up there, somewhere, but there’s no scaling those stone walls.
At the bottom of the well I counted hash marks in the wall, the ones that told me I had been here before. I end up in the same pit – despite the medication and the therapy and the intentional living – over and over again. And I realized that I would always come back to it.
Your thoughts echo at the bottom of the well, bouncing off the walls and back at you to let you know that you are all alone. Except I wasn’t alone; my old friend Guilt was with me this time.
How would I explain to my husband again that I needed his help? How could I tell him that all the support and love he’d given me last time wasn’t enough to keep me in the light for good?
I need someone to take care of me.
I tell myself that I only need someone because I have other people to care for. If I was alone I could just sit in the well for as long as it took and I would be able to pool all the scraps of strength together to take care of myself. But I don’t know if that’s true.
I don’t ask for help because it’s unfair.
It’s not fair how much I need. I need to not be cloaked in silence. I need to tell someone how broken I am and have them hear me, respond to me, talk me through the darkness. I need someone to hold down the fort when I can’t, to keep the routines going and to do all of the things that I cannot.
And that’s not fair.
No one can be that person for someone else. Especially because I am not deep enough or strong enough to give back near that much in return.
I need someone to protect me from carbs and move my limbs. I need someone to throw me into the shower – or to throw my kids into the shower while I’m drowning in blankets and Netflix.
I need someone to keep talking to me for as long as the darkness lasts so that I don’t give up.
But that’s too much for anyone to do.
That’s what Guilt told me.
The survivor in me refused to lay down and die in that well.
I had to open my mouth and tell Jared where I was and how he could rescue me. I had to talk to friends about what was stressing me out. I had to call in the light.
Today I learned that guilt and depression are old buddies. It helps to know that, to think that maybe some of what I’ve heard in my head isn’t true.
It is true is that I need help. It is true that I have to ask for that help, and that connection is the hardest thing to ask for and the only thing that can save me. It is also true that being married to someone with depression isn’t always easy.
But no one is always easy to be married to, and everyone needs their own version of help sometimes.
People we love are worth rescuing, no matter what, no matter how many times they fall.
Those are the facts I have to learn by heart so that I can recite them when my head isn’t working right. Next time.
And there will be a next time. I hate it, but that’s what normal is for me.
Normal is also leaving myself these little notes, missives on lessons learned, in the hope that I’ll find them some day at the bottom of the well.