Depression

Depression.  It’s a funny thing.  Not funny as in haha, but funny as in irony.  It isn’t something that is always felt.  It isn’t always a state of “feeling down” or “feeling blue,” if it is even felt that way at all. Sometimes, it can be a sneaky bastard that sneaks up on you with no warning.  Before you know it, it’s hold on you is so great, so strong, that it can make getting out of bed feel painful and at times, impossible.  Others cant see the depression, and often times look like nothing is wrong.  Many times, we don’t even recognize it  ourselves, that we are depressed.  We only know that we have no drive, no energy, with everything being difficult. Our focus is limited, and our desire to sleep so we can dream as a way to escape is strong.  The yearning to dream becomes what drives us, so we can escape the heaviness and complexity that has become our life.  Life, simply put, has become too difficult.  It isn’t as if we meant it to become that way, or that we can simply control it.  In fact, it is harder to control our feelings when depression has turned into despair.  The weight of life can become too much to bare.  One feels like they are in quicksand, or treading in water, struggling to keep their head above the surface.  When we are that deep in, it can be difficult to get yourself out, especially without the help of a professional.  

So, how do we help someone we love, when they aren’t ourselves, but know they are depressed? We know how they feel.  We know where they are at.  But how do we help them?  In some respect, you empathize and try to nudge and gently push. But not too much, in fear of sending them either further in the rabbit hole, with the dark thoughts finally taking over, and ending with tragedy.  Or in fear of possibly sending them in the opposite direction, in an unintended push back into the sleepless nights, the adrenaline rush, and after the 3rd day of no sleep, the alter ego, Mr. Hyde showing his ugly face. The balance can be so delicate, it’s hard to know what the right answer is. It’s hard to know how to help your loved one, knowing the only way you were pulled out was through the help of a professional.  But how do you get help for someone who is refusing it?  

And then, the other part of you is mad.  Angry even, that they refuse to get help.  You got help, so why can’t they?  Why can’t they see what this is doing to you?  To their children?  Why cant they WANT to get help, even if it is only for their family?   The feeling of helplessness and the frustration that goes along with it.  You want to scream at them, shake them out of it since the encouragement, the gentle nudges, and pushes have gone on to be ineffective.  A momentary wish of bitch slapping them out of it comes to mind, but you quickly realize that too isn’t the answer.  Your marriage counselor would likely frown on that.  

And there is so much you want to say to them, but don’t, for fear of making things worse. You tell them their family needs them, their children need them, only to have it appear as though it isn’t enough.  And the fear sets in that you and your children are become just that.  Not enough.  The answer seems so damn elusive, that you yourself are beyond frustrated, and feeling helpless.  Hopeless even.  The fear is a harsh reality.  A reality you hope never comes to be.  

Damn this depression.  You curse it, call out its name, you try to shove it out of the way, and yet it remains.  Takes further hold even.  You see your loved one slipping away, and nothing seems to snap them back into reality.  And you wonder, where do we go from here?  Can we go up?  Or do we go even further down?  What is the answer?  I wish I knew.

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PTSD is like a pickle

I remember when we first started the process of getting my husband into the VA, my husband’s case worker gave an analogy to describe PTSD.  PTSD is like a pickle.  You can take a cucumber and turn it into a pickle, but you cant take a pickle and turn it back in to a cucumber.  There are several types of pickles; dill, sweet, bread and butter, “wickles,” etc.  It is up to the person to decide what “type of pickle” they want to be.  You then learn to love the taste of the pickle, but it will never be a cucumber again.  That analogy has stayed with me.  I know that my husband is forever changed, and the person who I knew is gone.  He still has parts of him remaining, but he is forever changed. Learning to accept and love the “new pickled” him has it’s challenging moments, but I still love this man with all my heart, who he was, and who he is now, “pickled” and all.

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