I wasn’t convinced I was crazy, though I feared I was. Some people say that having any conscious opinion on the matter is a sign of sanity, but I’m not sure that’s true. I still think about it. I’ll always have to think about it. ~Girl Interrupted
I had a clinical depression several years ago. It was so bad I almost couldn’t get out of bed. I tried to hide it for a long time. I didn’t tell anyone. My work suffered. My relationships were strained. I was terrified if I ever told anyone I would be unemployable forever. Who wants to hire the crazy lady? The actually crazy lady, not just the one who jokes about it.
Several weeks ago, my friend Noelle wrote about her struggle with depression. At the time, I thought she was so brave to share it. It’s been gnawing at me ever since. Why is it brave to tell the truth? It’s not “brave” to say you have high blood pressure or asthma. But if you have a clinical depression, old school fear and misunderstandings of anything remotely mental is scary and potentially a show stopper professionally. Depression and anxiety are things you’re not supposed to say.
Lunatics are similar to designated hitters. Often an entire family is crazy, but since an entire family can’t go into the hospital, one person is designated as crazy and goes inside. Then, depending on how the rest of the family is feeling that person is kept inside or snatched out, to prove something about the family’s mental health. ~Girl Interrupted
I don’t come from a family that’s accepting of any kind of any weakness from me. Or at least that’s how I’ve always felt. I’m supposed to be the one who has it all together. If I’m sad or the darkness is closing in, I’m supposed to just push it back. But I couldn’t. There came a point I couldn’t fake it anymore. So I went to see a psychiatrist. I took the pills. I did the talk therapy. I didn’t tell anyone but my husband and a couple of close friends. I made up reasons I had to leave work for my appointments.
It’s become clear to me the only way for this to stop being taboo is to say it out loud. All of us who face this must speak up. I’m healthy now. Have been for a while. If I’m deadly honest, I admit I could have another depression. It’s not a simple disease. That’s why I keep taking my pills. My husband knows what signs to look for. My closest friend know my tells. If I start to slip, they are there to catch me.
I understand what people are afraid of. I was afraid, too. But if saying the thing you’re not supposed to say sends one person to a doctor who needs to be there, then I’m happy. Silence is the enemy. Being quiet is the weapon of the darkness. Light and space are all there is between me and the monsters. I will not get close enough to smell their breath again.