It was a challenge to get out of bed today.
I always smirked at people who spoke like that. “My depression is debilitating,” “I can’t get anything done,” “It rules my life…” I always thought it sounded like excuses to evade responsibility.
Until it happened to me.
I have been diagnosed with clinical depression for a year now, and I am only just now coming to accept that it actually is a thing.
It took me eight months to start using vocabulary such as ‘depression’ and ‘anxiety’ when talking about myself. It took me nine months to start accepting help from those closest to me, in dealing with how I was feeling. And, a year later, I am still struggling to allow myself to feel what I feel, with no guilt, no self-deprecation, and no hatred.
Over sixteen million Americans go through what I go through. And with some experience under my belt, I am able to empathize with those sixteen million. I would tell them, don’t fear your feelings. Don’t feel badly for what you feel. Feel it and then move forward.
I don’t know why the concept is so hard for me to grasp myself.
This morning, I found myself at an all time low. I was encompassed in an overwhelming feeling of dread, panic, and grief that ordinarily, I can push aside for the responsibilities I am committed to. At five o’clock, after laying awake and crying for most of the night, I called out of my eight o’clock shift at work.
In general, this is not a habit of mine. But today, going to work did not even feel like an option.
After I pushed the send button, when I texted my supervisor, I collapsed under the weight of my own insecurity. I had just called to light my fragility, my inability to take care of even simple responsibility. There was clearly something wrong with me. I was weak. I was using how I felt as an excuse. I had become what I despised.
Six hours later, I am mostly awake. I have been thinking about the course of my night. I have come to a conclusion.
Perhaps calling out of work was not a sign of weakness. Perhaps it is a sign that I need to slow down, and reorganize. There is a reason why I am feeling the way that I am. Maybe depression is (in some cases) a wake up call, that something is not right.
Maybe taking off work every now and then won’t kill me. Maybe I have to make sure that I am okay, before I try to do everything else. Maybe it's okay… to not be okay.