A few weeks after Grace was born in 2008, I was diagnosed with postpartum depression. And now, five years later, I’m still dealing with its effects.
I no longer have a baby, but I’m still dealing with the aftermath of an illness that I thought I would have kicked to the curb by now, set out with the trash alongside Gracie’s stained onesies and chewed-up teethers.
But here I am, still battling it.
Soon I have an appointment with a psychiatrist. He’s supposed to be The Best, the guy who can put all the puzzle pieces together and figure out a solution that will help me feel like me again.
I have so much hope for this appointment. I want him to give me the magical weapon that will end this fight, with me as the victor. I want to hear, If you put together x, y, and z, you will feel better. You will feel like you. You will win.
Because I’m just so tired of fighting.
Now before you get worried, I’m not suicidal or anything like that. I like being here. And though depression is still haunting me, I’m still a big fan of life and living and all that good stuff.
It more that I’m in the grips of Depression’s bastard brother: Tired. And it is really doing a number on me.
You see, when you’re treading water because you’re fighting off Depression and Tired joins in, you’re just plain outnumbered. Tired plants its heavy foot upon your head and pushes you down. And you’re just too damn worn out to fight off Tired because you’ve been battling Depression for so long.
Your meds are probably working enough to keep Depression from pulling you way under. But with Tired in the picture, you’re bobbing just under the surface of feeling alive. And you find yourself in this weird place of not drowning in Depression, but feeling pretty crummy–and being Tired enough to not have an ounce of energy to do anything about it.
To-dos pile up. Deadlines pass. Pants get too tight. You get a little stressed and then shrug. Meh. Whatever.
People who don’t understand depression don’t get why people struggling with it can’t just TRY to do something different. Make a change, they say. Just do it, they say, as if a inspirational sneaker slogan can fix everything.
I want to explain about Tired and how it keeps me from doing things I know could help me. But anyone who hasn’t dealt with depression just can’t understand. Because it doesn’t make sense. It sounds like a lazy excuse.
So I don’t try to explain anymore. I nod in agreement with the helpful advice givers. Of course I can get my butt out of bed early three times a week to work out. And not eat my kids’ candy. And go to bed earlier. Because anyone can get fit and feel better if they just want it enough.
And then I go back to apathetically staring at my to-do list and getting nothing done.
That’s why I have so much riding on this doctor appointment. I need him to find the right meds for me. Meds that will banish both Tired and Depression, and give me back the energy I need to care again.
To want to tackle my to-do list. To want to write those blog posts that are in my head. And yes, to want to exercise and lose weight.
I want to once again feel the thrill of accomplishment. The desire to inspire others. The joy of goofing around with my kids.
I want to remember what it’s like to be energized and alive and not constantly beaten down and … Tired.
I want to feel like me again. Because five years is a long time to feel like someone else.