When I arrived for my second appointment yesterday with A., the first thing she said to me was, “I want you to know that you do indeed have PTSD.” She told me that while we already knew this, the diagnostic questionnaire I filled out the previous week also confirmed this. She went on to tell me that I also have depression. I told her that because my anxiety is so high, I don’t even focus on my depression. She told me that this makes sense with PTSD.
I have not faced either of these, I have just been suffering for years in isolation within myself. Ashamed of the paralyzing struggles I have been dealing with. Trying to hide them all and minimize them even to myself. I didn’t want anyone to know the depths of which I have lost myself and how alone I feel inside. How much I have lost my ability to function and do the basic things I used to be “on top of” before the bottom fell out of my world. I have been so hard on myself, every day frustrated with myself because I cannot accomplish some of the smallest basic things. But I didn’t know this was a part of depression. I didn’t want to know either.
Making simple phone calls puts me into tears. My husband just gracefully has been taking care of even these small tasks. I could not even say the words, “I have PTSD” or “I have depression.” I just WAS them and I have become lost in them and filled with shame because of the havoc they have wreaked inside of my very being. I have lost myself in ways I didn’t know it was possible to lose oneself.
Over the past year, since starting my blog, I have made some progress. I have been able to do things with my husband that I could never do alone. And they have been wonderful experiences. But I am still struggling to get my life back, to get a sense of myself that allows me to function the way I once did. Maybe this is something that only someone who has or does struggle with depression will be able to understand.
Today I read a blog post by Annie, Dealing With Depression, on her blog Gentle Kindness, Healing Truth Artistry. I couldn’t stop crying as I read this article. She described everything that I have been struggling with. I have been struggling without a name or explanation for any of this. I have been hiding it all from the world and myself. My shame has shame and this is not something easy for me to face or admit.
My husband was with me when I read this blog post and when he saw my emotional state, I told him what I was reading. He said to me, “I have known you were depressed for a very long time now. I just haven’t known what to do about it.” It seems maybe I was only hiding it from myself. I think somehow he knew I couldn’t bear for him to even speak these words to me. I couldn’t face for any of this to become real and out in the open. Everything in me has been projecting to him, “No! please don’t speak those words. I could not bear to hear them or face them.”
If this is what you call depression, it is one of the most excruciating struggles I have had to face. I am a high functioning person in the sense that I can hide all of this very well when I talk to other people. My biggest fear has been for anyone to know this struggle I am dealing with. I can hide it so well that if I were to spend time with you, you would have no clue of the struggles I have inside. But this has only caused me to be more alone and isolated in this struggle.
Today I grieve for the level of shame I feel inside of myself. I grieve for the heavy weight and burden I have been carrying that has been crippling me inside. I grieve for the fact that I have been in so much pain for so long that I don’t want anyone to see. Because once you lose yourself, you have no hope of saving yourself no matter what positive thing anyone else says or sees in you.
With depression we try to be okay even when we are not. We become what others need us to be. Anything to keep others from seeing the depth of this struggle. I don’t know if this is something common among those who struggle with depression or if it is unique to those who have also been silenced and shut down their whole life by others or from having to deal with psychopaths in our lives.
I have lost so much in my life. I never knew that the most excruciating thing I would ever lose is myself!