I tried to write like four different posts this week, and I just couldn’t do it. I stared at my computer screen endlessly, willing the words to not sound like garbage. The writing was bad, I felt like a fraud, I couldn’t complete my thoughts. It just wasn’t going well. I chalked it up to writer’s block, a lack of original thought, and not getting enough sleep, because I didn’t want to face the fact that’s been staring me in the face for several weeks: I’m really freaking depressed.
My therapist very gently brought up this possibility in my last session when I was complaining about being tired all the time, crying and getting angry even more easily than usual, and irregular sleep patterns. Just, I don’t know, your basic depression symptoms. I brushed her off. Surely I couldn’t be depressed. I’ve been practicing self-care, taking my medication (even when people are jerks about it), exercising, eating relatively well, and getting (almost) enough sleep. How could I possibly be depressed?
Fast forward to Wednesday night (a mere two days later), as I sit on my bathroom floor crying on the phone to my mom in the middle of the night. Touché, therapist. Touché. Once again, my therapist proves how brilliant and insightful she is. (Seriously, if you need a recommendation for a good therapist in Chicago, let me know.)
I feel a little ridiculous for not catching it sooner, but the fact is that I didn’t want it to be depression, because that would mean that I didn’t have as much control over it as I thought I did. Don’t get me wrong, all of those self-care things are vitally important, but sometimes your brain chemistry gets screwed up and there’s only so much you can do without changing your medications or spending some serious time with a therapist.
So I’m writing this instead. I’m writing this because I know that there’s a 100% chance that at least one of you had a shitty week too. Maybe you’re one of the lucky people for whom this week was awesome. Hell, maybe it was the best week of your life. If you’re one of those people, yay you! Feel free to bookmark this post for a rainy day and go back to your shiny, happy life, because this post isn’t for you right now.
This post is for the people whose week sucked. The people who had to scrape the bottom of their emotional energy barrel just to drag themselves out of bed, put on pants, and interact with the world. The people who had to work so hard just to compose their face into something that vaguely resembled “friendly human,” so no one would ask them “who died?” or tell them how terrible they look. This is for the people who had a regular run of the mill bad week and the people who were just feeling a little grumpy for no good reason, but it’s also for the people who spent every waking moment thinking about hurting or killing themselves.
Here’s what I have to say to you: you matter. Every single one of you reading this is important to me and to the rest of the world. This shitty day, week, month, or even year does not define you, and won’t make up your entire future. Even if you’re in the worst pain you can imagine, I swear to you that the good days will come back. You will be okay, even if it doesn’t feel like it. You are strong (I know this because anyone who struggles with stuff like this and keeps going has to be strong), and you can make it through this week. In the words of my beautiful, brilliant best friend Anna, if Monica Lewinski can make it through 1998, you can make it through this crappy week.
The bad stuff isn’t permanent, even when it feels like it couldn’t possibly get any better. You are strong. You are important. The world needs you, and I need you. Keep fighting the good fight. I’ll be here for you.
Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or find me on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter if you want to talk. If things are really bad, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1(800)273-8255. Please. There’s no shame in asking for help when you need it. Your life is too important not to.