Living the Dysthymic Life

Depression can suck the life out of you. It can make everything bright in to muted colors. It can be loud and intrusive. Depression can turn you upside down and leave you dangling from the edge. Just when you think you’re free from it’s painful grip it pulls you back in.

I’ve spent a good portion of my life depressed. I’ve cycled in and out of deep depression more times than I can count or remember. They call that dysthymic, where you never really stop being depressed but you’re not at the rock bottom of a full depressive episode. It’s like the limbo of mental health.

My day to day life consists of me being alone hiding in the basement. The more depressed I become the less likely I am to take care of myself. I’m over 400 pounds and there are times I go hungry because I don’t have the energy to make a meal. I’ve learned to have food that doesn’t take a lot of effort but on a limited budget that’s not always easy. I go weeks sometimes without bathing and even longer doing laundry.

Why am I putting this out there? For starters it’s a part of my healing. I would like my life to mean something. I don’t want to just be this depressed person. By sharing my struggles and suffering I hope that I can help others. I know how it feels to be surrounded by people and yet still feel so alone. I’ve lived the shame that comes with not taking care of yourself.

I don’t do these things on purpose. I mean who would??? I’m literally torturing myself. I’m not lazy though some might think I am… This is what depression does. It turns you inside out. You bleed yet there is no blood, wound or scars. You scream but no words escape. You want the pain to end so badly that your mind starts to wander into the abyss.

I’ve done all of this most my life. I don’t know any other way but I’m trying to living a more stable life… One where I can be happy and have the things I deserve like a good pair of shoes, and more than one pair of pants. When you suffer depression you build a world around it and when you build a life on a shaky foundation the walls are going to crash. There is no way anything will stand up.

After my Mom died I spiraled into a deep depression. I have struggled ever since to pull myself back up. I constantly feel like I’m climbing Mount Everest. Imagine if every thing you did felt like that? Or felt like you were carrying 100 pound weights on both shoulders.

It’s very common for individuals who suffer from depression to have a secondary issue. When you feel bad you try to do whatever you can to feel better. Any way to numb the pain will do. Many turn to alcohol or drugs. I turn to food. To the point where I’m so heavy that mobility is an issue. I’ve spent over twenty years letting everything fall apart and now I’m learning to pick up the pieces. I’m not saying these things to have a pity party, they’re just the reality of depression. You not only have to combat the depression but all the secondary issues that go with it.

Which makes overcoming it much more difficult. I’ve ran all my life from the depression, pain and problems. This is the first time I’ve stuck around. I’m seeing a therapist regularly and have been on medicine to help control the depression for over two years. Unlike many illnesses there isn’t really a cure. You just learn to manage the symptoms.

I’ve never had stability and now that I’m getting older I so desperately long for it. I’m flawed but aren’t we all in some way or another. I’m also tired of falling apart and having to pick the pieces back up… starting all over. Some have the snap out of it attitude when dealing with someone with depression but it doesn’t work that way. I wish it did because I would have done that a long time ago. Depression doesn’t have visible symptoms like other illnesses do so many don’t validate the condition. So on top of everything you’re dealing with the depression, you also have the stigma that goes with it.

Some have said to me, in the past, why do you share these parts of yourself publicly? I do it because we shouldn’t have to hide. If we talked more about depression the stigma of getting help wouldn’t be there are severe. I also know that I’m not alone. So many people are in my shoes. If I can impact one life that would mean my suffering meant something. Twenty years of suffering has to mean something.

So I’m putting myself out there. I’m letting known my intentions to the universe. I want my story to make a difference in other people’s lives whether that’s through my story and/or my art. Not everyone will understand my struggles and that’s okay. I don’t do this for them, I do it for you. I also do it for me.

I matter. You matter. We all matter. Happiness is not a privilege. I don’t have much figured out and the future is very hazy but I hold onto hope that good things are yet to come. Until then I will just hold on for dear life and ride the storm out. You might not be able to see it always but the sun is always behind the clouds, even the darkness of night. We are meant to shine. While I don’t always feel good about myself and my self worth is fairly low I’m bound and determined to feel fabulous.