The D word
The D word. Which “D” word, might you ask? I can almost guarantee it is not the word that you’re thinking (I work with high schoolers so I know what you’re thinking). Dictionary.com has 39 pages of approximately 120 words that begin with the letter “D” so I am just going to jump right in and get us on the same page.
Depression. The D word. A word used to describe how I feel, the way I act and how I think. A word that decides what I am going to get done that day. A word that can disconnect me from the world and over-connect me other times. A word that disregards any plans I had and tells me to “stay in bed” or “take that nap” because you really just don’t feel like doing anything today. Depression is a monster. A devilish creature that lives inside my brain and determines my every move most days. A brain that just doesn’t produce enough of those happy hormones that I have been learning about since high school: dopamine (aaahhh another D word) and serotonin.
To those of you that produce enough of the happy hormones all on your own, *cue sarcastic smile* congratulations. And to those of you who don’t, I feel you. I feel your pain most days and I feel the struggle. I woke up, but I definitely didn’t want to even get out of bed. I brush my teeth and get dressed for work, going through the motions of morning with zero excitement. I work an 8 hour day as a mental health specialist for teenagers while I wrestle with my own mental health.
Honestly, mornings are the hardest. I set one alarm at 6:00 am. I roll myself out of bed at 7:00 am…that’s 4 snoozes and an hour worth of fighting to wake up and start the day. I rush around my house getting ready for the day, to (hopefully) leave by 7:22 am. Most days 7:22 am is 7:26 am which means I will be late. Great, you overslept again *cue anxiety*. And that is just the start.
Now, don’t get me wrong, working in the mental health field is #rewarding, but the clients I work with are…uniquely challenging (I’ll save them for a whole different post), and as I battle them and their mental health, I battle myself.
I studied psychology for 4 years at an impressive (and expensive) college with some of the best professors. I know what I need to do to start feeling better but that D word comes crashing down on me when I try with all of the `what ifs’. I spiral. What if I go to a counselor? But what if you hate the counselor you get? What if I start working out again? But what if you get hurt and then you can’t work? What if I try some new classes or coping skills? But what if it costs money that you don’t have because your bills are backing up? What if I try and get a new job? But what if the new job is worse than your current one? What if I talk to my fiancée about it? But what if your fiancée doesn’t care? It is ALWAYS a fight. And most days, I just don’t have it in me to fight.
But I do. Everyday I am still here means I won yesterday’s battle. As much as I want to tell myself that I lost, there are small victories in every single goddamn day. Right now, the fight is to live and to be alive and right now I am alive and I am living. My life did not stop when I first felt sad, or when I was diagnosed, or even when I wanted it most to just…stop. I kept going and I kept winning my everyday fight with myself and my mental health. The D word doesn’t scare me today and I hope I will say the same tomorrow, but the very least I hope I am still here and I am still fighting, which for now, is enough.