“Good morning Kimberly,” she said, jangling a few of my nerves.
I rolled onto my back and she climbed on top of my chest, squeezing every last bit of air out of my lungs. She reached for my face and forcefully put her cold hand over my mouth. She cackled as she took the sheer blanket and pulled it over my eyes.
I didn’t see her coming.
Outside of my car window, threatening clouds dragged their way across the horizon. I unrolled the window to breathe the smell of the impending rain. I grabbed loose receipts from gas stations and gum wrapping paper before they took off with the wind. The light turned red and I stopped a smidge over the crosswalk line. A man on his bike looked at me in irritation as he swerved his way around my bumper. I sighed as I looked ahead at the gym and decided that I didn’t want to workout that day. I pulled into a corner store lot and turned around.
“That was quick.” my mom said.
“I just didn’t feel like it.”
I put my fat pants on and my favourite sweater with the holes in the sleeve that I could put my fingers through. I turned off of the lights and slid my way into bed. When I woke up, I ate. I made plans that probably took me to the bars because that’s what 20 year olds do. I laughed with friends.
I felt better.
We’ve all had these days where we wake up on the wrong side of serenity; feeling downhearted about nothing in particular. We drag throughout our day with that proverbial gloomy cloud lingering over our heads and nothing seems to go right. Ever notice that? It’s as if the universe picks up on our negative mood and tries to make that day extra special.
The coffee shop runs out of your favourite sprinkled donut and the copier jams at work. Your pen explodes and you only notice when a co-worker says, “What’s on the corner of your lip? Is that ink?”. There is no toilet paper in the bathroom and there is no one home to fetch it for you.
Never fails eh?
On those days, we give into ourselves and find ways to pull us up and out. We may stop and get food that makes our arteries scream in revolt but our bellies fill with happy. We may loaf in front of the TV watching shows that need the least amount of our sanity to thoroughly enjoy.
When we lay our heads on our pillows for the night, we acknowledge that the day was shit and hope that tomorrow is better. 9 times out of 10, it is.
I just made up that statistic.
Before my diagnosis of postpartum depression and bipolar disorder, I had no idea what a sad day was compared to a depressed one (which is not just a day, it is weeks, months, years). There is a very distinct difference.
Sad days; rather being sad, is a normal human emotion that is fleeting. Depression is so much more complex than that. She burrows itself into every crevice of your soul and takes control of your good sense. She is not confined to just your mind; she infects every bit of air around you.
She is colours that are too bright, sounds that are too loud. She is rage and apologies. She is empty and dark. She is isolation. She is thoughts of worthlessness and of death. She is standing in the middle of a crowded room with everyone you love and feeling utterly alone. She makes you believe that you’re the only one who carries your weight, and even if you tried to reach out, you’re just being a burden.
Depression is not just sad.
So when I am trying to scream as loud as I can under oppressive pain, “Please be my strength today,” please do not respond in a way that measures up depression to feeling sad.
“I know right. The sun hasn’t been out in days. It’s so depressing”.
“I’m so depressed that my hair doesn’t look good.”
“It’s so depressing that my show is postponed until after the Olympics.”
“I get sad too. I go for a walk. Maybe you should do it too?”
Because you know why?
You MINIMIZE our pain.
What do you think those statements do to a person who needs for you to just listen and acknowledge their pain?
You reinforce their irrational thought that they are weak and can’t handle life just like everyone else.
We aren’t worth the air you breathe.