It’s 6:35 CST and I’m just now getting my post up for the day. As Magda mentioned yesterday, we are getting together in real life, and I’ve been attempting to get my house clean and festive all day in preparation for her visit.
Tomorrow we’re taking advantage of the generosity of the S.C. Johnson Company to take a free bus tour from Chicago to visit the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed company headquarters in Racine, Wisconsin. I’m thinking about telling everybody on the bus that we write The Advent Calendar for Depressed People, so that only the cool, accepting people will sit near us.
What does this have to do with depression? Well, I think there’s some evidence that Frank himself suffered from depression, or at least some major inner demons. But just speculating about Frank’s mental health would make this a really weak tie-in for a post on this blog. Instead, I’d like to bring this back to someone far more interesting: Me.
The thing is, last year at this time there would have been no way I could have taken on this endeavor. I was going through a depressive episode, and the thought of cleaning the house or washing the guest room sheets would have been far too daunting, let alone the idea of going on a 9-hour bus trip to visit architectural landmarks in a whole other state.
I remember last December, when every holiday activity felt hard. I didn’t want to put up the decorations. I didn’t want to wrap the gifts. I didn’t want to go look at lights or hear a Christmas song. You know how it goes. I just didn’t want to do anything.
This year, thanks to some chemical help and a few other interventions, I’m in a better place emotionally. And I think that’s a victory I don’t stop and celebrate like I should. You just don’t celebrate feeling like your normal self.
But when you’re the opposite … hoo, boy.
You don’t think it will ever get better. You can’t see how it ever could. Sure, you tell yourself, you’ve been fine before, and there’s ample evidence that you’ll probably be fine again.
EXCEPT OF COURSE YOU WON’T, Depression tells you. NOT THIS TIME. You can never have enough evidence to convince Depression that it will go away. In the trials of mental health, you don’t want Depression serving on your jury, because you will never be able to convince it beyond a reasonable doubt that you don’t deserve a life sentence.
But I’m writing today to say that I am better right now. I’m writing it for you, who still aren’t convinced that it will ever get better.
And I’m writing it for myself. Because as much as I hate to even entertain the thought, there’s a pretty good chance I’ll get depressed again. And despite having so much experience with depression and recovery from it, I will be completely ill-equipped to bring myself back to good mental health.
So, Current You and Future Me, let me just say this: It’s going to be okay.