When It All Falls Down: A Chronic Depressive’s Forays Into Darkness

The first time somebody diagnosed me, I was in college having an utter meltdown. Straight Fs. Dissolution of an engagement to Mr. I Got It All Together. A bout of secret homelessness. Lots of drunk and lonely (albeit rarely alone) nights. Days faking all the funks. I went to the student health center and came out with a diagnosis along with a six month supply of Paxil and 36 free weekly 45 minute therapy sessions.

20 years later, I’ve fallen into the pit of never ending, silent despair more times than most people know—even those closest to me. And yes. I’m a Christian. And yes. I believe in God’s ability to heal and deliver the mind. And yes. I know God wants me to live life abundantly. And yes. I pray allatahm. And yes. I meditate and eat my greens and vitamins and smudge and light candles and all that.

I just also happen to need some Wellbutrin from time to time to help me pull myself out of a non-circumstantial funk.

It is what it is.

People who have never experienced the soul sucking weight of inner darkness be having all kinds of remedies and home brews for breaking the chains. Reality is this: the brain does what it does despite knowing that it shouldn’t be doing it. In fact, my SELF be narrating to myself, rationalizing why I shouldn’t even be feeling like I’m feeling. All the scriptures. All the affirmations. I can quote em like multiplication tables. It doesn’t help—well, it helps me function. I can still do my duties; my family taught me that, and my inner self can pull it together to go through the motions. I can put on the “Kisha Show”, perfected over years and years of mask making and powering through pain. But the physical and mental malaise remains until one day I wake up and it is gone. The light shines again, food tastes like food, and the motions become real experiences again.

Right now, I feel that same old feeling creeping up on me, trying to find a foothold. I know the signs, the God part of me alerting like a dog on a burglar. My body hurts all the time despite drinking enough water, counting my daily steps, going to bed at the right time, waking up at the right time, meditation and simple yoga…it is an overall ache that will go away with the depressive episode. Hello, darkness! My old friend keeps repeating in my head, a kind of gallows humor that I’ve developed to prepare myself to accommodate life with depression. I cry volumes of scary tears that bloom out of nowhere. I detach myself from people’s neediness. There but not there. Nice nod but not much else. Hugs without presence. Laughs that are hollow. I feel muffled as though life is coming to me through thick blankets. I am happiest lying down, irritated with human contact yet sad because I know I need the very thing I’m rejecting. There are moments of clarity and light—something truly tickles me or angers me. But invariably the fog descends and I go back under the blankets for a time.

And I am contemplating making that familiar call to my family doctor, “Yeah, I think it’s time for some Wellbutrin”. Because I know the drill. And I cannot discern if this is an easy cycle or a deep, energy killing one that lasts and lasts. I cannot afford to fall off the edge right now. And quite honestly, I am far, far passed the shame of living with depression. Why have a healthy body and a mangled mind? Don’t we need both? That means that I gotta do what I gotta do.

I rambled. Sorry! An effect of looming darkness—hard to concentrate. Anyway, for you secret depressives out there, you aren’t alone. I’m not about to even give you any messages of hope that ring false in your ears. Rest. Get some professional help. Take them meds. Eat the elephant one bite at a time. When your friends offer their time and attention, force yourself to connect. Hang in there. We can make it through the darkness, even if just for a little while.

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