The Face of Depression | Churchjudge

Reblogged here in its entirety, with permission of the author. Originally posted Here.

Some of us are very practiced with our masks. We’ve done this a long, long time. But sometimes there are cracks in our armor that let the inner-us show through just a bit. We might bite your head off if you tell us our shoe is untied or we might just slink away when you compliment us because even praise can hurt at the wrong moment when our emotions are doing cartwheels. We’re tired all the time. Sometimes we don’t have the energy to do anything for ourselves, much less for someone else.

On Monday morning we drag ourselves out of bed and go into the same old job that everyone would complain about and we go through the day like any other day. We get the job done and we try to enjoy something about it. An intellectual or physical challenge that’s overcome is often a satisfying internal reward. We eat lunch, talk on the phone with suppliers and clients and the middlemen. And we’re respected. We do our job well. People count on us to be strong. But hidden at the back of the top desk drawer is a bottle of legitimately prescribed pills that we know would kill us in an hour if we took a few and hid in the bathroom. You see, we’re in a lot of pain inside and we dare not tell anyone. They’re not safe. It would just lead to ridicule, questions, job uncertainty, and unfamiliarity. At least we understand the misery of living with chronic depression. It’s familiar. It’s comfortable. We know the monsters well.

At home the kids have left a mess on the table and the wife is going to be late and we suddenly have to fix dinner for five but can’t handle being our own self, much less cooking. We’re exhausted from keeping the Head Monsters at bay all day and need to curl up and sleep for about a year. Oh, the kids are screaming at each other. Great. Why do I bother to live another minute, we think. And we think about the handgun and how fast things would be done and over with and we’d finally get out of the hell of being trapped in our own skull and call the pizza place.

Somehow we survived the week to make it to Sunday and we teach the Sunday School lesson, somehow, and we know we could never in a million years tell anyone we are desperately struggling with depression. We have for years. We would lose all their respect and nobody would understand and they will only tell us to pray harder or ask what sin is making us depressed or it will be proof we’re not even a Christian. And we know we dare not talk to our pastor because his wife is the church’s Gossip Delivery System, and he tells her everything. Of course, the sermon is about money and all the kids need braces that insurance won’t cover and we need surgery that will cost at least ten Grand out-of-pocket. But we’re made to feel like we’re evil if we don’t tithe. And we’d better forget asking the church for help with the groceries this month or they’ll check the books and see we’ve not given anything in eight weeks and think we’re terrible, back-sliding Christians. And we want to go to that one seldom used closet at church and hang ourselves with a belt.

We have people who say they’re our friends but we never hear from them because we’re not much fun anymore. We can hide behind the masks but our friends usually know something’s wrong before we do. Then there are the friends who only want happy-us. They can’t handle any part of the real us. And then we find out who our friends really are when a family member dies and not one of them shows up at the funeral for a little support. None of them send a card or call. Why can we be there for everyone but when we need someone, a kind word would do, where are they? And we die inside a little more. And we keep going it alone.

The wife? All she does is ask questions we can’t answer. She’s trying to help but the constant barrage of questions makes things worse and we know if we tell her the truth she’ll ask more questions and that will turn into more pain and she’ll worry and having her worried about us sounds even worse than not telling her we’re in a lot of turmoil inside so we play it safe. We placate her but know she knows something is really wrong. We smile at her with the best smile and may even have the energy and desire for some intimate time with her, but we know it’s only a diversion from the Hell In Our Heads. It always comes back.

We wake up at 3 am, thoughts racing and the monsters won’t leave us alone. I’m a failure. Nobody cares. Nothing will make it better. I can’t stand this anymore. Why do I feel like such a child?! Why can’t I control these feelings? I hurt too bad to take anymore! Everything’s become too much to handle. We don’t know why it hurts inside and we’ve done all we can. We’re tired. We’re alone. Nobody will ever understand so why leave a note? We get out of bed and stop off at the bathroom to pee. Then quietly open the safe and get out the little case that’s been on our minds for months; we’ve tried to ignore it but it won’t stop calling to us. We take it and sneak off to the garage and sit in the car listening to some music in the dark. We know we’re about to be free of the agony forever and the thought makes us happier than we’ve been in months.

Squeeze, don’t pull. It’ll be all better then.

 

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