The Tough Stuff – Caring
I feel like I should just write a whole blog series of the tough stuff because apparently that’s all I know how to share lately. Maybe it’s because I’m finally at a point where I can actually see what I was like from an outside view. I’m making enough strides forward that I can look back and see that other person I used to be. It’s not a pretty picture to see.
A year ago, I had just finished up from being in intensive outpatient and then inpatient treatment for depression. So yes, I was very much aware that I was depressed. Extremely so. But at the time, knowing I was depressed, is different than looking back and seeing it now.
I’ve mentioned before how depression consumes you; it consumes everything. I’ve talked about how it affects everything. Down to things you don’t even associate with the depression. The best I can describe it is as is living in black and white. I was alive but I wasn’t. It’s honestly kind of sad, to look back at things that should have been so amazing now and know that I barely even felt them. I was there and experiencing those things, but I wasn’t. I was just going through the motions.
More than anything, depression relates to relationships. Love? Forget it. Romance? Not even possible. Sharing feelings? Hah. A joke. But what I hadn’t realized until now was how much my depression affected others. I knew I was hurting my mom. I knew she wished she could fix everything always and that I wanted to hide it so I didn’t hurt my family any more. I knew I couldn’t commit suicide because it would hurt them. What I didn’t know was that I already was hurting them. I see that now.
You see, now, I am present. I’m actually a part of the relationships I have with people. I want to spend time with my dad. I want to know what his work day was like and sit with him while he eats dinner because it was a crap day and he came home late. I want to talk to my uncle on the phone who I haven’t talked to in years. I want to share with my nana and Grampa about the silly things the kids in school said today. I want to call my mom and offer to pick her up her favorite sub on my way home from work. These are such normal things. We do them every day. Just simple tasks. I guess you don’t realize how much they mean until you see you didn’t have it.
I was so blinded by my depression, I couldn’t even see the people around me. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t communicate with them what I wanted to share or say or hear them talk about. I was a prisoner in my own body because depression was holding me captive. I couldn’t love them. I couldn’t show them I loved them in small ways that I had always been known to do. Whether it was leaving notes in lunchboxes or cleaning a kitchen or reading with them or all the little ways to say I love you without actually saying those three words. I didn’t have the energy to do those things because it was taking all I had to just keep living for them.
I don’t know when it happened, post-Camino I suppose, but I started doing those things again without even realizing it. Not only that, I started feeling those things again. The happiness of hunting with my family. Of simply going on errands with them. Being able to actually enjoy a conversation and participate in it instead of simply being a spectator.
I’ve been a spectator on my own life for far too long. I’m more than excited to be the player again.