I‘ve held back, depression is hard. My mother is manic-depressive/ bipolar and I grew up through those ups and downs. I saw her arguing and screaming at things when it made no sense to do so; and I have seen her seemingly turn things around to improvement, only to be dragged back down into that hopeless oblivion.
I’ve seen myself and others get into funks that they could not shake, could not get ahold of those slippery eel like feelings and tell them to calm the fuck down. I’ve seen it, lived it, been sucked into it.
No, I can’t say to my mother, “I understand.” I can’t. I can guess, I can relate to life events, perhaps, and I can try to understand that things were what they were. Those things I can do.
I can’t forget, I can’t forgive if forgiveness hasn’t been sought, I can’t pretend that my flesh doesn’t crawl when she decides to give me a kiss on the cheek.
I can feel deep pity. I can feel a sadness that there is absolutely nothing to be done about the childhood I had. Though things have been better and my mother had recently help us a great deal, emotional scars cannot be healed with these gestures (though greatly appreciated). Perhaps they can smooth out the future but it’s hard to think any sum can fix the shitstorm I lived through. Some people may never understand this. Bless you. God bless you I am so glad you cannot. But don’t you dare lay judgement upon me because of this, you can’t understand.
So knowing mental illness as I do, it is so hard to watch someone destroy the goodness they have. No I cannot understand your motivations. I’m not you. I cannot judge on why you do what you do. However as someone who loves you, cherishes you, it is so very hard to see you become less because the illness is more.
The illness is so much more, it blocks out all the goodness and wonder in your life until all you see is it. The most nefarious part is how subtle it is. Sure the big episodes of panic and self-deprecation are noticeable but how about those insidious little thoughts of not being worthy, not being well, not being enough, lacking in love, lacking in worth… These tendrils eke out through your mind siphoning off any sort of pleasant thought. Feeding on your joy, so that you cannot even create a little.
It deceives you, sometimes it lets you be happy, gives you a thrill, buying something, eating something. but these are superficial. Always do these treats pull you out just enough to remind you how deep you really are in this quagmire that is depression.
As I’ve said, I’ve lived through this, I’ve seen it happen. I may not know it intimately in my thoughts day in and out; but I’ve tasted it, seen it, felt its effect.
So please understand me, and do not misunderstand me; I didn’t sign up for another 20 years of this shit. Did not.
Maybe this makes me incredibly unfeeling. Frankliy, I don’t give a shit. I’ve tried understanding, I’ve tried soothing, I’ve tried being angry at the problem, I’ve been angry at the person. I’ve tried ways to fix it. I’ve listened to lie after lie, hope after hollow hope.
I have suggested therapy, I have suggested light medications. I have suggested cutting out the things that are making it worse. I have listened.
I have been lashed out at, yelled at, ignored, refused, made to feel guilty for my own feelings, shamed, bullied, and given impossible standards to meet.
I did not sign up for this. Did not. This needs to be addressed. This has to be addressed, no more sweeping it away. No more about no one supporting, no one understanding. No more excuses.
No more insidious things creeping into everything that matters, tainting everything. No more. Action is required. Action.
(Edit: after posting this, I had my husband read this post. We had a rip-roaring argument and got things out. Are they fixed? No. Can we trust each other to change? Slowly. But at least it’s a start.)