I got this in a fortune cookie my husband and kids brought home for me last week. D took them out for Chinese when I wasn’t feeling so well, which I greatly appreciated. Hiding my feelings is ironically something I can be good at when I’m up to it, but that’s not always the case.
This is the face of depression. This is the face of a grown woman on her way to a fancy party. But inside she feels like crying. Yet she knows it’s inappropriate. She feels wrong and ugly against the bright lights, fancy costumes. She drinks too much to numb the storm festering inside of her. She feels lonely, like no one gets it. She doesn’t bother with the dance floor. She stuffs her face and tries to focus on things people are saying to her, but it’s hard. It’s hard pretending to be okay when she really isn’t.
This is the face of depression. When things feel so wrong on the inside and she wants to do something drastic on the outside (there are plenty of ways, this is one of hers). Her stylist chopped off about six inches of her hair the other day. Some of the heaviness lifted. She added hot pink to it. Pink makes her happy. She just wants to be happy. She wonders if it’s okay to do things to make herself feel better.
This is the face of depression. This is morning carpool with all the kiddos. See? Sometimes, when she’s depressed, she has to pretend. Like when she’s with the little ones, especially. Only lately? she hasn’t had an easy time pretending, even for them. She does the best that she can. And that is all she can do. It’s time to explain more to them, but tread lightly and make sure not to scare them. She dreads that, too.
This is today, right now. In the raw. Riding the roller coaster, taking things a day at a time, an hour at a time, sometimes a single minute at a time. The withdrawal process isn’t easy for her family or friends either. But she’s lucky to have them and a great support system including a wonderful doctor and therapist working closely with and monitoring her. They think she is strong. She thinks they are wrong.
So if you see her around and she looks like this? It’s how she feels–down and dumpy, worthless, exhausted. She may not be up to talking much. Some days are better than others. Some times of day are better than others. She can be perky and productive and energetic in the mornings, but by afternoons or evenings, she’s ready to curl up in the fetal position.
Please be patient and know that she’s not herself right now. Or that her self at its very core is changing due to the chemicals in her brain adjusting, leveling off, and becoming used to lots less of one drug…one drug at a time. She’ll be going through more withdrawal in the coming weeks. And if you don’t understand or you want to understand or ask questions, I’m pretty sure she’d be happy to answer if she’s up to it.
Also? I’m fairly certain she could use a hug for no reason. She could use your hand to hold, she could use your friendship, or sometimes just a text to say hi. She doesn’t like to ask for help, or things. She doesn’t like to appear needy. Don’t be afraid if she doesn’t respond right away. And it doesn’t mean she doesn’t appreciate it. It just means she is overwhelmed.