Every year at my annual checkup, my doctor asks if I’m depressed. It’s on that quick checklist of questions they have to ask.
Every year, I smile, maybe chuckle a bit, and respond “haha nope!” despite the suicide notes or cuts made that year. Honestly, I just didn’t want to deal with it. After all, I had gotten out of bed that day, I had made it to the doctor’s office, I was obviously okay. It wasn’t so much a lie to him as it was to myself.
I’ve started taking care of myself since then. I’ve talked to a therapist when I needed to, I acknowledge to myself when I need help, and I give myself a break when I need it (most of the time).
So this year at the doctor, I changed my answer. “Yeah, I’ve been struggling a bit.” And he responded, “Really? Are you sure? You don’t look depressed!””Haha yeah I guess I’m okay,” I said. I let it go. And I’ll probably never bring it up again.
And I think I am doing okay. I’m certainly doing much better than I was a few years ago, but this summer’s been tough on me. After receiving bad news from the doctor, my grandmother passed within a matter of weeks. My dad’s health has also been deteriorating lately. All of this has taken a serious toll on my mother. So I think I”m okay because I have to be okay. And because I’m working forty hours a week and I don’t have time to… think.
I honestly think I’m just holding out till I leave for Japan and hoping to god that it’ll fix me. Because I’m starting to crack at the edges. But hey, I guess I’ll just tape myself back together and keep going because after all “I don’t look depressed”. I must be okay.
I moved back home from college on Sunday with the knowledge that I wouldn’t be back on campus until 2015. Packing everything up, it struck me that half of my college experience was over and I remembered everything that had happened in the two short years that I had been there. I had built up quite a collection of memories, both good and bad, but I had also grown very accustomed to my life on campus. I was safe there. The end of the semester gave me the realization that time was still moving forward and that was something that I had been avoiding for so long.
Part of it was also the dread of going home. I love my family and spending time with them, but being at home also carries an overwhelming set of memories, something that I didn’t realize until I spent a significant amount of time away. The past few days have been really hard for me. My grandmother’s health had deteriorated pretty rapidly and on Friday she is returning to the hospital to have another procedure done. It brought back memories of when she was first diagnosed with cancer last spring and I had to start on antidepressants because my anxiety began to be debilitating. Just about two weeks ago, I finally came off medication. I couldn’t really take the side effects anymore and I hated the idea of being dependent on drugs.
Yesterday, I had a pretty bad panic attack. I’ve never actually had a panic attack that bad while I was sober, but I was just really overwhelmed. I had been avoiding a lot of things while I was at school, but at home, everything came rushing back. I also don’t really have anyone to turn to when I’m at home, and I hate burdening my family with the idea that I’m not okay right now when they have so much to deal with on their own. Ironically, I get the idea that me staying strong at home is part of what is keeping everyone together. I keep thinking that if only I were still at school, everything would be okay, but I know that that’s really not true. I’m also burdened by the guilt that I’m so much more stressed out being at home and around my parents and I know that that’s not what home is supposed to be and that’s certainly not what they want for me.
I honestly just wish that time would stay still for just a sec. I just need a moment. One moment.
For now, I’m just trying to hold myself together. I’m practicing piano a lot because that seems to be the only time my mind stops designing horrible scenarios for myself and deciding I’m constantly on the verge of a panic attack. I’m also spending a lot of time in bed because it feels safe there. I feel guilty about wasting precious time, but I’m also trying to remind myself that it’s important that I take as much time doing what I need to do to make sure I’m okay.