When I finally admitted to myself that I was suffering from depression, I laughed hysterically. Then I cried so much, I had to do one of those “let me go look in the mirror so see how sad I look” moves, that only make sense in the movies.
I laughed because I could not believe I was amused at my own sadness. I laughed because at first, I did a self-diagnosis with an online quiz, which is NOWHERE near the “What Type of Princess Are You?” Facebook-variety. I laughed because I assumed I was being dramatic. I also laughed because I knew all the feelings you read about, all the symptoms people exhibit, was 100% happening to me, and I had no idea how to handle it.
No one wants to tell you they’re suffering from depression, for the same reason you don’t want to admit that you can’t fix a flat tire: you want everyone to think you know what you’re doing, but as soon as you admit that you don’t, they want to come in and fix it. I’ve known something was off a few years back when the thought of sitting in my car and eating McDonald’s while watching Grey’s Anatomy was more exciting than the prospect of going on a date. What was the point of going out with a handsome man when he was just going to realize I wasn’t worth the two drinks he bought? At least with Netflix and my car, there was comfort, plus the guarantee of french fries. The thought of going to sleep at night became the first thing on my mind when I woke up in the morning. I was becoming indifferent to dinner invites and pool parties, because I knew I would be the only unhappy person there. I knew something was really wrong when several of my closest friends noticed that I wasn’t “myself”. But I couldn’t tell them how I was really feeling. Even as a woman who prides herself on living a hot mess life, I could not come out and tell anyone “Hey, um guess what? I don’t think there’s a point to anything I do and so why bother? And hey, are you ready for brunch?”
My first instinct after taking my sad quiz on http://www.depression.com was to see if I could get some help. As I mentioned before, I wasn’t ready to tell my friends, but I was a movie buff, and just knew there was a hot, English psychiatrist with a cushy chaise lounge for me to throw myself on, that would be the background for our eventual love affair, all sponsored by my employer’s fully funded EAP program.
What I got the on the first round was a lady from the JCC that made me sit in an office chair. I saw her the proper amount of times before I had to pay her. She was nice enough, but I was new to this, and kept telling myself I couldn’t be properly healed unless I cried a lot and admitted some traumatic thing that happened in my childhood. Unfortunately, I left her with a new zest for to-do lists and the dumb decision to not do anything about my issues until the next time my insurance kicked in. Newsflash: you can’t pray depression and anxiety away, you can only pray you have good insurance with a flexible sliding scale.
This took me to Year 2 ( yes I waited a whole year), to a woman who specialized in EMDR, and she was NOT a DJ. This type of therapy involved rhythmic tapping, that has been successful in treating trauma. I was ready to give up on this fool until it actually worked. She revealed the source of my overeating to my insecurities about my body. See, I will admit that I had a pretty smoking body back in high school ( I know that sounds weird, but it’s true). During that time, I was sexually harassed by a staff member, which messed me up pretty bad. Through the therapy, I was able to piece together that I may be overeating because I no longer wanted anyone to bother me about my body, even though I still wanted to be seen as attractive. So thaaaaaaat’s why I go to Burger King in secret- sorry boys.
I tried therapy one last time, with a wonderful woman who specialized in eating disorders. I admitted that I knew exactly what I was doing, yet I could not fathom why I refused to stop. I told her I read too many inspirational Instagram quotes about treating yoself and eating the last piece of cake, and I found myself, 10 years later, fat, sad, and miserable. She was nice enough, but she could never get to the root of the problem, because that was my job. How do you explain to your loved ones that you’re doing damage to yourself, but you secretly don’t care? When I’ve casually brought up my insecurities to friends, they look at me like I’m crazy, saying that I don’t appear to have low-self esteem, as I’m always upbeat. But, that’s the thing with depression- I’m so frightened at the possibility that something is wrong, that I mask it with humor (as I’m sure many people do), because I don’t want to come to terms with the fact that I’m unhappy. But how in the world did I get here? How can someone who has such a blessed life be so unhappy? I have a roof over my head (with a killer view), a car to drive, employment, the ability to date dudes on the internet, and great friends and family who love me for some reason. But when your mind just isn’t in the right place, none of that matters. Instead of being positive about all the great things you have in life, you worry about trivial things that make no fucking sense. Did I really miss out on the love of my life? Or does my gut tell me that would’ve been the biggest mistake I ever made since I cut my own bangs? Why in the world doesn’t my friend’s husband like me, even though I have absolutely no reason to think that? Why does that keep me up at night? Why are all these people in the bar judging me because I’m eating this burger alone? How can I not of think of something else to keep me up at night, other than the constant worry that I’m going to get fired? Why do I insist on maintaining my bread box body with horrible eating habits, when my doctors say I could die? How am I ever going to admit to my loved ones that I often feel like my life means nothing, no matter how hard they try to make me feel that it is?
My depression is hilarious because it does borderline on the hysterical. I have to laugh at the fact that these thoughts are going through my head and taking over my life. I also but know this isn’t the end. In my case, Iaughter is the best medicine and along with my loved ones, 46 fans, and Cigna, I’m going to overcome this.
*I didn’t want to add some caveat to the beginning of this post, to cater to the people who might be up in arms about calling my depression “hilarious”. It’s a serious issue that many refuse to talk about in the open, but this is MY story. As I mentioned, everyone’s tale is not the same, but I know there’s someone out there who has some of the same weird-ass emotions that I do. And I hope you read this and realize that it’s going to be ok. Hit me up, and I’ll tell you about one of my awful dates, and you’ll feel better instantly (but if you need an objective ear, I’m here too, and I don’t charge).
-KEEP IT A HOT MESS