Battling the BIG D
I thought long and hard about whether or not I should write about my past week. It was something that I toyed with not even sharing because while it is one thing to write about a crazy date I may have had from some online dating site. It was quite another to expose yourself in another form. However, just the same that many readers out there can relate to the bad dates, the break-ups and this dating journey. All of us out there have gone through what I experienced myself, maybe not to such an extreme but its part of life and reality. Which is why I have decided to write about it this week; it’s called depression. Or as I like to refer to it: The BIG D.
I wasn’t at all prepared for it. It snuck up on me like a ninja, silent and filled with force. Sitting and waiting for my girlfriend two Sunday’s ago for brunch; I was texting with the guy from Oklahoma and things were going smoothly with the correspondence until the part of when we would see each other next came up. He avoided the subject as one does when they are feeling guilty. When his last words to me were, “We will talk soon,” I knew that was the kiss of the death. The “we’ll talk soon” is the equivalent of an actor going to an audition and the director saying, “We’ll call you.” You didn’t get the part in the play and I certainly wasn’t ever going to hear from Oklahoma again. Some people speak a foreign language… I speak “date.” Just as I predicted, I have yet to hear from Oklahoma, even after I decided midweek to say that I hope he was having a good week and I was greeted with nothing but silence. Whatever the reason and whatever the moment was that he realized he was no longer interested is fine with me but it set into motion an emotion that rarely allow myself to experience.
As I sat there with all of my girlfriends at the brunch, listening about their boyfriends, husbands and everything in between and dishing out the advice; something in me snapped. Of course, I didn’t let anyone see it because we were at brunch and we were all having such a good time. The walk home from brunch back to my apartment and I was finding that my feet became heavier, my heart began racing faster and I was experiencing a shortness of breath. While the sun was shining that Sunday in the city; it felt like a slew of dark clouds rolled in and that was when my depression kicked in. I chose not to tell any of my friends or family what had just happened and instead chalked it up to just being bummed out from Oklahoma and his mixed messages. I spent the rest of that day and evening with the phone turned off. I not only wanted to be turned off from the digital world but from the entire world all together.
When Monday presented itself and the alarm went off; I dreaded the morning like everyone else does. You wish for one more day off from work, you wish for just one more hour of sleep and none of that ever happens. The reality for me was that I didn’t want to see or hear from anyone; which is not like me. If anything, I greet each morning with meditation, contact my loved ones and do my job. Yet, there was something “off” about me, my thought process and my desire to not even want to shower (which I love doing). I went through the morning motions and by the time I got to my desk; I had nothing to give. I didn’t reach out to anyone that day and as the text messages and emails started to come in, I just looked at them and couldn’t muster the strength to respond. What the hell was wrong with me? Why was my body reacting to the Monday like this? Who was I? As the day progressed, the depression grew stronger and my questions became louder. It became so loud that I couldn’t go to the gym that night, I lost my appetite and I didn’t want see or hear from anyone. Suddenly sleep and hiding under the covers was the only thing appealing to me.
I had plans that week with friends and they canceled on me one by one, all with reasonable excuses; yet the depression grew deeper. In hindsight, it was a good thing that they did cancel because by Wednesday, I realized that I hadn’t smiled or laughed once. I only chose to tell a few people what I was going through because it is not something you necessarily want to broadcast out to the world. It was actually scary for me because I am always the “happy one” the “positive one” and the one “who everyone comes to for advice.” It was then that I realized why so many public figures go to rehab or disappear for awhile. When you are always “on” it takes its toll and eventually you have nothing left to give to yourself or to the world. Showing weakness or any sign of failure has never been an option for me and yet I felt like I was failing at every single aspect of my life. You know that feeling when you break-up with someone and suddenly all around you are couples holding hands and inside you secretly want to push them into oncoming traffic? I felt like I had failed with my relationships from romance to my friends, my career and even my life here in the city. It felt very selfish of me to have all of these thoughts but by the time Thursday rolled around and there was no sign of getting out of this darkness; I booked an emergency appointment with my therapist.
I sat there on Thursday evening just looking at her. I knew I needed to be proactive and take control over this feeling because it had already consumed so much of my week already. The people I told about what I was going through checked on me daily but it was so hard to even respond to them. I explained to my therapist that I hated the fact that I knew with every fiber inside that my problems are miniscule to other people I know. I was sitting there beating myself up for allowing my shallow problems to override all of my many fortunes. Yet, there I was, sitting in a chair having what, I could only imagine is called, a mini-breakdown. By the time the forty five minute session was over with, I didn’t feel any better but at least I didn’t feel worse. I didn’t book the emergency appointment thinking that in that one session all of my life and the world’s problems would be solved; I just need to verbalize the pain I was feeling. It was day four of being held hostage by the BIG D, no appetite, no physical or emotional strength and I was dreading the weekend. My weekends usually spent with friends, parties and booze had me filled with anxiety. Yet, at the same time, I didn’t want to be by myself and alone with my thoughts. I did my best all this past week to avoid things that could cause the depression to deepen, like food and the biggie…alcohol. My body didn’t crave anything at all except to escape. Too broke to book a flight to Tahiti; I wasn’t sure how I was going to face the upcoming 72 hours.
Friday morning and managed to only get a few hours of sleep; I pulled myself out of bed and into the shower. With my legs almost too weak to hold me up, I kneeled down in the shower and let the water wash over me. I sat at my computer later on that day, trying to write and my fingers couldn’t connect to my brain. Depression had won and I was waving the white flag. Usually, on Friday’s, I get a text message or I send one to my friend, Feathers, wishing him a good weekend out at his country house. When I didn’t send the message on Friday by 3 p.m. it was as if he sensed something was wrong with me. He asked me when I was free in the month of October to visit him and I told him that it might be awhile since I am booked all month long. I also said that while I won’t be able to see him in October that I was going through some severe stuff at the moment. One minute later he sends me a message telling me to pack a light bag (since he knows I pack heavy) and that I am joining him and some other friends of ours for the weekend. I may not get to see him as often as my other friends but he jumped in right away to offer me some sanity. I packed my bag, left work early and sat on the corner of 56th/10th Avenue for Feathers husband to pick me up.
I got in the backseat of the truck and we picked up Feathers and a girlfriend of ours. I felt guilty about tagging along an already planned weekend but I was grateful to get away from the city. The city is like a relationship when you live with someone. Sometimes you need a break, a few minutes, hours or even days to recharge your run down batteries. As I sat in the backseat, forgetting that I get car sick; I just sat in silence and listened to others tell their stories while I did my best to not throw up. Three hours later and we had arrived at the country house. On the ride there, I told myself to treat this weekend as if I was Lindsay Lohan going to a rehabilitation center. Monitor the booze intake, keep your mind busy with projects and get proper rest. Those were the doctors’ orders.
That night, since we had arrived late, we made pizza, drank wine and played games. I found myself smiling a little bit and even laughing. As the guests started to go to bed, one by one, in the end it was just Feathers and I. In the pitch black darkness of the wilderness, we stood outside and talked. In his caring and loving way, he just asked, “What the hell is wrong with you?” I did my best to explain and as my explanation left my mouth; I began to feel better. We hugged it out and I went to bed that night with not one single thought in my head.
I woke up on Saturday morning, almost feeling like my old self again. Some of the guests were outside gardening and connecting with Mother Nature; while I stayed inside and tried to…cook. Feathers husband and I were responsible for feeding the masses that day. One of the things we were making was fondue. We were going to make fondue, have wine and sit by the pond. My role in the fondue making was to read off the ingredients to Feathers husband and he would make it. Turns out, that I am not even that successful at reading directions because instead of fondue; it looked and tasted like grits. The fondue was not a success but next time, I hope to redeem myself. I was able to get in some “me” time that day and appreciate everything that was around me and everything I had waiting for me back in the city. Saturday night and going to bed by midnight? Unheard of but there I was, under the covers and looking forward to another peaceful rest. My mind was beginning to clear up and I found myself even having a giggle attack in bed and Feathers telling me to “Shut the hell up.”
Yesterday morning and I checked my phone with messages from a few friends and family members asking how the weekend was and how I was doing. It was such a great feeling to finally be able to say to them that I was doing better and that I loved them for standing by me. When I was dropped off at my apartment yesterday afternoon, I took a moment to stand out front of my building and smile. I was home. Both physically and metaphorically and as I turned the key to my front door; I knew that is where I wanted to be. I dropped my bags off, took a walk around my neighborhood and took it all in.
I used to see depression as a sign of weakness. Never understanding how people allowed it to control them or allowing it to affect their lives. Now I understand that depression is something that is serious and with time, patience and an amazing support system; can be resolved. Life is one big battle and sometimes we win and other times we lose. It’s how you go out to battle that matters most against life. It’s that strategy, that thought process and who’s got your back in the end that will give you results in life that you truly deserve.
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