I climbed into bed. I knew they were coming. I could feel it long before they actually fell.
I rolled over, placed my head on Mr C’s chest and let them fall.
“Are you okay?” he asked.
I didn’t answer. He knew.
“Oh Sarah, my love.”
His soft voice only served to act like a tap opening.
The tears fell softly onto his warm, strong chest.
He stroked my head, stubbly from not having shaved it in the last few days.
In that moment, I hated being bald.
I wanted hair. I wanted hair that would fall softly around my face and onto his chest. I wanted hair that didn’t need a special washing ritual, and drying ritual. I wanted hair that would make me feel more normal, less awful. I just wanted hair.
“I know you won’t believe this,” he said, reading my mind, “But I absolutely love you bald. I find it so sexy and so hot.”
He was right, I didn’t believe him.
“You are right, I don’t believe you.”
“I knew you wouldn’t, but do you know what? One day, soon, I am going to take you into the city and we are going to book a hotel room and I am going to shave my head and we are going to walk all over Melbourne taking loads of selfies of our bald selves.”
Could I love this man anymore.
Still, my heart ached. It ached for the screw up I believed myself to be. Was I ever going to be rid of this deep intense emotion that washes over me? The emotion that tosses me around like a rudderless ship on a stormy sea. My life is full of stormy seas. I just wanted to see dry land. Firm, stable, life affirming dry land.
I rolled over to try to sleep.
I did not sleep well. My dreams were filled with monsters and turmoil, running away from god knows what. I woke up exhausted.
I’m never going to know what it feels like to have peace.
Most people I speak to worry about dying before they have had the opportunity to see their children all grown up, married and have children of their own. My biggest fear is to die without knowing the sheer release that peace of mind must bring.
I feel everything so intensely and so deeply.
I hurt so badly.
I feel pain so acutely.
Some people tell me that this depth of emotion is what drives my sensitivity and my empathy and that this feeds my kindness.
Others have cruelly told me that my state of mind is in my control and that I should just have a more positive attitude. My mind is in my control, I guess, but I don’t often feel that it is. I often wonder if some of us are simply more genetically predisposed to being at the constant mercy of our emotions.
I feel powerless.
It is a horrible to feel like that.
I live in a time and place when, really, none of us should feel powerless, but we do.
Why is that?
Why is it that we feel powerless?
Perhaps, like the steps in AA, that is the first step. Not only am I powerless over alcohol, but I am powerless over my emotions too. Now what? I can give up alcohol, one day at a time, but I cannot give up my emotions.
Perhaps I can. Perhaps I can work at being mindful of my emotions one day, one hour, one minute at a time.
Living life on life’s terms doesn’t suit me.
Perhaps I am one of those lost souls that is destined never to find peace. Oh please dear God don’t let that be true.
I love my family, my husband, my children, my grandchild so much. Why can that not be enough?
Please know I love you my family, so fucking much, more intensely than I ever knew possible.
This is the curse of depression. It ekes the life out of you, even though you can see how lucky you are, even though you can see what is around you.
We are losing too many people to suicide and every time I hear of one, I die a little too. Why aren’t we being helped? Why aren’t people reaching out and helping us? Suicide and depression is on the increase, and yet still nothing is being done.
You want to know what is at the heart of depression? Our depression that grips us so tightly?
We don’t feel enough.
All the messages we have received, and the ones we are now most tuned into, is that we are not enough. Not enough for our partners, our family, our friends. Simply not enough.
Medication doesn’t give us that sense of self worth. Believe me, I know. It gives us a top of serotonin that helps us cope a little better with life’s ups and downs, but it does not get to the root of the problem.
We do not feel enough.
I want to be enough.
I want to FEEL enough.
Mr C will tell me I am enough. But deep down I don’t believe it. That is where the disconnect happens.
We aren’t selfish because we want to leave this world, we are desperate and in pain. Because we don’t feel we have anything to offer, because we don’t feel we have any worth. Because the messages in our brain tell us that anything anyone tells us about how great we are, what a difference we make, is a lie.
In the depth of an episode, our self worth is non existent. Your words are not lighting our souls. They should be, but they aren’t. My brain is yelling at me that I am nothing, that humanity would be better off without me. And so I struggle. I fight to silence my brain, I fight to keep some semblance of sanity, I fight to believe there HAS to be a better world for me, one with warmth and light and one where I feel enough.
I have a choice, I am told.
I can choose to be happy, to be more positive, to find the good in every day. There are strategies.
I try. I do.
But sometimes, all I can do is be aware of what is at the heart of depression and remind myself that this too shall pass. And then just be.
For those of you who are in a similar boat, that one without a rudder on a stormy sea, please know you are not alone. I understand. Just hang on. That is all I can say to you. For the love of God – Just. Hang. On.
And perhaps together, we can find our way to see our own light, to see our own self worth, to see what others see in us.