9.14.2009

The Fun House

When I'm in a healthy mental state, I'm amazed at the way worries about body image fade from the forefront of my mind. Dressing becomes fun. I'm able to marvel at the strength of my legs as I run or become awestruck by my womb's capacity to carry life. My body feels like a temple, a sacred gift I've been given from God. My chin reminds me of my mother, my stretch marks a memento from pregnancies that brought me three miraculous children. But depression changes all that.

Depression warps my thinking like a fun house mirror.

My world shrinks, my vision narrows, until all I see is a hideous distortion of myself. To survive, all my effort has to be thrown into fighting the self loathing that rises like bile in my throat. I want to peel off my skin and discard it like dirty clothing, or sink into the numb cave of my bed and hibernate from my venomous thoughts. Everything becomes a monumental effort. My mind is so fatigued from trying to hold back the onslaught of despair, I find I have neither the energy nor the disposition to care for others or function like a normal human being.

And now that I know what it's like to be happy, I feel angry when depression strikes. What a waste to spend days, weeks, months of my life hating myself! How dare depression rob me of all that time?

I feel robbed of this last week. I didn't help a friend to clean her house before she moved. I didn't go running as the sun peeked from the lip of the horizon. I didn't make love to my husband. I didn't cuddle with my kids or tell them how honored I am to be their mother. I was too busy feeling fat.

What a waste.


I would be horrified and heartbroken if Little Miss C ever felt this way about herself. When I see women around me--beautiful, vibrant, daughters of God-- consumed with the same thoughts that I fight, I want to shake them and shout that it's all a lie!

Heavenly Father must feel the same when he sees me hanging my head under the weight of dark thoughts. He must want to shake me and tell me it's all a lie, something meant to distract me from the truly important things in life. Now that the depression is lifting, I can see that.

I just wish I knew how to shatter the fun house mirrors for good.

10 comments:

TheSpanishLady said...

Amen to your last comment. It is hard when you are perfectly aware of whats wrong with you and yet you can't stop it. I don't have to fight depression and I still have days like that. Usually I just watch a Gilmore girls marathon and eat 3 drumsticks in one day. very healthy :)Love you and pray for you.

Hizzeather said...

I hope you can shatter those mirrors. Does it help to know that I envy you and your beautiful family and look up to you? :) I went through a depression about 2 years ago. I didn't know until it was lifting. Not fun, pretty dark times.

By the way, check out my friend's post...it made me think of you! :)


http://aubreymessick.blogspot.com/2009/09/love-my-diy-sweater.html

Rachael said...

I assume you've tried cognitive therapy, but I'll just throw that out there, since that's what made the difference for my mom and enabled her to live her life--without the medication--on an even keel.

Michele said...

I just want to thank you for your honest post. I have struggled with depression on and off my entire life, and I, too, seek solace (too often) sleeping too much in order to quiet my mind. My first-born left to go to college across the country a few weeks' ago and it's really hit me hard. It's frustrating because I know what I need to do in order to feel better, but often am unable to make myself do them. I don't have answers or advice, just gratitude for your words today. It helps to know I don't struggle alone. Thank you.

Hess Clan said...

For what it is worth--I think you are an awesome, beautiful person. The more I get to know you the more I am in awe of the things you have done-or are doing.

Apis Melliflora said...

I know very little about depression and its treatments. But I know that it's very dark and very real, just as you describe it, and I know that there are treatments. I pray you can find what works for you to keep you in the light where you belong.

I can't help but think that writing about it is a good thing. Asking for prayers and support, also good.

The Dragonfly said...

I'm grateful for your honesty and candidness. I'm sorry for your pain and frustration. Each time I have another child, I go through this mini-metamorphosis where I struggle with my self image, my life, etc. I know it is only a fraction of what you go through, and yet it is tough on me! You are a brave and truly inspiring woman.

Briauna said...

You are such a greater writer. So artistic. Even when you are writing about such a sensitive and serious subject you make it captivating.
As far as helping me clean my house before I moved don't worry about such things. I had plenty of help. Please don't think anymore about it. You had enough on your plate. I will be down next weekend and will see you on Sunday. You are a good friend.

Mo-Reen said...

What beauty in your words. Take that third paragraph and put it in a book already.
On a better day embrace the fact that you can see that side of things. It is a gift. When no one else can understand you will. You have access to feeling and truth. Thank you for sharing.

LisAway said...

Beautiful and frightening. What an apt comparison. I'm sorry you lost that week trapped in the fun house. Not fun at all.

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