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.