Sunday, 25 August 2013

Laughter after Bedtime

Taking your child to the park and challenging her to beat you in a swing-a-thon, racing her to the roundabout and spinning until you are both so dizzy you walk off and fall to the floor, inviting her on a tour of all the old places you used to frequent as a child.  All completely normal activities, the kind of activities that make you smile and say what a good mother she is, always making time for her child, always spending that quality time. That is until she lets you into a little secret, these activities did not take place in 'normal' hours, they took place long after other children were fast asleep in their beds.  Long after the sun had said goodbye to the madness of another day and the moon had welcomed the stars to shine their brightest.  These activities took place in the darkness of depression.

When the daylight hours where work, friendships, relationships, life in general was too stressful, too much to bear, this mother lived her life in the night.  The life where instead of letting the deep pain and stress crush her into nothingness she did the only thing that she could think of.  She got in her car, 9 year old strapped in next to her and drove to places that took her mind back to happier times where life was easy and she wasn't entangled by things that challenged her not to want to be in this world.  

She was selfish and her daughter was her best friend, the only one she would really talk to about her struggles, the only one she would let close enough to see the sadness and watch the tears gather in pools beneath her tired eyes.  To her colleagues and her friends she appeared the same quiet woman who had an excellent rapport with everyone and sometimes came out of her shell and showed you the bubbly 'crazy' version of herself that was up for a laugh.  In her mind they wouldn't understand, nobody would.  The doctor who offered her pills, he didn't understand, the sister who offered her advice and a shoulder to cry on, she didn't understand.  Even the counselor with his annoying notebook and pen writing down god knows what about the intricate details of her life that he forced her to share, he didn't understand.  But in truth they all had their own understanding of her situation it just wasn't the same understanding that she had.  She was living it, breathing it, it lay in bed with her at night telling her things would not get better and it sat with her whilst she surfed the net looking for a place to escape it.  It made her decisions for her, it was just the luck of the draw whether those decisions worked out and it was luckier still that those decisions didn't take her and her child into the path of danger.

Depression can be like a secret badge of shame, some people say 'I'm depressed' as a general statement of dissatisfaction with their current situation but for some that suffer from depression, it is a ever-present companion that makes itself heard at it's own leisure.

People on the outside looking in can never really understand what a person faces when going through depression.  A post such as this one can only give a tiny glimpse into one person's experience of it because depression affects people differently.  Whilst for some it causes them to act wildly living out fantasies recklessly and forgetting their reality, for others it causes them to retreat into themselves, and for most it can be a combination of both.

When my ever present companion is in her silent phase I look on the role she has in my life and laugh at the craziness.  It is only in her silent times where I can hold my daughter and tell her I'm sorry for my sadness, please accept my love.


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