You've seen the commercials, right? The ones with the lonely, sad looking people barely managing to live and their loved ones looking on with near horror or contempt.
For the past few months, I've been one of those sad looking people.
I have depression.
I suppose you could say I suffer from it, but like Cancer -- its second cousin once removed -- I have it and I try to do things to keep it from having me.
Obviously, the tone of my posts for the past few months has been somber. I've been lost in Depressionland and most of my tour guides have been women who have a vested interest in getting me out alive.
Obviously, that vested interest is a good thing. It's saved me from sitting in the garage with the car on when I've felt like I couldn't go on. It's saved me from cutting my arms to pieces when the pain felt like more than I could bear.
People have asked me why I don't talk to a doctor about this; why my husband doesn't insist or encourage me to go to the doctor's office to get checked out.
My reasons are simple yet sad: this depression is hereditary. I have it, my mom has it, my grandmother has it and I'm sure her mother did too. We've all pulled through our darkest days with amazing strength which is why I know I'll be okay.
I also cannot afford to treat my depression the way it should be treated. Most people's response to this is "You can't afford not to." That's probably true, except right now, my paychecks need to go toward groceries and the heating bill and not healing what has been a repetitive issue my entire life.
I refuse to take medication for this depression. I've been prescribed it once and I felt like hell. Never again. I'm eccentric and cool and the drugs made me sound and feel like a stoner.
I do have the phone number for the mental health line for my health insurance. Some day, I plan to call it and get my assessment taken care of so at least I can begin finding a therapist. But I hold myself back because something else, something bigger, always seems to get in the way of my seeking treatment.
During these cold winter months, I'm a shell of my exuberant self. I'm no where near as happy and alive as I am when it's warm. I'm not the best wife, the best stepmom or the best daughter when I'm depressed.
I am what I am.
I am depressed.