Slowly moping about the house whilst still misplacing everything I touch—that’s the odd couple at work; ADHD and depression.
Everything I do seems to be in slow motion and through a dense fog that only I can see. My arm is heavy scooping up the laundry soap and there is no pep in my step moving between the dryer and the washer. The bed takes twice as long to make and the pillows look frumpy even after they are apathetically puffed.
In warmer seasons I’d go for a walk and bring home a bouquet of fresh wildflowers. In the winter months I will find sprigs of evergreens, red dogwood twigs and shrubby branches with brilliant ruby-red berries.
I force a smile when I’m feeling down. Not a big one, just a tiny unsuspecting fake smile. Slowly that smile begins to feel right and it expands to take on the shape of a real 100% organic smile. I breathe deeply when I step outside and walk to fetch the mail. Lingering longer than usual to watch the folly of a dozen ducks cleaning themselves in the fresh snow I begin to feel better, my limbs lighten and my walk back is a touch faster.
Sometimes depression grips me so hard I just want to sleep. So I sleep. Listening to our bodies is important, after all. I’ll take a long nap with my toddler and snuggle for a few hours at midday. Once I’m up I’ll make a healthy meal and do something fun for both of us. There is a lot to be said for being well rested and well fed.
Mothers can’t be selfish and depression tries to make us that way. Parenting means being there for your children regardless of how you feel at the moment. When they want to play, cuddle or clean the house in an absurdly unhelpful way it’s our duty to assist them with a smile and unending compassion. Children are wonderful for depression and mine are often what pulls me out of the foggy funk.
Only a depressed person can understand the lack of interest and empty feeling depression can bring. These feelings are murky and everchanging. They are in the moment and belong solely to the sufferer. Depression has deep roots that have touched my family on either side through generations and is often a secretive closed-door illness that can be left unshared for decades.
Maybe our modern lives become so strange, so far from the nature we were meant to live in, that we cannot cope with the demands on brains brought on by technology, work and complex social relationships.
Or maybe depression is part of a deeper misunderstood ancient internal system we don’t understand because it no longer relates to our civilized lifestyle. It might be a cue to recharge, to reduce stress, to slow down and consider what we have. Depression often hits me in the fall which could indicate a need to find a place safe, bountiful and warm to hide for the winter.