After coming through the seemingly darkest time in my life so far, I've learned a lot more about depression this time around than I ever have understood before.

Depression is not a pity party. People who are depressed do not enjoy feeling sad. It's not that if we think of enough positive things, we'll snap out of it. It's not that we're focused only on the negative things. 

At first it seems like overwhelming sadness, but the sadness doesn't come because of a pity party over the bad things in life. The sadness and even anger for me came because I realized I couldn't feel good things. The things that I'd always looked forward to had lost their sparkle. Like trying to enjoy a rainbow in black and white... it loses it's awe factor. 

Photo by Maxime Raynal

Photo by Maxime Raynal

The things that were important before didn't hold value anymore. Everything was meaningless and when everything in my life had lost its meaning, the next 60 years looked really hopeless. Even if the thing I looked forward to most happened, I wouldn't be able to enjoy it.

I can hypothesize why I had come to be this way, but I'm not here to tell you why a person gets depressed, how to fix a depressed person, or how to keep your kids from being depressed. 

Because the only thing that really helps, aside from medication,  is having someone understand. There is no shortcut.

So I'm here to do my best to help you understand.  Imagine if looking into your child's big bright eyes while she hands you wildflowers she just picked felt like ... nothing. Or finally purchasing and settling into your dream home felt like ... nothing. Or finally getting your dream job making twice what you were, or having your song hit #1 on all the charts. Nothing. 

It's hard to imagine, but every part of you is numb. You want to be pinched and feel it. 

Then I started to realize if I never found a shred of happiness again, if the feelings never came back, what that would do to the lives of the people around me. J would get excited about something and, when he shared it with me, I wanted to be excited with him and for him, but I couldn't... And he was beginning to lose his sparkle and I thought it was my fault. When that started happening it was hard to see the point to living. Not only was I not enjoying living, but I was making other people's lives worse.

Not only was my life not meaningful, not going anywhere, it was actually losing value. And there was no reasoning with me. You couldn't convince me that I was wrong.

I didn't want to hurt myself. I just wanted to disappear. *poof*

Like I'd never existed at all.

I wanted a car accident to happen to me, so people could mourn and move on, like they do when death suddenly takes anyone we love...but I didn't want to cause an accident.

Sadly, the worst part for me in retrospect, I started trying to convince J that he was better off without me. I tried to help him see how I was holding him back from enjoying his life.  I desperately wanted him to enjoy it, but I was sure he couldn't with me around. When he disagreed, I tried to prove it and I got angry and nasty. Looking back I'm so ashamed of how I acted, what I said...I thought it would make it easier for him if I found a way to *poof*.

I thought about hiding in my mom's basement.  It seemed like the best way to disappear less permanently than death. Then, if I cut off all other relationships at least the only person I could hurt was the woman who brought me into this world. I guess I figured she could take it. 

Luckily, it didn't come to that.

Instead it came to trying to get my body's chemicals balanced and eventually feeling started to come back slowly. Good feelings AND bad feelings, which wasn't always pretty.

But then, when people pointed out a rainbow in the sky, I could see a little bit of color again. It's hard to see a rainbow in black and white, and it happened gradually.

But then there was the rainbow, just like they said.

Photo by Maxime Raynal

Photo by Maxime Raynal