Bare (part II)

Friends, will you allow me another brief disclaimer before we dig in? I so appreciate the outpouring of love and concern wrought by yesterday’s post. I feel, though, that I need to make it clear that this is not a cry for help! This is me, sharing a difficult and human journey – the amazing things I learned and how something so scary to me became something I can’t describe as anything but glorious.

Glorious: adjective. Having a striking beauty or splendor that evokes feelings of delighted admiration.

Yes, it has been difficult. Humbling. Occasionally distressing and sometimes comical. But I needed it. I needed this journey because I never would have come to this place of self-understanding without it, and so I am nothing but grateful.

No need for worry. Deal?

Okay, then.
Me: at some point during the year in question

I never thought of myself as an angry person. I have a temper, and patience is not something I’m inherently good at, but I have always been able to come at people and situations from several possible perspectives, and could always find a reason to love. Or at the very least, let live.

I’m very certain that I don’t have a single competitive bone in my body. I usually prefer it if someone else wins at Catan. I get jealous, but not ragingly so. I fall prey to the evil twins Covet and Compare, but I have always enjoyed myself for the weird little freckle-faced kid I’ve always been inside.

I’ve always felt hopeful about the future and about myself, believing all things are possible with a little perspective, elbow grease, and heavenly help. And being your classic introvert, I had my tight inner circle, and never felt the need to belong anywhere outside my own little world.

Basically, I didn’t ‘need people’.

So imagine my confusion and discomfort when suddenly, I was desperate for an ounce of understanding from anyone and everyone. I searched faces, fretted at functions and clung to any small sign that someone might know that I was drowning, and had absolutely no idea why. I think I wanted some glimmer of recognition that I was not just this recognizable robot-person body – that I was really here, somehow. Somewhere locked deep inside. Stepper was screaming somewhere in the deep pit of the abyss that had somehow – and seemingly overnight – taken the place of my once rich inner world. She was in there, and she was pissed because nobody seemed to notice this intruder that was walking around wearing her skin.

Rationally, I knew my people cared about me and would come in a full on run if I called. Help me! I’ve been dropped into the middle of this battle I don’t understand, but I know that I’m losing! Send reinforcements! Bring swords! But my rational self was locked deep inside with the real Stepper. Nobody was coming. I found myself feeling betrayed, and I was constantly on the verge of panic.

I had this horrifying and ever-present question in my mind: where did I go?

And, for the love, why?

I was terrified by what was going on with me. And, because I am human, that fear and desperation turned quickly to anger.

I felt this constant twisting of rage in my gut. As terrible as this was, it was also kind of fascinating to me. Where did all this anger come from? I’d never felt it so fiercely, before. It was a powerful thing. Rational, locked up Stepper knew that it wasn’t real, but Emotional Stepper felt strong and powerful. Unbridled. You can imagine with how helpless I felt otherwise, this was a very heady thing to feel. And I wondered – would this eventually turn me into the Hulk? I wanted to conquer something! But what would I fight? Where was my enemy?

During this time, Bill and I had many conversations about what was happening with me. Bless that man’s constancy and his perseverance. I was so desperate for answers for both our sakes – I wanted him to have his wife back! Not this caricature of an unstable woman. This wasn’t me!

“This isn’t me!” I’d try desperately to explain to him again during yet another late-night break-down. “I’m just gone, and I don’t know where and I don’t know why, but this disgusting shell of a person – this isn’t me!” And then, in a flash of Hulk anger, “I mean, you can see that, right?”

And he’d take my hand, reassuring me so beautifully that even though the rest of my world was sliding away from me, he wasn’t going anywhere. I’d cling to that hand and that promise so tightly I’m sure it had to hurt. And as he tried to assure me that I was still a good and worthwhile person and was not single-handedly ruining our children or our family, and that we would get to the bottom of this, when his eyes brimmed over again with the tears of compassion for me and frustration that desperate as he was to rescue me, he was as helpless as I was – I finally allowed myself to honestly recognize that; okay. I needed help.

Not for the first time, my sweet husband tenderly offered, “Maybe we should get you an appointment to see a therapist?”

I’d resolutely rejected the idea each time he’d suggested it, before. We can’t afford a therapist. When would I have the time? I’m not that bad – it’s not like I’m suicidal! They’ll try to put my on scary drugs!

The truth was: I wanted to be strong enough.

But even though he was too kind and I was too scared to admit it, we both knew what depression looked like. And for some reason, on this night, it became abundantly clear to me that time and conversation was not helping. This was not something we could handle on our own.

So for the first time since it came up, I finally surrendered to reality and said, “Okay.”

It was almost like the entire world breathed a sigh of relief. “Okay…” he said.

“Okay,” I said. “But YOU have to make the call.”

I was far too freaked out!

We did a bit of research, Bill called, and I had an appointment for later that week.

(I hear the pitter patter of tiny feet signaling nap time is over, so...)

…to be continued…


Jacob Thomas said...

I am amazed at your honesty, that is all.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing Stepper. I went through a low period once.. (ok, probably more than once - I am old you know:)) Some times one needs to up their endorphins, check the hormones, check the brain chemicals, etc. and by an act of will (feelings don't always cooperate) "put on the garment of praise". If there is an opportunity to run or jog, it gives more oxygen to the brain cells & can result in a "runner's high".
Know that you are not alone and it will be better:) Hugs from Granny Wiser

Anne said...

Stepper you are awesome! Thanks for sharing. I have had a lot of similar feelings for different reasons but its been good for me to read this.

Anonymous said...

Stepper, thank you for sharing. I am heartbroken I wasn't there for you during all this. As you know I have battled depression many times in various forms since Jr High with varying degrees of success. I am so glad that you have Bill and all of his loving support. Having that is a huge gift. I am also so grateful that you were willing to seek professional help before it got dangerous! I love you so much and my heart breaks for the suffering you have endured as I feel that dealing with a war within yourself is incredibly difficult. I know you are an incredibly private person but if you want to talk please know I'm here for you. Love you! -Chim

SuzQuez said...

I think the world is a dark place that we can't see, but we feel. I believe that's why so many LDS women are on antidepressants. They help me immensely. I've used them through pregnancies and breastfeeding. I got mad one day and that started my collapse. I couldn't fix food or wash dishes. All I could do was just lay in the sun and cry. It's not fun at all, is it? Susan