Today, I cried. I cried yesterday. I cried the day before that. In the past week, I have cried at least once a day. No particular reasons, just mid-thought, mid-text, mid-song, mid-sentence my eyes prickle, as the tears form, my throat thickens and feels tight, and I cry.
Today, I was tired. I was tired yesterday. I was tired the day before that. In the past week, I have been tired most of the day. Bone tired. Brain burning, exhausted, sleep on the train tired.
Today, I had a headache. I had a headache yesterday. I had a headache the day before that. In the past week, I have had a headache nearly every day. An ice pick through my eye, neck tightening, pulsing headache.
No. No. No, there is nothing wrong. Things are getting better. My husband is healing. My kids are happier. I work for a non-profit doing good work, with a team of bright, brilliant women across the country. I have not been hiding in my bed. I went dancing with my friends. I went to a meditative soundbath with another friend. I have done yoga. I have spent time with my kids. I have eaten healthful foods. I have gone for walks. I have prayed. I have journaled. I have worked. I have read. I have taken my meds. I have done all the things that a person is supposed to do to stave off depression.
And yet. And yet, today I cried. Today, I was tired. Today, I had a headache. Today, I am listening to sad songs and cannot sleep. Today, I feel exhausted to the very marrow of my body. My medications are doing their jobs, but I am depressed. My antidepressant is no match for the soul searing hole that is depression. My antidepressant keeps me from dying in that hole, but it cannot keep me out. This depression feels familiar. It is not by any means welcome, but it is familiar. It slipped through the door that was left open when the grief came in.
My grief showed up unannounced last weekend. It knocked and without thinking, I let it in. Last weekend, I recognized that grief needed to come in for me to heal. To heal from a year of pain and fear. To heal from so many losses. To heal from the relief that I did not lose my best friend in the process. To rebuild a new, stronger life. As I sat with my friends, the tears began to burn and I escaped to the bathroom, recognizing that grief and depression had both made their presence known. After making my goodbyes, I sat in my car and sobbed. I sobbed and I sobbed until I did not think I could sob anymore.
The headache crept in after the sobbing, making the most of the opportunity to burrow into my brain. The headache allowed grief and depression to take the foreground, while it sat back and created a visual of an ice pick stabbed through my left temple as a means of relieving the pressure.
The headache. The grief. The depression. The fatigue. I know them all, and though I do not love them, I am too tired to fight them. I will sit with them, and I will accept them for a while, because what else can I do? Fighting them off will not send them away. Fighting them off will cause more tears. Fighting them off will cause more frustration. Fighting them off will not keep them at bay, it will just reinforce the false narrative in my head that I should feel ashamed and I should keep holding myself together. I can’t. I can’t hold myself together anymore right now.
So today, I cried. Today, I was tired. Today, I had a headache. Today, I listened to sad country songs. Today, I acknowledged that I will be bringing grief and depression around with me for a while. Today, I told myself to be kind to myself. Today, I decided to do my best, and to forgive myself when my best is not the best. Today, I recognized that I will continue to take my meds, and go to yoga, and talk to my friends, and call my mom, and hug my kids, and feel grateful for my husband’s returning health. Today, I accepted that even with all of these interventions, I am depressed, I am grieving, and I am not ok. Today, I accepted that while I am not ok right now, I will be.
I will be. But not today.