The last time I wrote a blog post was five months ago. I could say it's because I went on an epic 5,000 mile journey with my family this summer. I could say it was because I am back in school this semester and have been too busy.
But I don't think that's it.
A month ago I went to my therapist like I have been doing for two years (after I finally started to work on some trauma that was bubbling up like an angry, crusty blackhead) and I told her I how I felt like I was in a fog. It is a struggle to wake up. When I drink two Americanos I still feel like I could go to sleep at any time. I feel like I am disappointing everyone. She asked me some questions and followed with, "Lauren, I think you have clinical depression." I have no idea why this was such a shock to me.
For a while, I had been having some really low bouts. One time I wrote in my journal,
I can't eat food, I can only abuse myself with it. I don't want to watch poetry videos. I hate brilliant people. Especially brilliant women. I don't want to listen to happy music. I don't want to listen to sad music. I've been looking up things to make me happy and I hate all the things. I went outside and the wind made me cry. I didn't take a picture of the dead insect in the hallway.
But I've always had low periods. When I was a teenager my grandmother asked why I smoked pot when I was already natural sedated. When I get in arguments, I want to go to sleep. Plus things have just been kind of hard lately. My grandmother has been dying for four years. My uncle died of a heart attack last year. My grandfather died of lung cancer just before my grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. It must be the new moon. It must be my hormones. Maybe I need to have my thyroid checked. I just need to power through. I need to stop eating carbs. No more bread. Everything is great in my life, I can't possibly be depressed.
I say all that to hear myself say it. To read it in black and white and notice how bizarre it sounds. I know it doesn't have anything to do with how great your life is. Rachel Maddow has depression, for goddess sake. Kid Cudi came out about it. (A major inspiration for this post.) People with extraordinarily beautiful lives have fucked up brain chemistry. It is honestly a relief to know it doesn't have to be so hard.
Basically, I've been on anti-depressants for a month now and I am amazed at the difference. It's a balancing act, of course, but I already feel like I can manage things better. I've been writing every day. I've been eating healthier, exercising more. More importantly, my brain chatter has quieted. The stuff about what a disappointment I am, is just a faint whisper. I am not a failure. Not for messing up, not for taking medicine, not for having an imbalanced brain. In fact, I am proud of myself for finally prioritizing myself enough to get help. Also, shout out to Obama for giving me health insurance for the first time in my independent artist life. Shout out to you for taking the time to read this and for every ounce of compassion you have shown yourself today. Let's keep holding each other.