Friday, February 17, 2017

It Is My Damn Box

For years I suffered in silence with my depression. But, to me it wasn't suffering, it "was dealing with it." It was a personal thing, something between me, myself and I. To the world, I put a smile on and trudged forward. Yet, every time I visited my doctor, I did not hide the emotional mess and darkness that I held inside. It came tumbling out like clowns from a small car. Only the sessions and the medications kept me afloat.

Oh, sure I wasn't always smiles and a happy face. Like everyone else, I often showed my family and the public that I was having a "bad day". To them that meant I was "down in dumps", "a little blue", or "sad" about something. Hey, everyone has those days. Move along, nothing to see here.

When my family finally learned the depths of my depression, I felt violated. It was if someone had cut me open and exposed all my inner thoughts, fears, and issues. Suddenly I found myself vulnerable with no privacy. Every frown, plain countenance, and quiet moment was put under a magnifying glass. "Are you OK?" "How do you feel?" "What can I do?"

From my soul there was a primal scream, "Leave me alone." Suddenly I was resentful that the darkness I dealt with was no longer hidden. To me it was Pandora's Box, full of serious issues, problems, fears, and daemons. However, unlike Pandora, curiosity did not tempt me with my box. I knew what was in it and it was all I could do to keep it closed, much less have any desire to face what it contained. As long as I could sit on top of it, shoving any dark feeling or issue back into the box that tried to escape, I was doing OK.

The problem was that I was so busy dealing with my "box" of  darkness that I could not imagine help. It was hard enough to keep the lid shut and the emotions contained in the box. The idea of having to deal with the issues, share my feelings, and attempt to get a hold of this, was in a way more frightening than the darkness itself. Literally, I could not see (nor imagine) the light since I had been in the darkness so long.

Lewis Grizzard, the wickedly funny southern columnist wrote a book entitled, "They Tore Out My Heart and Stomped That Sucker Flat", about his open heart surgery and recovery. I could relate. Facing my depression and the horror of learning how to cope with it, was much akin to having my soul torn out and stomped flat.

Oh, I wasn't embarrassed about my depression. I wasn't in denial about my depression. But it was MY depression. My friends and family now being aware of my condition meant that I could no longer keep the box closed. Oh no, I was going to have to open the box and deal with each daemon as it escaped into the light of day. That was the hard part.

Yes, I am so far better off  than I was. I am blessed to have the love and support from friends and family. I will always deal with my box. Now I know that when the evils and daemons seep out, instead of spending all my time and energy trying to stuff them back in,  I understand I need to spend my energy taking care of myself.

Trying to fight all the dark issues as they escape is a lost cause. Hopefully the box (which will always sit in the corner, quietly rumbling) will stay closed most of the time. And when a daemon or two does seep through a crack, I now have the skills to deal with them in the light of day instead of trying to confine them to the darkness.

I have come a long way and am so much better. All that said, it is my damn box and opening the curtains to let the light in was harder to deal with in many ways, than learning how to manage the box. 

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