Sorry For The Things I Did When I Was Trying Not To Die

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Something smells weird in my house. It could be the wet dogs, running in and out of the dog door with abandon. Or it could be the laundry pile I can see through the kitchen from my seat at the dining room table; the laundry pile that reaches to the bottom of an antique painting of a woman playing piano looking pristine and calm. She’s an almost insulting opposition to the room she inhabits…

Sorry for the Things I Did When I Was Not Trying to DieI’m sorry for the things I did when I was trying not to die.

At best, the depression naps, the withdrawing from friends, family, clients. The housework neglected, the trips to Wal-Mart to get my kids clothes to wear because I couldn’t make myself do laundry and this just seemed…easier. At worst, the day I pulled into my driveway and opened the door to my garage that doubles as a workshop for my business, looking at the piles of furniture and vintage treasure, and wishing I could summon the energy to clean out just enough space for my car to fit. Neatly, door down, engine running. So tired. Too tired. But too stuck to move…

Most people who suffer from depression know what I’m talking about all too well. Once you’re no longer down, once you’ve gotten help and begin to come back to earth again, once you adjust your meds and talk to your provider…the cleanup begins. Usually, just as in my case, the cleanup is nearly as daunting as the depressive episode itself. Buried under mess, under tasks left undone, under obligations you “flaked” on, events you didn’t attend, people you lashed out at…

I’m sorry for what I did when I was trying not to die.

The cleanup extends to apologies, to absences you can’t account for, to chunks of time where you had over 50 text notifications and couldn’t make yourself even open one. It adds to the anxiety I’m trying so hard to quell. Like going on vacation then coming back home and realizing you’ll be “paying” for your time off in extra chores…except I wasn’t at some far flung locale; I was on my couch watching The Great British Baking Show over and over and over. I didn’t realize how much work piles up if you can’t make yourself do it. I didn’t realize how many people I interacted with daily — weekly — monthly — until all I could do was move from bed to couch and back again while my kids were at school.

I’m sorry for what I did when I was trying not to die.

Depression is frustrating, or at least it is in my case, because from the outside looking in, I have so very little to be depressed over. Unfortunately, brains don’t work like that. And this too escalates the cycle. A self-proclaimed mental health advocate who used to make weekly videos detailing her medication journey for others, is just trying to keep her head above water; the hypocrisy burning in my insides, nagging, validating the imposter syndrome I fought off in this and other areas for so long. Knowing you need to shout for grace from anyone you may encounter, but not having the energy to explain why. Wondering if my kids know I’m so deeply unwell. Wondering if they look into my dead, hollow eyes and see a struggle that will scare them and bring trauma later in life…

I’m sorry for what I did when I was trying not to die.

Thankfully now my meds are adjusted. My treatment plan is updated. My work schedule once again seems bearable and feasible. I want to socialize again. Most everything in my house is in order (save for the laundry that feels like a constant companion). Slowly but surely, a fog that began to settle in October, obstructing and obscuring my reality, began to lift several weeks ago leaving in its absence a gradual desire to be whole again and to fix the things that tore me into unrecognizable shreds. But in its wake, I am left catching up…explaining…making amends…sorting through things that no longer serve me…finding new things that will…

I’m sorry for what I did when I was trying not to die. I’m not sorry that I so deeply want to live again.

*If you or someone you love is struggling with mental health or thoughts of suicide call the National Suicide Prevention Line at 800-273-8255 or use the chat feature at suicidepreventionlifeline.org. Additionally, I have found online therapy providers like Better Help, Talk Space, and Cerebral to be incredibly helpful when everything feels like too much and leaving my house to go to an in-person visit felt too daunting.

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Mama to Maddox, Walker and Finn plus three unruly dogs: Nick Carraway, Ladybird, and Charlotte. Owner of Nest, a custom painting and furniture restoration business run out of my SoKno home. I've written for Knox Moms since 2014, and have also written for The Dollywood Company, Her View From Home, and Today.com. I'm a recovering type-a personality, overcaffinated, sleep with too many pillows, am a better person near water, and love a good British period drama or anything about gruesome true crime. I'm going to die trying to pet something I shouldn't or lifting furniture I have no business lifting, and am a firm believer in convenience meals. Probably a top contender for the title of World's Okayest Mom.

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