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Dedicated to Depression

Five years ago I read Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love with the kind of voracity and appetite I used once upon a time to devour Baby Sitter’s Club books. There was one passage in the memoir that really spoke to me the first time I read it.

Gilbert is in Italy and she talks about depression being a physical presence in her life, tangible almost, following her home in the evenings, sitting in the chair in her bedroom. This shadow in her life she can’t seem to shake.

When I read that part of her story, I felt that. I felt those words. I remembered the times I was alone but not alone. And this was all before I had Joshua and postpartum depression entered my life.

Since reading that novel, I’ve sort of looked at Depression (capital D, proper noun) as an old lover. An unhealthy relationship I knew I shouldn’t be in but felt powerless to get out of. Depression has taught me what I’m capable of, how strong I am, so for that, I owe it a certain amount of thanks, I guess. But I don’t long for the days when we were together.

About eight months ago I heard this song on the radio and I was moved by its haunting melody and lyrics. The moody sadness that ran as an undercurrent through the song. I loved it. Instantly. Madly. Loved the song. And then I couldn’t remember what the song was.

Until recently.

The song has been in heavy rotation on the stations of my XM Radio. I hear it everywhere I go and I’m in love with its beauty. And oddly comforted by its quiet power. And then I started really paying attention to it and listening with my heart through the lens of postpartum depression and my recovery.

I know I can’t take one more step towards you
Cause all that’s waiting is regret
And don’t you know I’m not your ghost anymore?
You lost the love
I loved the most

There’s a constant push-pull with postpartum depression, just like the push-pull of an unhealthy relationship. When I feel myself falling back into that bit of despair, I have to sometimes consciously pull myself away. Despair is easy. Depression, being depressed, is easy. Being in the relationship you know is bad for you is easy.

It’s hard and courageous and exhausting to take every ounce of my being and rebel against it and say “I’m not your ghost anymore.

I learned to live, half-alive
And now you want me one more time

I don’t even know if those two lines could more accurately describe and define what it’s like to try to live with postpartum depression. With Depression. I don’t want to live half a life again. None of the mothers I know want to live half alive.

And there again is that push-pull. That back-and-forth.

Who do you think you are?
Runnin’ round leaving scars
Collecting your jar of hearts
And tearing love apart
You’re gonna catch a cold
From the ice inside your soul
So don’t come back for me
Who do you think you are?

This is it.

This is Depression personified.

Seemingly all-powerful, greedy to collect the hearts and happiness of those it seeks to destroy. Cold. Angry. Painful. Mean-spirited. Not caring who is destroyed in the process.

I hear you’re asking all around
If I am anywhere to be found
But I have grown too strong
To ever fall back in your arms

And I learned to live, half-alive
And now you want me one more time

Because I feel better–whole–now, I feel like Depression is waiting around a corner, checking up on me. Seeking for an opportunity to sneak back into my life.

Knowing that I have a history of depression and now postpartum depression, the idea of going through this battle again with a future child is daunting. Absolutely gut-wrenchingly daunting.

And yet I must cling to the hope that I HAVE grown too strong. That I can beat this. Again. Or a thousand times over again. That I and my family are worth it. That our dreams are worth it.

Dear, it took so long just to feel alright
Remember how to put back the light in my eyes
I wish I had missed the first time that we kissed
Cause you broke all your promises
And now you’re back
You don’t get to get me back

It has taken so long to feel normal. To feel good. To feel like me.

And there IS a light in my eyes now. And in my heart. There is joy in my soul again.

Depression doesn’t get to get me back. Even if it does come back the next time around.

Next time, I’m ready.

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Sunday 17th of April 2011


Just knocked chair over..


Sunday 17th of April 2011

Glad you liked it!


Friday 8th of April 2011

Wow....this is so perfectly worded.

My PPD was so bad with my first that when I came out I felt like I had finally woken up. Now with my third, a year after a miscarriage I am teetering on the edge and I feel that pull and you are right it is so easy, SO much easier to just fall in and let it encompass me...

Thank you


Wednesday 6th of April 2011

Thank you! When I can't find the words to explain how I am feeling you placed them! Thank you!!


Wednesday 6th of April 2011

You're welcome!


Wednesday 6th of April 2011

I was first diagnosed with depression (and anxiety) when I was 15, but I'm certain that I had it since at least age 13. It's so hard to explain to someone who has never lived with it, and even sometimes when talking to others who have had it because our experiences all differ so much.


Wednesday 6th of April 2011

You're right. It is. It's totally hard to explain to anyone. Depression is so personal, you know? But I think we owe it to ourselves and to others who may not know what to call what they're feeling to talk about it. To start a dialogue and let people know there's help if they need and want it.


Wednesday 6th of April 2011

Boom goes the dynamite.

This is lovely.

And you are so right. Depression is a total creeper that won't go away. Can we get a restraining order?


Wednesday 6th of April 2011

BOOM indeed. And yes, a restraining order sounds fab.

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