There’s a drip in my roof, it’s crying down on me. There’s nothing I can do, for I have run out of buckets! There are good days and bad, sometimes the skies are clear, the rain stops and for a moment, the sun shines through. Other times the heavens open, and cry tear upon tear. The cries can fill the entire room, and sometimes I feel like I’m drowning. I fear the roof may never be fixed, and I will be forever catching tears! One day the roof might come crashing down, destroying me, in the process.
Okay, so I haven’t really got a hole in my roof, but sometimes it feels like it. The hole I refer to, in my story, is depression. Having suffered from depression, more times than I can count, I know only too well, how challenging it can be. However, it wasn’t until my husband became depressed when I realised how truly detrimental living with this illness, could be. You see, those holes in the roof leak melancholy upon everyone under it. Depression is contagious, if you’re around it for too long, you’ll be sure to catch it. Suddenly, there were two big storm clouds hanging over us.
When there are holes in the roof, cracks begin to form. They slowly creep over every imperfection, each line gives birth to another, drawing maps upon the wall, as lost as we have become. Problem after problem, it’s no wonder we can feel overwhelmed. Once the downward spiral begins, it’s hard to bring it to a halt. The ‘snowball’ effect takes over. How can you stop something you have no control over? If the sufferers themselves can’t stop the depression, how the heck can the non-sufferer?
The answer is, they CANT. However, they can help. Now, I may have run out of buckets, but surely, the buckets were only a temporary solution. It was only a matter of time before the buckets would overflow. I would offer my husband advice by the bucketful. Why don’t you do this? Why don’t you do that? Only to find, there were no quick fixes. It’s only natural to want to ‘fix’ your loved ones problems. If life were so easy, wouldn’t we all be buying buckets? In reality, there are no quick-fix solutions. I soon realised that I wasn’t helping at all, in fact, I was only making things worse.
As the clouds darkened and the skies opened up, I became helpless. The walls were closing in, and the cracks had wrapped their way around me. I lay paralysed in their grasp, wishing for the sky to clear…wishing for the sun to break through. The truth is, it was going to take a long time to untangle ourselves from this mess. When someone has a problem, our natural response is “let’s fix it”. Sometimes, the depression can be fixed. It usually takes time, and a lot of work, but the problem can be resolved. Other times, depression can’t be fixed. However, this doesn’t mean the roof is going to cave in on us. You can learn to live with it. You can learn to sail through the stormy seas and embrace the moments when the tears have dried, and you can see the rainbow once again.
Your depression might not be the hole-infested roof I describe. It might be a dark cloud hanging over you, it could be a black dog following your every move, sadness in its eyes. It might be a persistent toothache or a darker shade of blue. However, depression presents itself in your life. One thing remains for certain, depression is destructive. Not only does it cause people to experience low moods, loss of pleasure, feelings of guilt and poor self-worth (just to name a few!), it can change the whole dynamics of a relationship. It can transform a relationship, as solid as a rock, into one that is as fragile as sugar-glass.
It’s taken me a long time to come to terms with; living with depression. At times I felt overwhelmed, the light at the end of the tunnel was no longer. There were occasions when I felt like I couldn’t go on, the damage had been done, it was unrepairable. Everything I did, resulted in more destruction. I was helpless. One day, I took a step back from all the rubble and despair. I began to see things in a different light. Suddenly, I could see beyond the debris of depression. We took a hammer to that roof, and now all that’s left is one big hole. And yes, sometimes it rains down hard on us, but sometimes, the sun shines through, and, in that moment, depression is nothing but a distant memory.
You, me and our future.