Five years is a long time to live stuck in your head and cut off from the world, without being able to reach out to anyone.
There are many things we don’t do anymore. Food and health care have been included. Our house has a lot of empty space. We exist, but we don’t live. We haven’t had a social life in five years. The so-called Holiday Season has been happening to other people, but rarely to us. Our marriage is groaning under the strain and has been on life support for a long time, the antithesis of joy. I have yet to access therapy and thus support, so this sounds extreme. I can’t afford the co-pays because my household is already stretched to breaking point and I have insurance.
Writing is a way of flipping the bird at adversity and regaining a little agency. We feel let down by the other. We are on the same page. If I write so much about depression, it is to try and instill some understanding in those who have never experienced it and see it as a choice. It would be perverse to choose to live in a world where shelter and food are not guaranteed, never mind anything else. Why would anyone do this to themselves?
This has made everything else in my life meaningless. I haven’t seen my father or mother in two years. Although we have been married for over five years, my family has never met my husband. It occurs to me that it is horrible.
Writing has come to represent the ability to see my family again. I will have to live with the fact that I abandoned my father when he needed me the most, unless I make this airfare happen myself. My stepmom is undergoing treatment for stage 4 breast cancer and my dad is her sole care giver.
My best friend died at the end of September and the page has become my only contact. There are very few conversations in my house. Our life is not good for open-hearted talk anymore. Our exchanges are wooden and guarded. I quickly realized that anything I said could be misinterpreted. The low hum of distrust and hiss of resentment can be heard in our silences, ready to pounce whenever vulnerability arises. Writing is a way to articulate what has been going on inside and keeping me sick.
I made the mistake of pretending I was strong. I made the mistake of giving up my authority. I have paid for my writing voice and mental health mistakes.