depression during the holidays is an emotional oxymoron.
there have been plenty of times i’ve spent with my family during a holiday when i attended as faux-dawni. pretend smile and pretend laugh. while the deviant chatter rattled along in my head. “turkey, i’m eating turkey. mmmmm, with gravy. salty, meaty, graaaayyyvveeee…. cranberry sauce. concentrate on the cranberry sauce. look. there are two kinds of cranberry sauce – jelly and the one with whole cranberries in it.” regardless of attempting the attempts to drown out the chatter in forced ‘now’ thoughts. thoughts involving ‘the outside world’. the negative voice of depression carried on. yelled louder. as white noise. incessant.
black noise. an incessant black noise.
looking back at these gloomy christmases and hazy thanksgivings, i wonder how much of the time i spent pretending. how often i faked it. being ok. feeling ok. enjoying family time. inserting utterances into conversations here and there so as to uphold my festive facade. yaaaaaay! christmas cheer. and all that pepperminty good stuff! stockings! … and things… ! (!)
it wasn’t until recently that i realized. for how long i had heard the black noise. it began at a much younger age. i didn’t recognize it as something separate from myself. i didn’t know. i was a child. a teen. shy. i hadn’t yet learned the language of emotion. it was an heft that i carried with me. from one school to the next. one country to the next. one peer group. to no peer group. to the next. one growing-up-me to the next. i didn’t know.
i hurt. i felt lonely. i thought it was a part of who i was. my personality. i didn’t know depression. i didn’t know it as a damp and heavy cloak. unforgiving. merciless. heartless, really. depression snuck its way into my life. probably via my ears. depression is stealthy in that way. from there i carried it and its morose minions around. i carried tension in my bones. fear in my muscles. clenched its jagged silence in my teeth.
i’ve often wondered what my younger years would have been if we had been introduced – depression and i. what would my adolescent years have been like? if i knew it wasn’t me. but an entity that could be extracted from my experience. that it had a different name than mine. that the load could be lighter. much lighter.
i don’t circle back to these memories and thoughts to wade in them. i don’t do this to wallow. i’m not sending an evite to my pity-party. i surface these thoughts and memories back to support my now. to understand how and when depression first spoke to me. when did i begin to hear the black noise? how has it affected my little me? i want to understand its impact. its tricks. its snarky siren calls. its selfishness. i do it to support my now. i do it to introduce it to my little me. i want my little me to know.