At the end of 2017, I wasn't in a great place. I felt overwhelmed, overworked and isolated. I'd reached out to professionals for help but wouldn't commit to making more than one appointment. No one I loved knew what was going on.
My brother was back in town for winter break so I came home for the weekend. He, like my folks, noticed something was really off. I made it a point to distance myself because that's what people often do in misery; they choose to sink deeper. I don't know why, but I know it's dangerous. People in misery aren't exactly rational.
I had just moved into a new apartment a couple of months earlier. No one had really seen it with the exception of my mom, who helped me unpack for a couple of hours.
I hesitantly let my family into my home one December day. They insisted they wanted to see me. I didn't want to deal with it, but I think I was too afraid to admit how much I needed them. Or maybe I just didn't realize I did.
I sat on one of my two yellow barstools, my mom and brother took up the couch and my dad plopped onto the chair.
The conversation began with small talk. I responded to any and all questions with a word or two, and my eyes were glued to my phone.
My brother was not having it. "What's going on?" he asked loudly in a voice of anger and concern. I said I'm fine. Nothing's wrong. But one look at me and you could tell something was up.
The problem was I couldn't figure it out. I couldn't understand why I was feeling this way. Was it the political climate? The people who'd let me down? The fact that I'm no longer in love with my job? Was I missing someone? Something? I don't know. A mixture, maybe? I just don't know.
My family kept asking questions. Is it this? That? This and that and maybe the other thing? I just kept crying. My not having a solid answer seemed to hurt them even more.
Then my mom asked me, "Do you feel like you can't talk to us anymore?" And without realizing it, I said I feel like I couldn't. Not because I don't love them or don't know they love me, but because I just didn't feel like they'd been around. But how could they? How would they even know anything's wrong unless I speak up? We live under different roofs.
My mom doesn't cry much. I think I've seen her tears 4-5 times in my 26 years. She stood up from the couch and walked over to me to hold me. My mom doesn't hold me much either. As a grown adult, I think it's one of those things you don't really think about losing or missing until you feel it again.
I don't think I've ever hurt my mom like that before. I made her believe she had failed as a parent and most importantly, as my best friend, to be there for me. That wasn't my intention. Anyone who knows me knows how important my mother is to me.
But she and I are so different. I wear my heart on my sleeve. I need comfort. She just doesn't, and she's never been an emotional person.
I've realized that we speak in different love languages. To understand her, I just ask, and she answers. To understand me, I think my loved ones have to look much harder. They have to read between the lines and second-guess me anytime I say, "I'm fine." And that's not right. Or fair.
I hated seeing my mom cry. I never want to be the cause of her pain. She is the light of my life.
Now my mom and I chat more, and both my folks ask me (sometimes too often) how I'm feeling. They don't just call to ask about my day or about Lady, but how I'm really feeling. I haven't felt as low as I did back in December since.
As for what exactly was causing my months-long depression, I'm slowly figuring it out. And I'm working on it. I can't emphasize how much bringing this blog back to life has helped.
The #100daychallenge writing series is my way of holding my right brain accountable for all the brain fog in hopes that I'll learn to creatively organize my thoughts and learn something(s) new about myself in the process. The challenge includes prompts from the San Francisco Writers' Grotto's 642 Things to Write About. You can also follow my #100daychallenge here.