Day By Day (Essay)
Words by Tania Peralta.
Hysterical and distraught. I keep saying what I’m thinking, and I don’t mean for it to come out as a threat or a cry for help, it’s just that I feel like dying. I’m halfway there, but the thought of them finding my dead body and the things that they’ll tell my daughter or what she’ll have to go through, well, that gives me even more anxiety, consequently saving my life.
A couple of hours later and I’m playing 21 questions with yet another doctor. They all want to know how it got this bad. Where do I even begin? What started my breakdown today wasn’t what started one yesterday, nor what will start one tomorrow. Depression is like an old friend of mine. It comes back every time with new information. I feel bad for even being here because I’d never actually kill myself. I don’t feel comfortable telling the whole truth either, so I feel as if I’m wasting their time when they could be with other patients. It’s bad enough I’m a suicidal mother. This automatically makes me selfish. They’re worried and I’m scared.
I write it down and it’s nothing big. It isn’t one or three things. It’s a bunch of little things. It’s the process of getting all these little things done each and every single day before the sun goes down and my demons wake up. It’s the process of managing my expectations so that my anxiety won’t tamper with my breathing, so that I can get through the transitions in my relationship and the never ending battle of trying to find a healthy balance between loving, being loved, being a good mother, and taking care of myself.
I am exhausted everyday. I am worried everyday. I don’t know how to have fun anymore. My happy moments are plagued with background whispers of the latest so called tragedy I’m recovering from. I try to stick to routines so that there are less chances of surprises or unexpected problems, but the routines themselves are suffocating. I want to be a good lover and I want to be loved. I want to have fun with my daughter and on my own. I want to be a good writer and progress. But, it’s nearly impossible to do all these things at once. When I excel at one thing, another often suffers.
My depression is often uncontrollable. At times, when nothing is wrong I feel it creeping in. I have to get out into the air and change my view before it causes more damage. Other times, it’s invited in by disappointment. Figuring out the difference between these two scenarios has saved me.
Depression is the force that keeps me from loving, being loved, and loving myself freely. In managing my expectations, I’ve found the strength to rationalize with the disappointments that trigger my depression. In learning and unlearning, I’ve been able to heal and understand not only my own needs and wants, but also the needs and wants of those around me, and how they affect one another.
Understanding where I have the power to control something, and where I don’t, has brought me peace and has freed me from the same irrational expectations that trigger my depressive moods.
It is a daily process. I start with day one, day two, day three and so forth, of not breaking down, being triggered, and overcoming. On days like today, I relapse and I’m screaming again, but I am always stronger. Tomorrow, I’ll start day one again with a reminder of my needs and wants, the needs and wants of those around me, and how all those things affect one another.
If you or someone you know is in crisis or needs someone to talk to, we encourage you to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit Suicide Prevention Lifeline.