How do you do it? How do you move somewhere far, far away surrounded by complete strangers and attempt to help them get to know you for who you really are when who you really are isn't quite there at the moment? How do you tell someone that at the moment you have this dark, gloomy cloud hanging over your head, but it isn't you, and it's just this small and sometimes large piece of who you are called depression?
I keep thinking about this, especially as it seems that my dark cloud is intruding more of my day, not just the evenings like it has been the last several weeks. I know I'll be okay; I just don't know how I'll do it yet.
How do you tell that first person that this is your struggle? How do you know who is "safe" to tell and who just won't get it? How do you know who else is silently struggling and wishing for someone to understand, someone to be a friend, when all of this is such a hidden pain?
My mind keeps turning back to when we first moved to Iowa. It was such a hard move on me. I was convinced that I was the only person in the whole state who struggled with depression. (Yes, I really did think that ridiculous thought.) Come to find out there were people all around me who understood and had felt the same pain, but I didn't know that at first. So I hid it, kept it to myself, and attempted to bury it deep, but it got worse and led to the very first time when I really thought there was no hope. It was a terrifying, exhausting time that I don't want to repeat.
In some ways, things are different now. I've opened up way more now than I ever did before we moved to Iowa, mostly thanks to this blog which has allowed me to write freely and openly with less fear of how I'll be received. I've learned to not be ashamed of mental illness, as it is a struggle just like any physical struggle. My eyes have been opened to just how many people struggle with this darkness, even people I never would have expected. I've learned that speaking up blesses me as well as those around me who need to know that they are not alone.
But how do you do it? How do you take that first big, scary step of telling someone? How do you swallow the fear that they might judge you for it or think it's your husband's fault or never see past it to who you really are? How do you bring up something that so many people feel awkward talking about, including me sometimes when I realize that the other person feels uncomfortable?
I don't have any answers, and the thought of leaving all the wonderful people who understand and love all of me seems overwhelming. I know I'll be fine somehow. I just wish I didn't have to start over.