Some mornings I wake up to find that Depression has snuck into my bedroom and wrapped his arms around me at night, refusing to let go. I'm too tired or too overwhelmed to kick him out, so I welcome him. I let him disrupt my life, even though I know he's not good for me, even though I know that I need to be strong and stand my ground.
Depression is the boyfriend who parties all night, stumbles up the stairs and, with alcohol on his breath and the smell of smoke on his clothes, manages to envelope me knowing I will let him stay, even with all of his indiscretions.
Depression sleeps late and coaxes me into staying in bed with him, promising me a relaxing day of eating Cheetos, drinking coffee and watching back-to-back episodes of NCIS, even though I hate the taste of Cheetos, coffee makes me jittery and TV gives me headaches. I should be at work, or outside, or at the yoga studio, or meeting with friends, or fully present with my daughter and husband -- but on these days, Depression inevitably wins.
It's not that I don't see Depression coming. We've been in this relationship since we were kids. I know him well. He's the increased agitation, the raising of my voice, the little bumps in the road that become huge obstacles. He disrupts my schedule, makes me forget appointments, causes me to lose my keys, my wallet, my mind... He's what makes the laundry pile up, the workload seem overwhelming, the stacks of paper to remain untouched, the emails unanswered.
Because of this I feel guilty. Why do I let him back into my life? Why don't I stop him before he gets too close? Depression knows this about me and he exploits my weakness. He encourages the guilt I feel about letting him come back repeatedly. He tells me I'll never be able to give him up, I'll never move on, that if I was a stronger woman, I'd be able to let him go.
Depression knows that I blame myself for letting him seep into my life again and he twists my heart and my soul and sucks the life out of me for as long as he possibly can, until I can't take him anymore, until I reach out for help, until I start taking care of myself again, until I stop giving him all of my energy.
It's then that I finally let Depression go. Sometimes I'm aggressive and kick him to the curb with a force he can't combat. Most of the time though, he leaves slowly, quietly, without any fanfare but with the smug satisfaction of knowing that he'll come back, and when he does, I will welcome him once again.