It's interesting to me how my writing takes shape--in different forms and phases--and why it turns out that way. When I first started this blog, I wrote regularly; in fact, I wrote nearly nonstop, every day, about all sorts of thoughts both fun and serious. It was supposed to be about my life. But I very soon found it constricting. How do I write about children while keeping their anonymity? How much can I really obsess over Bobby Goren before it becomes a repeat of what I said yesterday? After starting this blog, I began writing fiction. More specifically, fan fiction (if you don't know what that is, google it, and then feel free to laugh, because I sure did). Then I tried my hand at true fiction before realizing I was comfortable writing about the characters I imagined--even if they were slightly based on fictional characters from elsewhere. Following that realization came the idea of starting a blog...one for early childhood teachers and parents of young children. Genius, right? Well, maybe. It depends. Sometimes I feel like writing about the fictional antics of my characters. Some days I feel compelled to write about early childhood issues. And then some days, like today, I feel compelled to write about my life.
The one thing I keep coming back to is the thought that all of this--all of everything--is truly bigger than us. Bigger than you or me or the people of any part of the world. There has to be something or someone that holds it all together. A common thread.
Like many people, I suffer from depression. The last few months have been horrific for me--days I couldn't get out of bed--but I forced myself to write. Sometimes I wrote about ideas people had given me for my blog on early childhood. Sometimes I wrote the dramatic story I've been working on for the last few months. Sometimes I even wrote poems or letters or notes. But I wrote.
Admitting my struggle with depression in a potentially public forum is scary but I think it's necessary. I realize that if a person like me, who looks as though she's got it pretty much together, is falling apart inside, it happens to more people than we realize. Some of us are so good at masking who we are and our feelings that nobody has any idea there is anything wrong until it's too late.
Fortunately I was able to get in to see a doctor who is helping me with medication, and my new job has revived me in a way I hadn't thought possible. It's given me purpose again for a good part of the day, and that means everything. In those darkest moments, on those darkest days not so long ago, I clung to the vow I had made to myself to never leave my children. To never abandon children who had already once been abandoned.
I realize by writing this it may change the ideas that some people have about me; it may frighten others and there's even the possibility it could one day be used against me in court, should we need to fight for custody again. But I feel the darkness of depression that so many people live with needs to be aired and brought into the light. The stigma of the idea that people who suffer from depression are incompetent or selfish needs to be corrected. And the idea that we can identify those who are suffering by their overall mood and expression needs to be corrected.
In a year where I've lost a job I loved, moved halfway across the country, continued to parent an attachment-disordered child, spent months trying to find employment, and watched both of my older parents struggling with illnesses, it would be a miracle if I hadn't experienced depression. That's the reality. The other reality--that depression goes back generations on one side of my family--makes me more susceptible to the illness. Living with that isn't always easy.
And whatever pulls me through it will be bigger. Definitely bigger than me. Bigger than us.