Did I mention we’re living here in the mountains for three months? That’s the length of a travel R.N. assignment, and as Mike and I take stock of life here, we’ve discussed the possibility of staying for another assignment. While experiencing ‘real’ seasons and the adventures of living in a new place make this chance (if the hospital needs a travel nurse that long) very appealing, there’s one factor that has made me question whether it’s a good idea.
You see, we live on a precipice. No, I’m not talking about the mountains. I brought this drop-off with me, and I’m talking about depression.
Depression makes living in a small apartment through a single grey month of potential snow and ice seem like a really, really bad idea. Running back to what I’m used to seems smart. I have three children. I’m homeschooling two of them. The apartment has one window. It used to be hard to function with two days of no sunshine back in the Sunshine State. The math doesn’t look too pretty here.
Of course, being cooped up would be difficult for most, I imagine; and depression is more common than we may know. In all honesty, this post originally contained a lot more raw details. I deleted them, I guess because there’s only so much help that staring into the abyss can provide. But, if you’re struggling with depression, will you still believe me when I say you’re not alone? Shutting down, wanting to sleep all day, difficulty moving, feelings of guilt and futility- I know them. They’re what make me feel less like a lithe figure in white navigating the narrow path and more like a shrunken, shriveled figure garbed in grey barely crawling firward an inch at a time. Sometimes, we are frozen for days. Or months. Or years.
But the thing is, like any exercise, no matter how many times you fall, freeze, or slide backwards, you can still get up again. My muscles are sore this week, but I know it’s because I’ve used them. I may have climbed only a few inches, but it’s still progress.
So, even though I’ll probably always live in danger of falling off the edge, it doesn’t have to keep me bound up in fear. I may bring this drop off with me wherever I go, but that doesn’t mean I can’t learn to enjoy the view. Taking risks is how we grow and learn and change. I hope we can stay here long enough for us all to experience more of this.
If you struggle with depression, no matter where on the scale you may be, you can be brave and take a little step. No step is too small as to be insignificant. Who knows how rewarding the view will be unless we climb?
P.S. If you struggle with depression and feel debilitated or endangered, please get help. You are so very worth it. The effort might be Herculean, but you don’t have to go through this alone.