When Depressed, Slow and Steady Wins the Race

06/09/2014 04:44 pm ET | Updated Aug 09, 2014
John Cowie via Getty Images

You know the saying "slow and steady wins the race"? Well, when it comes to depression, at this moment, it is a load of crap. This is where my mind is right now. I have been battling this depression for months, and even though I am starting to feel better, it is too slow for my taste.

I am the type of person who needs things now, not tomorrow, not next week, but right now. When I have a good day (not feeling many depressive symptoms) I get excited and think this is it, I am all better. Unfortunately, that is not how it goes when one recovers from depression. There is no straight line that tracks a straight trajectory to a healthy mind. It ebbs and flows, and that is so unfair. It's sinister, really. You have a good day and really are invested in this good day, only to wake up the next morning tearful and exhausted. Having depression is like a game of yo-yo: up, down, up down. It is tiring physically and emotionally, and this game is not fair. Add a husband and daughter into the mix, and the game becomes even more complicated. I have to be "up" for my daughter and curb my irritability for my husband. Add a full-time job to this and you get a person with depression who has everyday normal stresses, just like everyone else; the only difference is the depression, and this is a big difference.

When will this be over already? That is what I hear in my head when I talk to my husband about what I am going through. Now, he has never said that or anything like that, but I know he wants his wife back. The truth is, I keep asking this question of myself. I don't have an answer for my husband, nor do I have one for myself. I am doing everything I need to be doing: med-compliant, therapy, some exercise. This is all I can do, and yet I want to do more, anything, to move this along so I can return to life... so I can be with friends and feel present with them instead of having my head in a fog. I want to return to my husband and our daughter and really be with them when we are playing princesses and mermaids. I want to return and yet, at the same time, I want to be better than before. I am already so much more aware of my irritability and I am much better at dealing with it now. I want to be a more attentive wife, spend more time with my daughter and just play.

So, while I want this agony to be over, the ups and downs, the crying jags, the forgetfulness, the insomnia, the aloofness, I know that I have to finish this race, respectfully. It's the only way I know how to win this race. I could not win it any other way. My psychiatrist has told me I am a "person of integrity," and I am finally beginning to believe her. I can only conquer this race by continuing to take my meds and actively doing the hard work in therapy. The ups and downs will continue, and I have to simply roll with it. Sometimes this is easier said than done, but there is no other alternative, and I am too invested in myself, my treatment, my family and friends to do any less.

I am not a runner. I simply do not like running. Maybe this will help in my quest to finish this race successfully. I am a walker, and any runner would brush right past me.

Slow and steady wins the race.


Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.