Saturday, January 14, 2012

Reading and Depression

I started reading the Baby Sitter's Little Sister when I was seven, and after that, I grew hungry for more. I remember I was the only kid happy because a Goosebumps book was dropped in my trick or treat bag on the following Halloween. Eager to support this, my mom signed me up with the Baby Sitter's Club and I would read through the series with abnormal speed. After that I sought books in the school library. I never let genre get in my way when I was on a mission. As I grew, and when times would get hard, my first reaction was to dive head first into a book. 
To those of you who don't know, I have depression. I was "diagnosed" it in 2009. From the ranged topics on my blog and occasionally on my YouTube channel, it is probably obvious that I don't have my shit together. But upon really looking at my blog and a reflection of the past year, I can see how scattered I truly am. It is only recently that I have found some form of courage to come out of the dark cubby hole and share this obvious fact with the world. But this is more than just me telling the world what I live with- this is me telling myself that I am still shroud in this darkness.

The way I coped with depression when I was younger was to drown myself in a book and refused to surface for air until I felt better. I didn't read the Harry Potter series- I lived them. I cried with them, I prayed with them, I fought with them, and I died with them. When things got tough in the real world I knew I could escape and find refuge upon the many pages. Harry's fight for survival gave me strength to fight my own demons, no matter how powerful they were.

I also had my best friend Pat, who I knew I could share my ache with. And I could pour everything out to her, leaving nothing behind. But to share it, to talk about it- it makes it harder to ignore when you're alone, harder to escape from the crushing sadness when you lay down for bed. Anyone with depression can tell you that the weight of it is paralyzing. And I would seek Harry's world again, saving Buckbeak and fighting off Dementors. I cheered him during his Quidditch matches and scowled at meaningless taunts by Snape. I needed Harry to fight off the darkness in his world so he could fight mine as well. And for a while, it worked.

As years came and gone, I got caught up in completing high school, work and the life of an adult. I surrounded myself with my religion, my belief of Paganism. I remember my mother's only schooling about God to me was that when I needed Him, He would be there. So I sought my Goddess and God for comfort, and I fought back the depression with anti-depressants and mood stabilizers prescribed by my PCP. And I still have some demons, still that darkness creeps up to strike me down when I am not watching.

There are days when it feels impossible to get out of bed, to take in a breath and live. There are days (like today) when I have the energy I need to get through the day, to put on a smile and mean it. To live each and every moment as if it would be my last. The terror about depression is the darkness is inside of you working its way out. It changes your actions, creates a different person and causes you to feel isolated and alone.  There are times when I feel like a stranger among my own thoughts.

I am seeking the peace that a good book used to give. I haven't challenged myself to do much since I graduated, and this year I can see I need a goal to complete. I joined Goodreads and have set myself up a 50 book challenge for 2012. I am attempting to earn back the tittle of "Bookworm" as well as finding a way to cope with this never ending battle with Depression.

“Fairy tales are more than true; 
not because they tell us that dragons exist, 
but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” 
― G.K. Chesterton

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