Battling depression not uncommon

By Anita Doberman: CNJ columnist

I’ve tried writing this column many times. I really wanted to come up with something clever to say, or a comment about all that’s going on. But I find myself unable to.

I ran through my list of controversial topics to discuss, but even in my present state, the excitement of seeing the first African-American man elected as president has reminded me that things can and do change, and I don’t want to talk about something even remotely negative.

Despite this excitement for the country, and for the possibilities that lie ahead, my own personal life feels upside down. Let me be more eloquent. I feel like crap. And that isn’t an exaggeration. It’s as if a wall has been erected between me and those around me, one that I can only see, but one that stands in my way nonetheless.

Fortunately, and unfortunately, I am aware of my condition: I am depressed.

More accurately, I think I am a functional depressed woman. I complete all of my assigned tasks efficiently. I take care of the kids and help them with school and activities. I cook and clean (OK, that I never really did so well), and manage to keep up with the laundry. I pay the bills and keep the house going while my husband is off doing his Ninja duties. My mind seems to be working fine. My thoughts are there; but my heart is distressed. There is a pervasive sense of gloom. Sadness has become a constant companion. During the day it travels with me wherever I go, and at night it keeps me awake.

Sometimes I think that if I were a genius or famous artist, at least I could blame it on my creative and sharp mind. But no such luck. I am a mom, a writer and a military wife who’s simply having a hard time.

People around me don’t seem to notice except for asking if I am sick, or more tired on the particular day I see them. And even if I tell them I’m feeling blue, there isn’t much they can do. Take my husband for example. He tries to help by telling me to cheer up or casually saying that things are looking good. When I respond with a polite but fake smile, which is counter to my Italian nature, he gets frustrated and simply tells me to force myself to cheer up. Ah, I wish I could my dear hubby, but that’s not how it works.

Is it because there has been so much upheaval in my life lately? Is it because my husband was ill for so long? Or is it because this is something that periodically comes and goes in and out of my life? I guess, the answer is that depression comes from a combination of all these things.

But I don’t like to end my column on a sad note. I am actively working on changing my present condition by going to therapy, looking at different anti-depressants and getting exercise and fresh air every day.

Eventually I know that this too will pass. I shared my feelings with you today because I hope that if someone else is going through a hard time, they’ll know that, hey you are not alone — help is out there.

We just have to ask, and eventually we’ll find our little sunshine again.

Anita Doberman is a freelance writer, mother of five and wife of an Air Force pilot stationed at Hurlburt AFB in Florida. Contact her at: anita@anitadoberman.com