Yesterday, I caught myself singing.
Now this by itself may seem small or inconsequential, and it probably is to anyone but me. But, you see, I used to sing all the time. It was a quirk of mine, one of many. It was also a poor choice of one because I am a terrible singer, all throat and no melody, like a man who’s smoked for too long and now has to try to hum a tune out of his tracheotomy hole.
Regardless, I sang anyway. The songs themselves were not even songs as much as jingles, little ditties I made up on the spot about whatever I was doing at the time: changing a diaper or feeding the dog or peeing or contemplating the awful state of modern politics. It would please me greatly if they rhymed, but this wasn’t a requirement. Likewise if they made sense. Mostly I gave myself a little peppy soundtrack to my life, because we all need things to help us make sense of the world, right?
Anyway, at some point I’d stopped singing. I don’t know when it happened exactly, and I don’t know if it was a sudden ceasing or a slow trickle down to nothing like when I turn my bathroom faucet off. All I know is that the singing was one of the first things to go and then other things followed – my social life and my yoga practice and my sleep and my self-care – until recently I took a look around and realized that maybe the reason I felt so lonely was because I had dug myself so deep into a hole that no one could even reach me.
In short, I was depressed.
Scratch that – I am depressed.
So a few weeks ago I threw out a rope: I asked for help and got myself, finally, on some meds. It’s not my first time doing so but it’s the first time in a long time. I had put it off and put it off because I’d started to buy into all that crap about how if I just thought the right thoughts or ate the right foods or made the conscious decision to be happy then I would be fine.
That’s some dangerous bullshit right there.
I’d sit down next to my babies and hear them running and playing like it was coming to me from far away because it was – I was down in that hole, you see. I missed them so ferociously in that moment that it threatened to crack me open. So I picked up the phone right then and called my doctor. “Enough,” I said. “Let’s do this.”
It has only been a little while and hopefully it won’t have to be forever (although if it is, that’s okay too). I wasn’t sure anything of note was even happening until yesterday when I was standing in my kitchen, scrubbing the cookware, and a throaty voice rumbled in my ear. I was like, “Hey, I know that voice. That’s me.”
And oh how I’d missed me! As soon as I’d done it, I wanted to do it again, and again, and again, until I had thoroughly frightened the kids and annoyed the husband and made myself giggle and dance a little impromptu jig across the kitchen. I’ve been doing it ever since, singing little dumb made-up-on-the-spot ditties. (Although I’m trying not to do it at work or in the public bathroom stall or in the checkout aisle at Target because I don’t want anyone to think I’m having a seizure or shoot me with a stun gun.)
I don’t mean to imply that it’s as simple as that. There’s a lot of work left to do and I can still feel a sadness so deep inside of me that there’s a hollowed-out space where it sat. Life is still flinging its best shit at me like a deranged short order cook, but I do want to say this:
Even if you are deep in that hole where it’s so dark that you forgot it could even be light; even if you can barely make out the sound of your people playing in the room where you’re sitting; even if you feel all alone, teeny-tiny, and like no one can see you when they walk past.
What you feel right now is real. It is not your fault. This is not where it ends. There is still a song inside of you yet.
So get some help. Your people need you.