Last week I received the best news a wife could receive—Darlin’ is cancer-free, and the doctors see no signs that it will recur. I should be on cloud nine right now. Instead I’m hiding behind my “happy mask” while my emotions are being swallowed by the black hole of depression.
Don’t get me wrong. I am extremely grateful my husband is well. More proof to me that prayers are answered. Believe me, we prayed a lot. I just feel empty, like a hollow corn husk, a discarded skin. And I feel guilty because I know I should feel ecstatic. Guilt and depression are a toxic combination. The informal definition of a black hole is a place where people or things disappear without trace. Depression is a black hole that swallows emotions, good and bad.
Most people feel sad or depressed at times. It’s a normal reaction to loss or life’s challenges. But when intense sadness— including feeling helpless, hopeless and worthless— lasts for many days to weeks and keeps you from living your life, it may be something more than sadness. You could have clinical depression, a treatable medical condition.
Is depression curable? Sadly, no, it’s not. Your symptoms may go away over time, but the condition won’t. But with care and treatment, you can reach remission and enjoy a long, healthy life. All this means is that you have to constantly be aware of your emotional status and don’t hesitate to ask for help when you need it.
My tip for this week, besides the usual begging you to reach out to your doctor if you need help and not to be ashamed of depression, is to speak kindly to yourself. The kinder you are to yourself, the easier it is to be kind to others.
GLENDA THOMPSON is a columnist for the Pleasanton Express and is currently writing a series on finding your hidden talents. Glenda resides in Charlotte where she is hard at work on the second novel in a series about Texas Rangers with dark secrets. Her first novel, Broken Toys, is available on Amazon.