“Am I depressed?”
I looked at my therapist with genuine concern, confusion, and curiosity.
“I think you’ve had things in your life over the last couple of months that make you feel depressed. But given your childhood and general experience, no, I don’t think you’re someone who struggles with depression.”
“Okay,” I said.
I watched the tears well up in my therapist’s eyes.
I wondered, Am I making my therapist cry right now?
Over the last few months, I thought about how things could be worse. Things could be better. But maybe if I were my therapist, I would be teary too.
From December 2019-April 2020:
>> I “blindsided” my fiancé and boyfriend of three and a half years, and ended our relationship
>> I canceled my wedding
>> I moved out of the house where I lived with my fiancé and my dog
>> I moved back home with my parents and anxiously awaited my 30th birthday
>> I said goodbye to my black Lab, who I loved more than anything, and gave him to my ex
>> I navigated being a business owner and working for myself
>> I moved into my own apartment
>> All my jewelry got stolen by my movers the day I moved into my apartment
>> My mom got diagnosed with thyroid cancer
>> COVID-19 shut everything down, and I spent the majority of quarantine alone in my studio apartment
>> I filed a lawsuit against my movers who stole my jewelry to find out that one of them was convicted of murder, rape, domestic violence, and armed assault
As one of my friends said during a quarantine Zoom call, “Georgia you should write a book called The Year I Called off my Wedding and My Jewelry Got Stolen by a Murderer.
I laugh because, at times, I don’t and didn’t know what else to do or how to respond. Oftentimes, people would tell me, Georgia, God won’t give you anything you can’t handle.
I would wonder, really? Because I don’t think I can handle one more thing. I think if one more thing is piled on top of me, I am going to lose it. I know, all things considered, my life is amazing; I have a lot to be grateful for and, generally speaking, things are good, but for where I was in life, I couldn’t take one more thing. Who cares about my jewelry or being locked in my studio apartment, but really, Universe, you’re going to make me wonder if my mom is going to die of cancer after all of this?
In those moments of shaking my fists at God, I thought, No thank you to “silver linings” or the belief that things will get better. Because as of now, they suck, I’m not sure if they could get worse, and I’m definitely sure that I cannot handle one more sh*tty thing life has to throw at me.
As COVID-19 and quarantine struck, I moved into my sister and her fiancé’s house on the weekends. While restaurants, bars, and life as I knew shut down, I found myself spending Friday nights in their guest room.
One night in particular, I scrolled through my phone looking at a photo from early October 2019, just months back. In the picture, I saw myself as an entirely different person than who I was in March of 2020. I was kneeling in the photo, hugging my dog who was no longer mine; my engagement ring sparkled, which I no longer wore; my hair was bright blonde, which was now dark; a pearl necklace hung around my neck that I no longer owned because it had been stolen. I saw a former me, at a healthy and happy weight, not deteriorating with my jeans falling off of me.
I had never been someone who struggled with depression, but over those few months, I often felt it would be easier if I didn’t have to deal with the pain I was experiencing. I would walk over the bridge in my neighborhood and wonder, If I fell onto the highway would it end this? What if I fell into the river below? Would the pain stop? What if COVID got me, would I no longer have to deal with this?
I never wanted to die. I never got close to hurting myself or taking true action steps to end my life. I never understood how people could get to this place I was in until I was there. And here I was. Staring at an old picture of my former self, wondering, What happened to my life?
I lay in my sister’s guest room that night crying. I fixated on the old photo from my former life, and I scared myself. I thought about the knives in my sister’s kitchen and wondered, Would they be sharp enough to end this?
I again thought of the phrase, “God won’t give you more than you can handle.”
Here’s the truth: we can’t do or handle things on our own. And we’re not supposed to. We don’t have to be this tough, handle everything, see the purpose in everything life gives us, type of people—maybe there are times when we must acknowledge that we cannot do it on our own. Perhaps that’s the beauty, or truth, in it all—that we don’t have to be or pretend to be so strong.
What a relief.
I lay in bed that night hysterical. All I know from those months of darkness is that we have to feel everything along the way. There is no shortcut or way around our pain. Sometimes it takes us laying on the ground, screaming, crying, and sitting with what is to get us through. I realized I couldn’t do it alone. That while I would never take action and did not want to hurt myself, I couldn’t sit there alone with the thoughts I was experiencing.
I ran upstairs to my sister’s bedroom. She said my tears woke her up as they dripped down her back.
“I scared myself,” I told her. “I had to tell you.”
“It’s okay.” She told me. She wrapped her arms around me as I cried.
I went back downstairs to the guest room that I called my own over quarantine weekends.
I thought of Glennon Doyle’s book, Untamed, as I lay in their guest room. When describing her sister’s divorce and grief she said,
“She’d walk downstairs to her room for the night. One evening, I followed her downstairs and stood outside her door. As I prepared to knock, I heard her crying softly. That is when I realized that where she was, I could not go. Grief is a lonely basement guest room. No one, not even your sister, can join you there.”
When we feel like we can’t “one more thing,” we can. We can because we ask for help. While my sister couldn’t join me in my grief, she could hold me through it. When you really feel like enough is enough, tell someone. Our secrets, shame, and hardships cannot hide when we let someone know.
Maybe God gives us more than we can handle sometimes, but what a beautiful relief to know we do not have to handle it alone.