Mental Health, Psychosocial

The Mental Illness Teeter Totter


I’ve spent much of this month trying to decide whether or not to spend Christmas with my family.  It’s a subject that has caused a lot of torment and a lot of tears.

I used to love Christmas.  It was always a small, cozy, stress-free family affair. When I’m depressed, though, Christmas just doesn’t matter.  I didn’t go home for Christmas last year because of my illness, so I thought maybe I should push myself to go this year.

When I told my mom I was planning on going there for Christmas, her response felt lukewarm, which made me think that my parents didn’t actually want me there.  I began thinking maybe I wouldn’t go after all.  I asked if my parents would pay for me to fly home, since the highway there passes through the mountains and can be pretty treacherous in winter.  Mom responded that they would pay, since they had already paid for tickets for my brother and his fiancee.  My mind twisted that into evidence that what mattered most to them was having my brother come home.

Yesterday in a fleeting moment of thinking I’d probably just feel shittier spending Christmas alone, I booked a flight.  I emailed the flight itinerary to my mom, and again I got a response that felt lukewarm.  After much crying, I cancelled my airline tickets, even though I knew I was probably being unreasonable.  This morning I got a voicemail from my mom sounding quite concerned, so I decided to rebook the tickets.

Depression twists my thoughts, and even though I sometimes realize that these thoughts are probably coming from my depression, it’s hard not to get swept up in them.  It’s like a constant teeter totter, with depression as the chubby kid and my healthy self as the runty little kid whose feet can’t reach the ground.  I guess that recognizing this is the first step, and I just need to keep working on finding healthy bits and pieces to help bolster my scrawny little self and turn the balance in my favour.

book cover: Managing the Depression Puzzle by Ashley L. Peterson

Managing the Depression Puzzle takes a holistic look at the different potential pieces that might fit into your unique depression puzzle. It’s available on Amazon, he MH@H Store, and other online retailers.

This post contains affiliate links that let you support MH@H at no extra cost to you.

14 thoughts on “The Mental Illness Teeter Totter”

  1. I’m glad you rebooked. Sometimes our minds can play nasty tricks on us. I remember reading that you parents know about your depression but I wondered if they understood Depression? Maybe they don’t, or maybe they’re worried about you and want to help but don’t know how to? X

    1. Yeah, my parents have been through this enough with me to have a pretty good idea about depression. I think they want to help but aren’t sure how, because often when I’m depressed I push them away.

      1. It’s a tough one for both of you, them not knowing what to do and you feeling the way you do. Do you know what your triggers are? is there anything you would like to tell them/share with them? X

        1. I think probably once I’m there it will be easier since I’ll be less likely to get trapped in guessing what they’re thinking. Thanks for your help 🙂

  2. Yes! I get so much anxiety tryinbg to determine if my thoughts are appropriate thoughts or depression thoughts. It’s scary not knowing if you can trust your thoughts. I feel ya. I bet your mom wants you there. Most people in my life responded luke warm initially and then later told me that they were just worried that they would say the wrong thing so they just didn’t say much at all.

  3. Glad you decided to go! Sadly we can’t believe everything we think on depression. On top of that, I have noticed people are “afraid” of me when I am on a low point. As others said, maybe that is what happened, and they preferred to not sound too emotional to avoid making you feel pressured to go. My father does this a lot, but my mom always blurts out how he has really been feeling about his worries on me 🙂

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