Depression is weird.
It makes you lonely, but the thought of being with others is overwhelming.
It makes you wish you could get up and do something... but moving takes too much effort.
It makes you remember happier times, but you have no hope that you will ever be happy again.
Just socializing can make you feel as if you're living on a stage, putting on a show... and it's exhausting.
"Don’t let them in, don’t let them see
Be the good girl you always have to be
Conceal, don’t feel, put on a show
Make one wrong move and everyone will know"
-Elsa, Disney's Frozen
Depression, allowed to fester, can cause deep and lasting damage to relationships, and the closer the person is to you, the deeper the damage can go.
This was my kids' first holiday without their dad. Their first Thanksgiving, and their first Christmas, since he moved out of state. I knew it wouldn't be easy, so I planned to spend as much time over the break with them as possible. On Thanksgiving day, we went to the movie theater to see Disney's latest animated movie; Frozen.
The movie surprised me, in a lot of good ways. I'd seen the trailer, and was expecting the usual funny-but-predictable Disney fare. I was pleasantly surprised, both by the movie itself and by the effect the afternoon out had on my relationship with my kids.
For those who haven't seen it, Frozen is the story of two sisters. The elder, Elsa, is "cursed" with the power to create and control ice and snow. She uses her gift to entertain her little sister Anna, by creating snow inside the palace for them to play in. The girls build a snowman together. Anna begins running as Elsa throws snowdrifts in front of her, creating a path for her sister. Anna gets excited and runs faster than Elsa can create new snow hills... and when Elsa tries to catch Anna as she falls, she hits her sister with an icy blast to the head, nearly taking her life.
Anna is, of course, cured, but the girls' parents, frightened by the near miss, warn Elsa that she must not use her powers, and that she must learn to control them, lest she be seen as a monster by the people in the kingdom.
The fright, and the new restrictions, cause Elsa to withdraw into her room. Anna, with no memory of the incident, can't understand why her older sister won't play with her. When the girls lose their parents, leaving them alone, the separation becomes even deeper. Elsa is unable to reconnect with her sister, preferring to guard her terrible secret in isolation.
"A kingdom of isolation and it looks like I'm the queen...
Don't let them in, don't let them see.
Be the good girl you always had to be.
Conceal don't feel, don't let them know..."
Anyone who's attempted to have a family while living with PTSD can relate to Elsa's words.
“When you're surrounded by all these people, it can be lonelier than when you're by yourself. You can be in a huge crowd, but if you don't feel like you can trust anyone or talk to anybody, you feel like you're really alone.”
“There are wounds that never show on the body that are deeper and more hurtful than anything that bleeds.”
~Laurell K. Hamilton
Please, friends, do not inflict those wounds upon your children. If you need help with depression, there are many, many resources, both nationally, and in your community. Educate yourself, and seek out the help you need.