These are the tales of two very different “sinks.” In one I see depression and in the other simply a few bad days. While they are both “sinks,” they couldn’t be more different, but “sinks” they are and emotional and painful in their own way.
When she moved here, she was full of optimism. She loved new experiences; she loved travel. She reveled in challenge, and she delighted in new-ness. She just knew she would conquer this new duty station with a smile on her face.
And then the ice came, and the power was knocked out. The cable installation took weeks. The dryer quit, and the couch got broken in the move. The schools weren’t as welcoming as they should have been, and the baby wouldn’t leave her side even for a moment, crying outside the bathroom door while she tried to have just 2 minutes to herself. Then he deployed, and she was alone.
For months she stayed locked in her home, barely leaving, rarely getting out of her pajamas. She cried often over missed friends, lonely holidays, and most of all her own disappointment in herself for not being able to thrive in this place she’d once been so excited to see.
She sank, and it was painful in a deep down, soul crushing way. She cried. She suffered mood swings. She tried to hide it from her kids, but they knew.
And so she sank further.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
She felt she had it all. She had a nice home, a nice car, and a husband she was falling in love with more each day. She had the best girl friends she could ask for, and now that all the kids were all in school, she had time to herself. She often sipped coffee with friends at a local shop discussing upcoming social events and recent episodes of their favorite shows. She’d started eating better and exercising, and the “baby weight” was beginning to shift. She was thriving.
Then he deployed, and she ended up on crutches. The once-happy kids melted down, one in therapy, one failing at school, and one simply more kid than she could take everyday. The dryer stopped again, and she yelled at it, at her kids, at the Navy, and at God all at once because there-is-just-only-so-much-I-can-handle-and-why-is-it-all-happening-to-me-right-now-I-can’t-take-this!!!
She sank. It didn’t last long. A good cry. A hug from her daughter. A good night’s sleep, and a few deep breaths. She made some lists, made some cuts, and rallied her network, and as quickly as it had all fallen apart, she built it back up again. Only days had gone by, and though “it all” looked different, she had it once again.
Two very different tales of what sinking can look like, but let’s not judge what was worse or who needed our help more. Your “sink” might not look like mine. You might be able to deal with more; I might have a stronger support network. She might have better plans in place, and I might be quicker to simply ask for help. No two “sinks” are the same, but each one is painful and crushing in its own way.
Remember this when you are sinking or when you see a friend sinking. Don’t judge. Don’t minimize, because a sink is a sink no matter how it looks to you. Whether it lasts for months and requires professional help or is solved with a hug and a good cry, any “sink” is painful when you’re in the midst of it.
I’ve had all kinds of “sinks” in my time, not just the two above, and I just want you to know that you aren’t alone when you sink. I want you to see that you aren’t alone, that what you’re feeling is okay, and that we’ve all been there before. You can pull out of it. You will thrive again.
Navy wives are a strong lot. We may sink for a day, or a week or even a month, but we always rise again!