Hello, Blog. It’s been a while.
I had the beginnings of a long and confusing post, which was good to get out, but ultimately would not have made for very good reading. And then, what I need to say hit me as a simple concept:
I am Dr. Bruce Banner. Yes, the guy whose alter ego is the Hulk.
Bear with me here; it’s a metaphor I’m hoping to explain well.
As you may know, Dr. Bruce Banner was a (fictional) scientist, doing his science-y thing, when he somehow was exposed to radiation (gamma rays, I believe, but that’s beside the point). This radiation exposure changed his physiology somehow so that when he becomes overcome with anger, he transforms into a menacing green monster known as the Hulk. There’s some variation on this story (because comics), but I’m going to reference the Marvel Cinematic Universe here. In the movie The Avengers, Bruce is found in hiding, to minimize the damage he can cause as the Hulk. After being encouraged to help save the world, Bruce’s comrades wonder how he’s able to keep the Hulk under control, and they try their best to help him stay calm so the monster doesn’t have a chance to take over. Finally, at the movie’s climax, Bruce reveals what he has learned about living with Hulk inside him for years: “That’s my secret. I’m always angry” - and he willfully becomes the Hulk to help save Earth.
I’m not relating Dr. Banner’s story to my life in terms of anger, but in terms of depression. I was living my average life as a Bruce, doing my mom thing, when something triggered a change in me. I’m still not entirely sure what, but like the radiation, that’s beside the point. Soon enough, I realized I had the Hulk of depression taking over me. The monster came out no matter what I did, and blindsided me, so I isolated myself. I thought for sure, one day, I would be rid of depression’s grip forever, never “Hulking out” again. I saw it as an either/or situation. I couldn’t really be Dr. Banner if the Hulk was somewhere deep inside.
But, just like dear Bruce, there’s no getting rid of my monster. And it’s hard to accept living with a monster you don’t want and didn’t invite in the first place. However, I have a choice. I can live in denial, keep isolating myself, and do my best to never let anybody see the monster of depression in me. Or, I can accept that it’s now a permanent part of me, and live as a new version of myself. No matter how it may seem sometimes, I’m still me when I’m at my worst and will make it through. I’m not the Hulk every minute or even every day. I’ll have my good days and bad days, but the bad days don’t negate all the good I do for my kids and others around me. I can still live how I want and be a good person and a good mother, even though I never know when depression will have its firm grip on me again. I do have control and power, and I can ignore depression’s lies. I’m still working on embracing the Hulk I’m living with, and relearning how to parent in the process. But now I know it’s not all bad.
After all, Bruce and Hulk helped save the world.