For me, living with depression is hard. It’s not harder than what anyone else is going through. It’s just hard. It’s hard to be positive. It’s hard to find the bright spots. It’s hard to keep going.
So as I leave your rooms for the second time, I say to myself, “I’ll try again tomorrow.” And the day after that. For you, my boys, I will never stop trying to make sure you see all the ways you matter to me.
I can’t promise this blog is what you are looking for. I can’t promise it will inspire you or change your mind on mental health. I can't promise you won't be uncomfortable reading what I plan to share. (Though I do promise to always warn of possible triggers so that my readers only read what they can personally handle.) I can’t promise I’ll be successful in what I’m here to accomplish. What I can promise is that what you see [read] is what you get with me. The honest, sometimes scary, and completely vulnerable battle of living with several mental illnesses.
This has been weighing so heavily on my mind and on my heart. I would say I can’t believe how many instances of suicide I’ve heard about this year - but I’d be lying. I’m not surprised at all. And every single time, regardless of it who it is, their story brings me to my knees. Because I, and many people just like me, feel the pain and consequence of suicide on a deeper level than most. Why? Because I think about suicide. A lot. Because I understand the pain that is felt by someone contemplating taking their own life.
Everybody has a home team. It’s the people you call when you get a flat tire or when something terrible happens. It’s the people who, near or far, know everything that’s wrong with you and love you anyways. These are the ones who tell you their secrets, who get themselves a glass of water without asking when they’re at your house. These are the people who cry when you cry. These are your people, your middle-of-the-night, no-matter-what people.
It seems pretty linear right? You have a problem, you find a solution and then voila, you're done! The problem is that mental health is anything but linear, nor is there a simple solution. The road to get to this point was long and winding. Now the real work begins, the one I'm apparently already doing. But nothing feels any different. Happy one minute, sad the next. Independent one minute, needy the next. Confident one minute, broken the next.
One week ago, the light inside of me just shut off. That’s the best way I can describe it anyways. Nothing significant happened. I think that’s been the hardest thing for those closest to me to understand. There’s no one or no thing to blame. Recently diagnosed with a serious mood disorder, I realized I haven’t managed my highs and lows as well as I maybe thought I have over the years. But I have, mostly managed them alone. If you live with anxiety, depression or any kind of mental health illness, you’ll likely relate that you don’t always have a definitive answer to explain the way you’re feeling. Moods can change drastically and triggers can be hard to identify or are ever changing. But this low was different. It lingered for much longer than usual.
Things got very dark, very quickly.
Words are such a vital component of our lives. A necessity. They are how we communicate everything from our most basic needs to our heaviest emotions. Whether spoken, written or signed, they are essential to the human condition. And though greatly cathartic, they can also be incredibly imprecating.
This storm is settling, for now at least. It may not be over but it's eye has come and gone. The windows are boarded up and even though the clouds are still heavy, there’s a crack in the window boards. It’s small, tiny even, but just enough light gets in to remind me that everything will be okay.
As an empath, I feel things more deeply than others. I'm highly attuned to people's moods, both good and bad. I feel other peoples' pain as if it were my own, to the point of mental and physical distress. I think with my heart more often than my head and always try to fix things far beyond my control. I've been told I'm too sensitive, too needy, and too generous. And sadly, I've been taken advantage of on more than one occasion. I'm currently learning different strategies to protect my sensitivities. Setting limits and boundaries. Meditation. Mindfulness. Regular exercise. Communicating my needs to my loved ones and being more cautious with who I exert my energy on.