Depression and anxiety are very real daily struggles for me. Part of it is being predisposed genetically, all of the women on my mom’s side of the family struggle with some form of depression. The other part of it is from PTSD, or traumatic events that i went through during adolescents. My family life wasn’t always happy and pleasant, there was quite a lot of arguing between my parents, things felt really unstable a lot of the time and that wasnt helpful as i was navigating adolescents. I have been in and out of therapy my whole life, tried a lot of different types of antidepressants (I hate taking medications, plus there is always a side effect that’s worse then the depression for me.) The bottom line is that it is just part of who i am. I am depression and crippling anxiety.. my therapist would be so mad at me for identifying myself like that. It’s how i feel though.
Funny enough, most the people i know wouldn’t even think that i deal with any of the things that i do. I have gotten really good at “smiling” and “being happy” in other peoples presence. I don’t like to talk about all the emotions that are drowning me, the struggle to get out of bed and continue existing, the major feelings of insecurity and not being able to trust people, all the fears i have. The guilt that is crushing me because of all the valuable time I have missed out on from these feelings and this fog. We all have our struggles and things that we deal with, so why am I in any way more entitled to feel the need to complain about what i struggle with? Besides, I am the person that most people I know come to and confide their issues in. I am a good listener and good at helping people navigate through their difficulties. I like it even, its why I have chosen the career path I have.
It’s always easier to help others through their issues, tell them to not give up, they will get through this. When it’s time to look in the mirror and tell yourself those same things, and have hope for a time that you will feel “normal” its much harder. At this point, after this many years, it’s less a matter of believing it will pass soon and more an issue of do i even care if it ever does pass. My life has been a lot of instability, I have always lived on a rocky foundation, afraid of things shifting, my world crumbling again, people leaving me. As much as I hate it, there starts to be some sort of stability and comfort in the feelings of my depression and anxiety. You start to wonder if you just need to make peace with it and do the best you can around it. Maybe this is the real me whose been fighting so hard to get out all these years.
I cant be the only one in the world that feels this way? Maybe i am, it wouldn’t really surprise me if i was. I have been trying to fight my way out of an abyss for a little more then a month now. Things start to ease up and I start to step outta the darkness, something happens, and I lose my footing and slide right back in. Life has not been super easy lately and so the struggle has been a little more lately. I will get out of it, I always do. I will “shake it off” and be ok for a little while before it pulls me back in. That’s my cycle.
The point of this post was not only to talk about what i deal with, but to talk about that even after all these years and all the advancements in society and technology, the lack of awareness to mental health issue is still pretty substantial and mental health issues are very much mocked or passed over. Eye’s roll and I get told, “shake it off” “nothing is ever really THAT bad” like I am actively choosing to have these feelings on a regular basis. I mean I get some people do it temporarily for attention but to be someone who struggles with it daily, who would chose to deal with this on a chronic basis. I wake up everyday, look in the mirror and tell myself, “today, we ARE going to be happy.” It doesn’t always work, because the facts are, depression isn’t always mind over matter, sometimes its biology. I am predisposed for a chemical imbalance that causes it. I can take medication to make it better, but I have struggled for many years to find one that doesn’t cause me major other side effects. Interestingly enough, I think those of us who deal with mental health issues would benefit most from people just simply being more open minded and supportive. If we didn’t feel like we needed to hide what we deal with or ourselves when we were dealing with our moments of mental illness, then maybe we could make progress. For now, we are here, and I will deal with this as I always have….