The Fight of My Life.
**Before I get to the main blog I want to say this is a very personal blog that I wasn't sure I would ever publish. I thought that if I ever did, it would need to be the right time. In light of the current situation in our world, I feel that now might be the right time. I also want to say that this blog deals with my battle with depression, and that might be a trigger for some. If you feel it might be upsetting to you, please stop reading. Take care of yourself both physically and mentally, and know that there is help only a phone call away.**
It's a silent disease. People you know have it and you may be unaware. You do not always know unless they want you to know. Some are experts at hiding it. Even if you know, you can't fix them. You most definitely can not tell them how to get better. Even if you think you understand; YOU DO NOT! Depression affects over 300 million people around the world. I am one of them.
I have battled with depression from an early age. If I try to pinpoint when it first began, I would have to say it was in elementary school. I remember walking to school and wondering if I died who would come to my funeral. I spent time thinking about who would cry, or if anyone would even care. I realize now I became obsessed with the thought, but not enough to ever talk to anyone about it.
My high school years were filled with typical teenage angst. I was not unpopular, but I wasn’t super popular either. I seemed to fit in with a wide array of people, so that was a bonus. I wasn’t a big joiner, but I did do a few things. I now wish that I would have done more during my high school experience. I will say that my high school years were not without tears. I definitely felt things on a deeper level than most of my friends. I remember going to the doctor because I was sleeping so much and it worried my mother. After some blood work my doctor declared I was fine. I was a teenager who wasn’t getting enough sleep. Looking back now I know that my constant exhaustion went along with my depression. I went to dances, football games, and even teen nightclubs. I did all the fun stuff teenagers did. I had a lot of boyfriends. Some were super nice and others were assholes. Unfortunately, I never felt worthy of the nice guys, and I often felt like I deserved how the assholes treated me. I felt worthless and unworthy of love. I often felt no matter what I did, it was never good enough. Because I felt I wasn’t enough, I sought out attention in the wrong ways. I allowed people to use and mistreat me; in hopes that would make me worthy of love. Makes sense right? It made me fun, but no more worthy of love. This behavior continued after high school. But I compounded it with drinking and occasional drug use. I’m not saying that I didn’t drink or try any drugs in high school. After high school the frequency definitely increased. As addiction runs in my family, these were definitely risky choices. At the end of the day, I came out of that stage without addiction. Many of my friends were not as lucky.
While my experimentation was short-lived, my reckless behavior was not. I was only happy when I was out all night long drinking and dancing. When I wasn’t out, I would wonder what my friends were doing? Were they having fun without me? Why didn’t they call me? Did I do something wrong? Did they even like me anymore? I couldn’t get the thoughts out of my head that they were having fun without me and talking about me behind my back. It was an awful dark and sad place to be. Yet, it was a place I couldn’t help but go to. I wish I could say that this behavior has passed, but sometimes it rears its ugly head.
I opened my medicine cabinet a million times and thought of all the ways I could make the pain go away. Thank God my mind always convinced me I wouldn’t do it right. In my mind, I always ended up hospitalized or incapacitated, but the demons were still there. I would become a burden on my loved ones and leave them in a constant state of worry. My love for others has always pulled me from the darkest places.
Every breakup was crushing for me. Even when I didn’t even like them that much. I would stay in bed for days on end. I cried until there were no tears left. All the while obsessing about what my ex was doing. I believed that it was better to be in a bad relationship than to be alone. I stopped chasing losers and found relationships with stability, loyalty and love.
And here I am in the present. I’m married and have two amazing and beautiful children. But my sadness didn’t end when they joined this world. I can look at them and be in awe of these perfect beings I am blessed with. My heart is so full that it could burst, and yet I can still be sad. That’s when it hurts the most. How can I be anything but happy with all the gifts I have? Then everything inside me screams that I am a terrible mother and that they deserve better. How can I be what they need when I’m feeling this way? They deserve a mom who can look at them without ever being sad. They deserve a mom who gets out of bed every day because she wants to, not because she has to. I have great days, and I have good days. When I have a bad day, it is bad. Throw some terrible days in the mix, and you have a whole myriad of emotions. They have seen me in these moods, and it is unfair. They shouldn’t have to ask me why I am sad, I should be asking them. Another reason why I often think they deserve a better mother. But they love me unconditionally, moods and all. That unconditional love is the greatest love I have ever felt. Most days that love is enough. My kids laughs, smiles, and bad jokes are enough. Those hugs and kisses are the best things in the world!! Unfortunately, there are still bad days. Days where I am surrounded by all the people I love the most and still feel alone. Those days are the hardest. My heart wonders how I can be surrounded by love but be so miserable.
I may never know the answer to that. There are many things I may never understand about myself. I know that I still get depressed, but I no longer cope with it in destructive ways. I cry and I might withdraw, but I no longer wonder if the world would be better off without me. I don’t look for things in my medicine cabinet to ease my pain anymore. I just push through. I have lost friends to this disease because they couldn’t fight any longer. I don’t fault them because their darkness and pain became too great of a burden for them to bear. They left behind people who love them, who miss them, and who will grieve eternally. Not a day passes that I don’t miss my dear friend and wished that I could have helped her.
One thing I know for sure is that sometimes the ones that seem the happiest are the ones that hurt the most. Check on your friends and family. They might be suffering in silence. Their burden may become too much to bear. Your act of kindness, your shoulder, your conversation might be the light in someone’s darkness.
I posted this now because people who suffer from anxiety and depression, and even those who don’t might find this quarantine to be more than they can handle. Reach out to someone each day and connect with them. Now is a great time to reconnect with someone you have lost touch with. April is National Month of Hope, now more than ever people around the world need hope. Let’s reach out and spread a little sunshine into the world.
If you or someone you know is suffering, you are not alone. Please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
I feel this so deeply. It all makes so much sense in so many ways. I feel like you are speaking from me. I am so glad you have been a part of my life. I feel that as we got older and things happened we were distanced. I do wish it was all different but I do want you to know I will always be glad I still have a piece of you in my life. I want nothing more than the best for you and your family.ReplyDelete
Good job on this article! I really like how you presented your facts and how you made it interesting and easy to understand. Thank you.ReplyDelete
I totally agree with you on checking on people from time too time. Also smiling and looking happy doesn't mean we don't have our struggles. I want to commend your courage in sharing this post, you're so brave and thank you for sharing because this will help and encourage a lot of people.ReplyDelete
God bless you, heal you, and protect you and your family.
Yes so important to check in on those close to us during these anxious times. Great article!ReplyDelete
Thank you for sharing your story. Depression can be hard for everyone involved. That is so brave of you to be honest with your struggle to help others!ReplyDelete
Thank you for being so open & honest regarding your struggles with anxiety & depression. I know many can relate, especially right now, with everything going on. You have a beautiful story to share & I'm so happy you decided to do so! Take care!ReplyDelete
-Madi xo | http://www.everydaywithmadirae.com
This is definitely tough and so true. Most mental health diseases and disorders are invisible to the human eye and thus most people think they are made up . Because if you can't see it or post on facebook, does it even exist. And being depressed doesn't mean you can't function at all. And you may put a smile on your face but feel dead inside. It's rough.ReplyDelete