I am writing to you today from within a fleeting moment of ease.
I don’t know how long it will last or how long it will be before my perception begins to blur, but these moments are scarce at best these days and therefore something to cherish.
It is a strange thing; this life.
A collection of moments woven together through emotional experiences. Creating the unique tapestry we cloak ourselves in for the entirety of our lives.
Seemingly so simple at times, almost mundane.
A settled routine providing much needed comfort in an otherwise chaotic world.
And then other times…it knocks the wind out of you. Sending you into a tale spin so fast all you can do is hold on tight and pray it is over soon.
Up until this week, I had been feeling pretty easy about things. Sure, I was still working through some emotional scars, but it was nothing I couldn’t handle.
And then, before I knew what was happening, manageable took a nose dive into sheer and utter chaos!
Before I knew it, I was behind in every aspect of my life! I won’t bore you with too many of the details (after all we all have our stuff). Basically, I went out of town on business, got sick and per the usual over extended myself on all levels. 😦
Due to a series of unfortunate events, I was behind on yard work, personal projects, social obligations, work obligations, you name it. And when I say behind I mean like a few days for most stuff. Which I’m sure sounds silly to most people, but for someone like me it is an emotional trigger.
I know that I have issues with needing acceptance from others to validate my own self worth and this last week was a perfect example of why that is such an unhealthy habit to have.
I woke up Monday feeling like death and my boss even gave me the okay to take it easy and rest up.
Nice right? Ya, she is amazing 🙂
Unfortunately, the universe had a different plan. All at once emails, phone calls, and notifications began pouring in.
At first I remained calm as I usually do. I began answering each in the order it was received (my normal MO) and repeated the mantra:
“Inspiration will come and I will get it done!”
Again, may sound silly, but all a mantra really is, is a way for you to take your mind away from worry (producing negative feelings) and realign you to a more positive manageable place.
Like I said, it worked for a while.
Until, people started getting antsy!
One negative to punctuality is that you end up setting an expectation. People are not used to waiting more than a few hours to receive a response from me, so when it is approaching the day mark they begin to wonder if I received their email.
So now Jane Smith’s one email and one phone call just turned into more emails and more phone calls.
And the list grows….
Every new request felt like someone placing another barbell on my chest.
All the while a portion of my mind was still focused on the previous heartbreak I was already dealing with and making a list of all of the personal tasks I had still not tended to.
It was too much.
And I had been here before; a bitter sweet realization.
The complete shut down. Depression.
Seeing as I am a frequent traveler through the town of The Overwhelmed , I knew I would be able to climb back out of it, but the question was how long would that take and was there a way to speed up the process?
So yesterday, after work ended, I decided to turn off my phone. At this point, I knew social interaction was an absolute no go. Especially considering how emotionally vulnerable I was feeling. I even posted a message on FB letting everyone know that I was detaching so no one would worry when I didn’t respond to their calls/texts. Basically my way of saying, “I love you all, but please leave me alone!!”.
So I stayed up to 4 AM getting caught up on work. It wasn’t like I was going to sleep anyway! 🙂
And besides, it was worth the peace of mind it gave me when I started back up today.
Now… I have finished work and for the first time in almost a month I finally felt like writing, well more so I felt like sharing.
In a world where the list of aliments is never ending, I don’t think many people understand how diverse & debilitating depression is. And more importantly, how to properly give those suffering from it the support or in many cases the distance they need.
Before I gained the mechanisms to deal with my depression, tale spins such as the one I just described could have lasted much longer or resulted in a more serious outcome.
As unhealthy as it can be sometimes to love others more than yourself, in the case of depression it can sometimes prevent you from taking it to the extreme. I know what something like taking my own life would do to the ones I care about, so for me that will never be an option on the table. I am blessed in that respect. My struggle is my savior.
I have also had the benefit of studying psychology and as with most psych majors, the first person I picked apart was myself 🙂 Not everyone is as blessed to have this advantage.
I guess the point I am trying to get across is that you just never know where a person is at in life or what could send them over the edge. For that reason, is it not just better to be kind?
Depression is something I have dealt with and hid quite well through out most of my life, so believe me when I tell you that you may think you know what someone is dealing with at any given moment, but chances are you have no idea.
I can sit here now and clearly see the patterns in my behavior and I think while it was happening I had some awareness of it, but when my limits were tested as quickly as they were, there was little left to do than surrender.
My brain was all twisted up and the only way of releasing the pressure was to let go and ride out the storm.
There was nothing anyone could do for me in that moment, except leave me alone, but there was no way for anyone to know that because I would never tell them.
See how in essence I create my own misery? It’s sad really how clear it is to realize that after the fact!
The take away is that with each relapse comes the additional clarity to better deal with those that have yet to come. And there will be more.
As anyone with depression will tell you, it is not something that can be cured.
It is something that must be conquered.
To anyone feeling lost,
You are not alone.
Your feelings are valid and not meant to be understood by anyone but you.
Your heart will heal when it’s ready and only you can decide when it is time to move on.
You are not obligated to explain yourself for needing time alone with your thoughts or for anything for that matter.
It is okay to be selfish and even a little frivolous at times.
You are not perfect, but neither is anyone else.
You are going to make mistakes. Sometimes the same ones, over and over again. Go easy on yourself. Being alive can be challenging and unexpected. You are only doing the best you can with what you have and that is all you have within your power to do.
Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. I know you have wounds deeper than most, but you will never find the one meant to heal them, if you don’t let them try.
And most importantly, find a way to love yourself.
Even if it takes a life time.
Image courtesy of Janpen04081986 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net