depression · healing · peace · self-image

Definition

Hello Dear Readers. Today I would like to ask a question. I could answer it- and will answer it- as it pertains to me, but this question is a question for everyone. A question that can be answered in limitless ways.

Why do we let one thing and one thing alone define us?

What I mean by this question is, why do we let our actions and processes be guided by one certain factor, either in our own personal lives or our public lives? I myself have been folly to that particular outlook many times, and only recently started asking myself why, and asking myself if it was something that I could consciously try and change.

The factor that I let affect my every move, dear readers, is of course depression. Knowing something to be true exacerbates it, in my opinion. Before I had an official diagnosis, I knew I was unusually sad over nothing pretty much all the time, and it reflected in the ways that I approached things- I would be pessimistic, and negative about things. But once I got the diagnosis, things changed.

At this point in my life, things are on the better side of changed- not so when the diagnosis first came about. I didn’t even approach things with negativity any more, mostly because I didn’t approach them at all. I asked myself what the purpose was, and then decided in most cases that there was no reason for me to put any effort into anything that didn’t expressly have some purpose for me to follow.

But why? For me, it’s all about living up to labels, whether good or bad. And for me it goes back to childhood. I am, and most of my friends and acquaintances are, the types of people that let other people’s expectations define them. It’s something that I’m sure the population as a whole could get better at, and it’s something I now strive every day not to do. I don’t want to be a pawn for someone else, I want to carry out my hopes and dreams, and live life in a way that makes me happy, even if it might displease a few people along the way. Dear readers, I can only hope that you all have found, or are finding, a happy place for yourselves, where you can live the life you want to live, and not the life that someone else wants you to live.

depression · healing · hope · self-image

Road blocks and mirrors.

In every part of your life, there will be road blocks. No matter what you are doing. It could be as simple as making a bowl of cereal and finding that you have no milk, or it could be bigger. Something like trying so hard to be happy and finding out that a family member is dying, or your pet ran away. That’s not to say that every road block along the way is going to be huge and life-altering, but there is always something that is going to get in your way.

My own personal road block is, at this moment, self-esteem. Dealing with this thing for so long, and feeling a certain way for so long, has left me largely unable to view myself in a positive light. A huge setback in my journey. Most days, my thought process is something along the lines of “why do I deserve to be happy. I’m too fat to look good, so why bother dressing up. I’m too ugly to love, why bother trying to maintain a relationship”.

As easy as it is to go through life like this, no one can. Know though, dear readers, that having some sort of positive self-image will help massively along the way. When you dress a bit nicer, or put on a dash of lipstick, or even just put on a cute pair of shoes, it makes a world of difference.

You may be thinking “that’s crazy”, but let me tell you a little story about myself.

Just a few weeks ago, I wore sweatpants on the regular. T-shirts and tennis shoes, no makeup, hair in a messy bun. Every day the same. Every day predictable. After taking my medication for a few days, I was already feeling slightly better about life, and seeing a few things differently. I decided to dress up nice, to project some of the things I was feeling.

That day, dear readers, I realized just how much self-image really does mean. I received a couple of compliments that day, mainly on my change in appearance and how it made me look happy. Those compliments made me feel like I was actually worth someone’s second glance or someone’s spare thought. It was an uplifting feeling, and I realized that I wasn’t invisible. Now please don’t mistake compliments as happiness. Happiness is not and should not be based on what other’s think of you or see from you. But, dear readers, do realize that the negative images that others have of you do somewhat affect your own self-views.

Don’t ever give up on yourself just because you think you don’t deserve it. Look in a mirror, look at yourself how someone else might see you. Highlight those things. Highlight something you like about yourself. Like the way you smile? Wear lipstick. Like the way your hair curls at the ends? Wear it down or put a ribbon in it, don’t just pull it back. Little changes all add up, and the mirror outside reflects on the mirror inside.

depression · healing

The garden of life

Dear readers, I consider this path of mine not unlike a garden of stepping stones. I would compare it more to hurdles on a track, but I really don’t enjoy sports. Gardens are so much more calming. Each stone is a new and better me. Seems pretty easy right? What the gardener doesn’t tell you about the garden is that each stone comes with it’s own outside challenge.

The first few stones are always the hardest. The first stone for me was talking to someone. The second stone was to make the doctors appointment. The third and fourth were the actual doctors visit, and picking up my prescription after. If these stones of mine were in the garden, think of it this way. The very first stone would be a leap just big enough to where you don’t know if you can make it. If you miss, there are sharp rocks, bubbling lava, and prickling cacti in the way of your landing.

The next few stones would be similar, maybe slightly closer but surrounded by sharp thorn bushes and burning coals. As you walk through the garden, things slowly get easier, until the end. By the end of the garden, things are settled. Just as in life, things are settled. The stones are perfect stepping distance. They are smooth, so you have no risk of tripping. There may be fragrant flowers all around and a bubbling little stream running alongside. There are swinging benches to stop off at if you get tired.

Now, make no mistake, thinks won’t be perfect, but in comparison to where you started, dear reader, the last few stones are a breezy walk in the park. While the first few may not be done, it’s what you can see ahead that drives you to keep going.

depression · healing

Hope and change and other fancy stuff

Hello again, dear readers. Let’s talk about change. Change can be a great thing, or it can be a not so great thing. It can also affect your life in ways you never dreamed possible.

The first morning I woke up after receiving my diagnosis, things had already changed. I laid in bed and thought about it all. Though the medication hadn’t even had time to kick in yet, I already felt different. Just knowing that I had help, and knowing that I had a way to combat all of these feelings was a little shining ray of hope.

That day, dear readers, despite being only two weeks ago, stands out to me as a massive turning point in my life. I was able, for the first time, to imagine my future as something happy. I was able to imagine a future where maybe, just maybe, I could be content with what I had and I could be happy with when I had done in my life. Now, dear readers, don’t make the mistake of thinking that I was miraculously cured, or suddenly happy, because I wasn’t. No, I was still the same old me. Still an empty sack of human being, emotionless and gray. But amidst all that gray, I was able to catch that little ray of hope, simply because I knew I wasn’t alone.

The thing about being alone is that you get used to it. I myself got so used to it that I never thought to turn to anyone else for help. I was so terribly accustomed to the feeling of not being able to share with anyone that when the time came, I was still hesitant. If I had known how much it would help to share, I would have long ago. I urge you, dear readers, share. You’re not alone.

Hope, for me, was sharing. Hope, for me, brought change. And change, for me, was what I had been searching for.

depression

The Doctor

I’m back, my dear readers, and today I would like to share with you how this all began.

Looking back, I can’t pinpoint a day or even month in which I started this journey. I can recall back as far as the seventh or eighth grade having these feelings, just not on such a large scale.

I think that depression isn’t something that just happens one day. It’s not like a heart attack, or like a case of the stomach flu. There isn’t one definitive way of knowing. On the contrary, it builds up over time. You start noticing things here and there, and you think “it can’t be. I can’t have depression. I’m normal. I don’t wanna cut myself or die”. As true as that may be, listen to the warning signs.

The day I decided to see a doctor was a big day for me. A large step in the healing process. I had held back for so long, afraid of telling anyone, and afraid of being judged. I wasn’t one of those girls who cut, or wrote sad poetry, or wore all black. I wasn’t tragic or lonely. I had friends and a family who cared about me. I thought that since I didn’t fit into any of the book or movie or television stereotypes that I had to hide it.

I beg of you, dear readers, if you feel like this, please don’t hide it from anyone.

The first person I told was my boyfriend. He notices everything about me, and he could tell when I was having one of my off days. Those days where no matter what I accomplished, how much he told me he loved me, or how much outward fun I had, I was still feeling hopelessly empty inside. Even knowing that he knew, it was still a hard conversation. He eventually convinced me that I should talk to my doctor, if not for me then for him.

You see, that’s one of the things about depression. You never do stuff for yourself, because you just don’t deserve it. I mean, you do, but you don’t think that you do. But I knew I had to do it for him. He deserved everything that I could give him. So I called the doctor and made an appointment.

I was numb for most of the appointment, and numb while picking up my prescription from the pharmacy, all I could think of was “why me. Am I broken? What’s wrong with me”. Later that night, I drove an hour to sit down and tell my parents. This, my dear readers, was the hardest part of the whole journey so far.

The second the word depression left my mouth, my own mother held up a hand and told me that she didn’t believe it. Before the rest of my sentence was finished, she told me that I had friends, I had a loving family, I had a great education, a great boyfriend, and was getting everything I wanted in life. I let her finish her bit, and then I told her. I told her that I knew all of that, and that was precisely why I was seeking help. Because no matter how much good there was in my life, I was still just an empty husk of a person. And even after I acknowledged how happy anyone else in my shoes would be, I still didn’t feel happy. That moment dear readers, was so liberating.

With my parents and my boyfriend in the loop, and my medication in my pocket, I headed back home hoping that the next day would be a fresh start. And it was, in more ways than one.

depression · introduction

Hello, World

Hello, dear readers.

None of you know me, but that’s okay. In time, you will.

We live in a world where some people glorify mental illness, and some people don’t acknowledge it at all. When it’s something beautiful, or something tragic, it grips society like a fever. Communities show their support. People band together like never before. But when it’s something more hidden, less tragic and beautiful… That, my dear readers, is when you have to be there for yourself. In fact, you might even compare it to the prom queen and a geek. Everyone loves the prom queen. Hell, that’s why she made queen, isn’t it? But the geek. She gets looked over by the cute boy she has a crush on. She gets passed up by the popular cliques at school. And that is precisely why I’m here.

I guess not everyone in the world knows what this is like. For me, it’s become something normal. Something so normal, in fact, that I forget on occasion that my closest friends and family aren’t also feeling what I’m feeling. I’m here to walk you all through it. And by it, I mean everything.

I’ll start with what I’m feeling now, and work my way up. Dear readers, I’ll take you every step of the way. From day one, today, until you no longer need me and I no longer need you. I hope that by the end of this, you can see the prom queens and the geeks of the universe as the same people, because in reality, we are.

Soon, dear readers, we will be the best of friends.