When I started this blog I wanted to share positivity, be a source for encouragement, I want to empower and uplift. And sitting here, trying to get myself to write, I just couldn’t find my “flow.” The truth is, I’ve been struggling. I kept delaying, trying to force myself into the groove. And then I realized, finally, that sharing the fact that I’m struggling just may be empowering and uplifting for some. It’s also authentic. And so, I’ll share, my real deal world as it is right now.
Depression is something that’s been part of my reality for 20 years. Sometimes it’s in my face and has a huge impact, other times people would probably never guess. I haven’t needed medication for all of those 20 years, but it is something I’ve needed to be aware of and from time to time assess whether medication is the right answer. Currently, medication has been the right answer for almost 3 years now. The longest stretch I’ve been on it continuously. Even being on medication I am finding myself having days or weeks where I struggle.
Depression can be such a tricky monster. Sometimes it’s triggered by specific events, sometimes it’s simply a chemical imbalance. I have learned though, that it is part of a circle that can be difficult to step out of. For me, this last cycle was started with unresolved chronic pain that ultimately led me to choose to help myself with some medication. Ooooh, talk about a viscous circle! The chronic pain affected by ability to do the things I liked to do, and it also affected my ability to do the things I felt responsible for doing. Which lead to guilt. Which, for me, led to anger and defensiveness. Lots of unexplained crying. Never enough sleep in the world. More guilt. All of that and I’m a human being I struggle to like, never mind expect anyone else to like. My foundation of self-confidence shakes. I find myself looking for affirmations from my external world that I don’t normally look for. And for me, if I don’t get them, more crying, more defensiveness, anger. You terrible merry-go-round, I want off!
It’s not easy. It’s not easy on me and it’s not easy on the people in my world that love me. They’re also affected by it and all my myriad of emotions and behaviors that aren’t a good reflection of who I mostly am or even who I want to be. Neil has the difficult job of figuring out how to love both of me. Sometimes he does it well. Sometimes, understandably, he struggles. Despite the fact that I can understand his struggle, it also doesn’t make it easier and sometimes creates it’s own set of issues.
So I want you to know, if this speaks to you, I empathize. I understand. I pray for you, while I continue to pray for me. But I also want you to know, in case you don’t, that no matter what I’m going through, I never question my own worth.
I never question whether I deserve to be happy. Of course I do. I never question whether I deserve the love of others. Of course I do. I never question whether there’s a point to it all. There is. No matter how long I may be going through the cloud of depression I never allow myself to have a conversation with myself about whether there’s any hope at all. I choose to believe there is, each and every time. And that’s where that train of thought stops. It has to. I know there’s a way out. I also know it’s up to me to find that way. And that damn depression, what seems to give you a boost one afternoon, day, week, month or year might not be the answer the next time. But I keep trying. I gird up my loins and wade into the fight if you will. And quite honestly, because of it’s very nature, the very thing that can help you step off that merry go round could be the thing that’s the most difficult to do, or to stick with. Because you’re depressed, dammit. But I’m pretty special. I’ve got life to attend to, so step out of it I must. Some things that I find help me:
- God. When it’s at it’s worst, I’ve usually left Him further to the side then I should. I put that Bible in my own way and I read it. I try to set myself a routine, but if I miss it I don’t allow the guilt, anger or frustration at myself allow me to give up altogether. I pray way more. Especially if I don’t feel like it. If I don’t feel like it that’s a big loud speakerphone saying that’s when it’s most important. If you’ve only got energy for one thing, make God the one thing.
- Medication. I usually try to convince myself I can step out of it without medication until it’s further along then it has to be. If you’re wondering if it’s time for medication it is likely a little passed time. Go ahead. Let it help you get your foundation straight again.
- Essential Oils. I’ve found they add a fair amount of support and for me I’ve been able to increase my usage of the oils and avoid an increase in my dosage of medication. This has been a more recent find (the last couple years). Sometimes the hardest part of depression is even finding the energy to help yourself. I try to ensure at minimum that I diffuse them at night. If I do that I usually find I start my morning off better, which helps the day go better.
- Fessing Up. I’m usually trying to deny the effects of the depression to myself, so it can be difficult to open up to those that love me and ask for support. I find once I do that it’s an immediate relief. I’ve gotten better about knowing that when I least feel like talking about it is when it is most important to talk about it. Sometimes a simple reminder to myself that they’re confused about my behavior and what’s going on with me and that talking to them is the only fair way to treat them.
- Shake it Up. Sometimes a short vacation. A weekend spent in indulgence with loved ones, doing something you love, can fill you up with enough laughter and smiles to help your week get moving. And sometimes once your week gets moving you are able to put some other supports into place and then you’re on your way.
So always remember you are worth it. Of course you are!