This week, I’d like to continue to write honestly about how I haven’t been feeling the greatest. Part of me feels a little bit annoying and pitiful, but another part of me is screaming screw it! I started this blog to be transparent and honest, and to focus on mental health. And the honest truth is that life’s journey is full of ups and downs, and I will be damned if I have to hide the parts of my life that aren’t sunshine and rainbows.
As someone who is predisposed to depression, I have slowly started to realize (and am striving to accept) that I will always have a tendency to be pulled downward into the spiral of depression. Especially when life throws curve balls – and let’s face it: life is full of those!
I have a tendency to feel ashamed of my emotions, which often pushes me to repress my emotions, and then avoid situations that trigger those “negative” emotions. Because for some reason, over the years, I have erroneously assumed that crying and feeling down is wrong. I have lived with a constant need to prove to the people in my life (and mostly to myself) that “I’m okay”! And as soon as strong emotions arise, I panick.
I’ll always remember when an old boyfriend of mine told me that an ex had said to him “I don’t know how you are dating Michèle. She’s crazy!”
They are just words, meant to sting. Yet that comment has really stuck with me. I think because that’s what I fear the most – being crazy.
And honestly lately, it feels a little bit like I am going crazy! I’m trying to make decisions about what to do next, and I feel like I have no ground to stand on. I don’t know what is up and what is down anymore. I don’t know who I am, what I like and what I want or need.
It’s a really crappy feeling.
I’ve been dating this guy’s these past few weeks and I have been very open and honest with him about my mental health and my current struggles. And as I was telling him about how I am having a hard time getting out of bed and out of the house, he gently reflected and asked me “do you think you are depressed?”.
Tears welled up in my eyes as I considered his words.
Discussions about depression are always very difficult for me. They pack so much punch. I feel attacked and victimized, yet accused of being messed up. I feel so much shame. It’s hard for me not to hear “you are crazy”.
After giving it some thought over the last days, I think that this guy really was right in suggesting that I may be depressed at this moment.
At first I felt defeated. Here we go again. What did I do wrong? Or rather, what is wrong with me?
I have talked about going away to Central America for a few months this fall. And it dawned on me that I may just be escaping my reality, hoping to avoid any and every thing that may trigger difficult emotions or challenges.
As I forced myself to go for a walk outside yesterday, I searched the audible library for books on depression. That’s always my solution haha: read a book.
But then I thought about the dozens of self-help books I already own and haven’t read through. And I remembered a workbook that an old psychologist had suggested I use about a decade ago.
So yesterday, after coming back from my walk, I searched through my boxes of belongings in the basement and pulled out this book.
I am really glad I did, because it really resonates with me and is giving me honest hope that I can climb back out from the depths of my head, yet again. It helps re-frame depression, stating that depression is not a feeling, but rather an action. It talks about how depression is actually a health signal, letting us know that something is out of balance in our approach of living. It also helps me see how my actions, although well intended, are actually further contributing to feelings of sadness and hopelessness.
So, my goal this week is to read one chapter of this workbook every day, and implement the things I am learning. And to actually read through the whole book🙈. I’m hoping you guys will keep me accountable! There are 16 chapters, and I read chapter 1 today, so I should be checking in on September 18th with news of completion 🙃.
I’d like to end this post by offering myself and you guys a gentle reminder that it’s okay to be where we are at today. We are right where we are supposed to be. And the only way to move forward is to accept where we are, and take one little step at a time.
P.S. Thank you to everyone who reached out to me last week after I published my post – it honestly really helped pull me out of a dark place. I am grateful for each and everyone of you💜🙏