Introduction | This is a long, important, personal story. Not something I typically would post on here, however I felt the need to say something because I’ve had experience in this area and if I can offer some advice to someone, that’s what I’m going to do. So, please forgive the long post, but if you can take a few moments out of your day to read this and share this, it would be much appreciated. - I also wanted to mention I am fully aware that yesterday was Monday [my regular posting day] but, to be honest with you, I was wrestling with this post. Trying to perfect it and word it correctly so it may come across the way I would like for it to. So if you would also forgive me for the delay in posting this week, that would be appreciated as well. Disclaimer | I’m all about transparency and honesty, and I don’t write any of these next personal thoughts as a call for pity or help. I question even putting my story on this blog because private lives should be private, however, I feel like this part of my life is necessary to mention if I long for true genuity on this blog. My story might help someone somewhere, and if it does that’s all that matters to me.
This is difficult for me to write because I have kept this piece of my life hidden for so long, that it almost feels unreal to talk about in public. I’ve struggled with depression for a while. It comes in waves, but it’s always kind of there. Looking over my shoulder. Ready to pounce at any given time. It’s different for everyone, and it’s severity is unique to person. I find that when it hits, I never want to leave my bedroom. You’d think that sleeping all the time would make the bags under my eyes go away. But when the wave of depression overtakes me, I tend to look like I haven’t slept in 10 days. My skin gets more pale than usual. I feel negative toward myself, the way I look, the way I perform in school, the way I carry myself.
Am I smart enough to finish college? Am I a good girlfriend? Am I a good enough person? Will I ever accomplish my dreams?
The light goes out in my eyes. I know because I see myself. I’m not completely blind to the way I carry myself when an episode occurs. Mostly because my family is so supportive and they love me enough to tell me when I don’t look like myself. You always hear people talking about how they put on a mask for outsiders when this internal battle takes place, because you don’t want people to know how much you’re hurting on the inside. I happen to be a pro in this area in particular. Nobody would know my innermost thoughts and feelings. I don’t plaster my mental health issues all over the internet so everyone can feel sorry for me. I don’t plaster my mental health issues anywhere. Period. It’s my own personal battle, I’m not going to show any sign of struggle. When in reality I just want to take a nap and forget the world is a thing.
My (unhealthy) mentality: smile through the pain and maybe I can distract myself for long enough to where it goes away completely. Kind of like hiccups. Except it doesn’t work that way. You can’t flip a switch to turn off depression. And you sure as heck can’t get rid of it by drinking water from a glass cup with a silver spoon inside like you can with hiccups.
When I’m fighting against the tide, all I do is beat myself up about everything. The longer the wave lasts, the more emotionally impaired I become. Once it’s over, I feel exceptionally better physically, but I'm emotionally damaged and my confidence has thus plummeted. It takes a lot to rebuild myself after I’ve been wrecked, which is why I’m writing this post. I haven’t shared my story because I believed that this sickness was a sign of weakness, and how could I DARE show an ounce of weakness to anyone ever?! I realized that I needed to get over myself and encourage someone.
I’ve found that the mask I put on when my heart is hurting, is not good for me. Instead of focusing on how others will look at me when I show a single speck of sadness, or when the wave will pass, I should be focusing on my inner spirit. The WHY of it all. Yes depression sneaks up out of nowhere and sometimes it can feel random and inconvenient. Oh we’re going to wallow in self-pity NOW? Okay fine. But there’s usually a good explanation for when it happens within me. I will absolutely speak for nobody else when I say - I’m simply longing for happiness in a world that only offers temporary satisfaction.
When I put my faith and trust in anything other than God, that’s when it sneaks up on me. I’m well aware of the consequences of taking my life in my own hands and relying on anything or anyone else, because it’s a dark place. God has promised to take care of me. It’s in His word that he has plans for me, yet I think I can take my life and steer it in another direction. Absolutely not.
When I put my trust in earthly things, I’m constantly disappointed. I have extremely high expectations for the people around me, and nobody knows to what standard I hold them accountable. This is a recipe for disaster. I have this idea in my head that life is like a movie, and beautiful wonderful things happen and that people will come through for me when I need them, just like I come through for them when they need me. I am disappointed every time. I never share what I truly want from a person, because in my crazy brain, they apparently should already know my heart. I am extremely observant, I overthink every little detail to make everything perfect, I bust by butt and bend over backwards for everyone and anyone who needs me. And I foolishly expect the same from everybody else. It’s unfair of me to expect so much from people. They are not me. They can not be held accountable for the unrealistic standards to which I have held myself.
I know God has given me this tender spirit for a reason, but it definitely comes at a price. I have way too much trust in people when I should be trusting in God. When this occurs, something happens in my mind that says I’m not good enough. And the wave hits me. I recognize the cause, I am actively attempting to do whatever I can to dig to the root of this depression and gain freedom from it’s bounds. You have no idea what’s going on in the lives of the people around you. So the first piece of advice I have for you is something you most likely already know, but I’m going to reiterate this point because it is extremely important in every day life: be kind to people around you, and to the people with whom you interact.
If you struggle with depression, know that, firstly, you’re not alone. I know this seems like a given because 350 million people in the world share this same mental illness. But it’s always nice to hear that people are actively trying to beat depression after hearing their personal stories. It turns the statistic into actual, living, breathing humans. Secondly, medications aren’t always the answer - though sometimes necessary, they’re a shallow, temporary fix to a much more deeply-rooted issue. I’ve seen a therapist about mine, and she opened my eyes to this much more deep-seeded issue in my life. I recommend talking to someone safe about your innermost thoughts and feelings. When your waves hits, catch it in the act. Recognize the WHY, and if you can’t figure it out, talk with someone about what’s on your mind as you’re stuck in the current. Have them ask you questions to reveal more and more to you. You don’t have to ride this wave anymore. Depression is serious and you can be free from it if you just find your why, and tackle it will full force. Don’t let it rule you.
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T H A N K Y O U S O M U C H, I L Y
[This song is where the title originated from]