anxiety

ASPIRING, Sharing

A CANDID NEW YEAR POST


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Today is January 1st, 2019 and I don’t feel anything like they say you are suppose to on this day…

I don’t feel like I’m filled with hope or positivity. In fact I feel the opposite. I feel hopeless and a whole lot of anger. Hopeless to my current circumstance and angry at myself for feeling this way on this day dedicated to new beginnings! Angry that I’m here. Angry that I’m not better even in this moment. Angry that I don’t feel like giving to those around me. Angry that I’m mad at them for not being there for me the way I want them to. Angry that I’m still needing the external validation despite knowing better. Angry that I’m taking this life for granted in this moment. I am just so angry for being HERE.

I felt moved to share these not so festive feelings so that those of you that are feeling the same way know you are not alone. Maybe these words will bring an unexpected comfort to a stranger half way around the world or maybe even to my neighbor next door masked in anonymity. I know putting them out there has somehow transformed the feelings inside me just now. Brought me an inch closer to feeling peace in the raging storm of my mind.

Just don’t give up on yourself. Not this year. Not today. Not yet. You are not alone.


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Depression Does Not Discriminate


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Depression is something I have been experiencing for a long time now. I believe for me it showed up in middle school and has followed me into adulthood.

The first signs started in middle school,  when I first learned that my parents really fought and that my dad was and abusive man. To top it off I was dealing with changes my body was going through and the new found weight of societal expectations for teenage girls; what it meant to be beautiful, intelligent, and valued as a female.

But it wasn’t that big of a deal… right? Everyone deals with this stuff.

By the end of grade 10 my grades started to reflect a significant decline. I was tired all the time, had a hard time focusing on homework at home. This was out of the norm for me. I was a curious kid and always enjoyed learning. Despite the changes I still managed to keep up with AP classes, Varsity sports and Choir. I was an involved kid. I like it that way. The less time I had to spend at home the better. No big deal. Normal teenage stuff… right?

Slowly though the things that mattered to me all became muted, lack luster and lost meaning. I found myself being associated with descriptives like “lazy” and “fat” from family. But I didn’t see myself like that at all. I was trying… it just wasn’t showing for some reason. I became a source of frustration for my parents because they couldn’t figure out why on earth I couldn’t get my act together despite having everything I could possibly need handed to me to be happy and successful.

And I couldn’t figure it out either. Why was it so hard to just do it (Nike swoosh). I knew I was more than capable in many ways yet all my energy seemed to be drained by trying to be ready to be ready.  I would try to reason with myself (even up until a few years ago) by citing all the opportunities and support I have received through out my life from friends and family. But it would only frustrate me and fuel the torch that I was carrying that I did not have a valid or good enough reason to be depressed. I couldn’t be depressed. That was something that only happened to the weak of mind… right?

It became a vicious cycle that never led to any improvement. And to make matters worse people close to me fueled that flame further by re-iterating the “facts”. That I had no reason to be depressed. I was too “strong” and had so many cushiony things to be thankful for.

I don’t blame them for giving me bad advise though. People just didn’t know better. Honestly, most still don’t because it is the same mindless advise handed down to them. Although there is a shift taking place, most people are not being educated on mental health.

Till this day, as an adult that struggles with depression, I hear this misinformed advise pop up in conversations often. It usually takes form in the guise of a well intended pep-talk. ” Don’t be silly. Look on the bright side! You have so much to be thankful for (insert job, car, house, etc.) You just need to work a little harder, be more motivated or stop being so sensitive.”

Really? Its maddening. For many different reasons. But the main reason is that there is this pervasive notion that someone has to reach a subjective standard of being in a truly shit circumstance to be worthy of being able to feel or be depressed. Furthermore if you manage to jump that hurdle you better be prepared to jump another one to get over the stigma associated with seeking help for it. And if you don’t meet the subjective acceptable levels of being in a rough spot then be prepared to dawn the label of being a drama queen, someone that doesn’t take ownership or just being plain lazy.

Look I’m not advocating for depression to be a scapegoat for individuals who happen to be carriers of the not so great attributes listed above. But there is a difference between being plain lazy and being depressed. It may or may not be so obvious at times;  but thats were the aid of your friendly mental healthcare practitioner or simply spending time researching the topic would come in handy. Mmmk.

We don’t question someones validity to be sick when they are diagnosed with a cold or especially with something like cancer. So why do we question them when they are experiencing a form of psychological illness? It makes no sense.

Colds and Cancer don’t discriminate. Neither does depression.

It doesn’t matter what your socio economic class is, how tall you are, what color your skin is, what your age is, what your sex is, what car you drive or what your home mortgage costs every month. Depression can happen to anyone. It is not some right you have to earn to be justified in experiencing it. It just happens.

You are allowed to feel it, talk about it, and most importantly seek help for it no matter who you are or what your life circumstance is.

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GRATITUDE


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I realize that my life is not vastly different from others when juxtaposed to the big picture of life. It’s kind of like placing a black and white anatomical sketch of dendrites next to a sketch of trees. Ok maybe thats not the best comparison (better suited for a discussion of fractal time and self-similar processes)…but you know what I mean…Right? I know I will most likely never be able to relate to the ups and downs in my life solely from the collective vantage point of “we”. Therefore rendering me almost completely incapable of being able to go through life with total understanding and non-reactive to the moments I experience… I will always and forever relate to the good and the bad in my life from an inevitably framed mind set of “Me!”. It’s a simple truth. My life is about me. As much as I try to humble myself by acknowledging the hardships others endure or am just in awe of some random persons $2k per day lifestyle. Someone else’s ups and downs will never create the same magnitude of waves as my personal up’s and down’s. And you know what. That is more than just ok.

Recently I have been dealing with a lot of stress and anxiety due to various “issues” that have popped up in life. Some re-occuring (I should look into that) and some new. But in relation to these obstacles I have been minimizing my feelings and beating myself up for feeling stressed, anxious and depressed. I keep telling myself to SUCK IT UP because there are a ton of people out there that have it way worse than you… Or GET IT TOGETHER WOMAN (spoken in the most dramatic voice you can imagine) because there are people counting on you (like myself, family &friends etc.) But that never helps. If anything it just worsens my mood. Because it’s not about “them” it’s about me. What I’m trying to say is. Im learning it’s ok to feel crappy. It’s ok to make it about me. That’s the only way to heal. Because when you start making it about you, that’s when you find out what works for you and what doesn’t. And when you give yourself a chance to get in touch with you.. well thats when you begin to make informed choices on the next best move in the game of life for you. And when you “do you” you feel good. And when you feel good that’s when your able to truly give from a place of joy. And that is the best kind of being in my opinion.

So in an effort to “do me” I’m learning what I am about. Instead of beating myself up like I normally would (which was a result of learned behavior and expected behavior from others close to me) I have chosen to show myself some gratitude and compassion. Gratitude being the key lesson this week. Just working on being grateful for the littlest things that are in MY life makes a huge difference in how I feel and relate to moments. And as crazy as it sounds I’m also working on being grateful for the things that stress me out every now and then. Because it forces me to see some sort of silver lining; right now it’s more gray than silver but it does the job. When I’m focused on the good it’s easier for me to come up with a constructive solution to alleviate the bad. And call me crazy but when I feel good I start noticing more good in my life. And the good keeps getting easier and easier to identify. And that my friends is a result of your brain strengthening the little roads in your head that the little Joy character (you know from the movie Inside Out) likes to visits in your brain. And when your joy on the inside (physiologically) then you can’t help but reflect being joy on the outside. And at the end of it all. That IS what really matters.