It’s funny how things happen. How sometimes, a seamlessly, insignificant trip to the store can turn into an eye-opening event. It’s been awhile since I’ve posted, well, it’s been almost a year, and it saddens me to think of all the time I’ve lost, but also makes me smile as I sit here understanding that the reason it’s been so long is the same reason I feel the need to begin again.
When I started this blog back in August of last year I was on a path I knew was mine. I felt as if I was moving with the current of my life and that things were falling into place so effortlessly. I was back where I was meant to be, and there was nothing that would get in my way. What I wasn’t expecting was the same darkness that kept me from this path in the past would creep up once again. You see, not long after I began this most recent journey I had unexpected health issues that involved surgery, which put me out of commission for approximately six weeks. While surgery went smoothly, and physically, I fully recovered, I was completely unaware of what it would do to me mentally.
When I was younger, and in different times in my adulthood, I suffered from bouts of anxiety and depression. Back then, if you would have asked me, I would have said I was fine and that there was nothing wrong with how I acted, reacted, or led my life. I would say this because I truly and deeply felt that was the truth. I didn’t feel there was anything wrong with never smiling, hating the world, screaming my side of a story, crying for no reason, and having no energy to even lift a cigarette to my mouth. The panic attacks would make me nervous, but because they happened even on a good day, I believed it was just who I was. When confronted about the possibility that this was not normal, I would blame my situation or everyone around me. Never did I stop to think that something may actually be off with me.
That’s the thing about depression, when you’re in it, you don’t even know it, and when do know it, you have no idea how to get out of it, and sometimes no desire to. It can feel like the most comfortable place in the world to be, but also as if something has a hold of your insides and just won’t let go. This is teamed with intense anxiety and uncontrollable thoughts that overcome you even when you try your hardest to be rational, making even the most sane person feel crazy.
After years of not knowing where these feelings came from I now believe that hormones are my why. When I was younger, keeping busy helped, and as an adult I learned to recognize these bouts and would attempt to fight back, winning most battles, but it wasn’t until I was on birth control or hormone therapy did I get any true reprieve. Not saying this is the answer for everyone, it has been a very long time since I had these feelings. However, unfortunately, even at a peak of positivity in my life, to my dismay, I found myself back in this place after surgery. I stopped writing, running, engaging and even wanting to get out of bed. At first, I didn’t recognize this familiar darkness because it had been so long, but once I did, I realized I had to fight back, and started to make changes, and the first one was to talk about it. It’s taken months, but I can finally say, I’m feeling myself once more, and I’m ready to begin this journey once again.
I tell this story, not for pity, but for hope. Depression and anxiety are real, they are not made-up feelings to get attention. You may not suffer from it yourself, but I guarantee you know someone who does. If you met me, you may never have thought, and to many, this will come as a complete surprise. We have been taught to be ashamed of it, told to deal with it, or just plain get over it. If only it were that simple. I was able to overcome because someone listened when I recognized it in myself, someone was there when I made myself ask for help, and someone encouraged me to allow myself to be helped. I wasn’t always able to do this, and not everyone can, so they need support. Listen, don’t judge, and don’t assume you understand or have the answers, just be there. For those who do suffer, talk, don’t assume we know, ask for help, and you may be surprised how many are listening. There is light after the darkness and there is a path there, but sometimes it takes more than the will to overcome, you may need a strong soul or an army to have your back, but it is possible, I know.
After several months MIA, I wasn’t sure if I would be led back to writing again, and even if I was, I really didn’t know how I would pick back up. Thoughts of what I would say or if I should even attempt it, ran over and over in my head. It wasn’t until a seemingly, insignificant trip to the store did I realize that it was time to find my voice again. The pictured quote was written on a wooden plaque as I passed through looking for a card, and at first glance I continued to walk by, but I couldn’t get it out of my head. Before I left the store that day I bought it and hung it over my desk. Nothing spoke more truth to me at that moment. I needed to tell my story, and my story involved struggles, my story involved depression and anxiety, my story involved hope, my story involved real happiness, and my story mattered, and if I do nothing else, I’m going to honor it. So I’m back, and I’m looking forward to many more chapters.
Honor your story, whatever it may be, because you never know, one word, one moment or one seemingly insignificant trip, can change your course or even the course for someone else.
Lots of Love,