What most people believe about struggling with depression and anxiety v.s. what it’s really like.
I am positive.
I am happy.
I am loving.
I am generous.
I am encouraging.
My mentors, my friends, my family – these are all the things they say to me. They tell me again and again these sweet words that I love to hear, so much. I am thrilled, and honored at the same time to be recognized socially and professionally as an ideal person, I feel as if I should have it all together. I feel as if I could take the things I’ve gone through, and really help others. I feel as if I could listen to people for days about their hurts, and their passions and be excited for them. Cry with them. Hurt with them. I feel as if I am whole –
At least, I felt this way.
That’s the thing about depression – it’s sneaky, and it’s silent. You almost won’t even notice it, for what it actually is. It manifests itself in physical way, and emotionally you feel out of control. It eats up every ounce of you on the inside. Putting words to this sinking feeling is almost impossible and it’s totally embarrassing. I’ve been fighting this fight off & on for several years now – noticing my first real struggles around the age of 13 or so. It sounds silly, honestly….because in the mind of most people depression is a “woe is me” mentality. To most people – those struggling with depression should suck it up, and stop feeling sorry for themselves. To most people, the ones dealing with depression are negative and want everything handed to them.
That couldn’t be any further from the truth – and I truly believe I am a living example of this, as are many others.
b (1) : a state of feeling sad : dejection anger, anxiety, and depression (2) : a psychoneurotic or psychotic disorder marked especially by sadness, inactivity, difficulty in thinking and concentration, a significant increase or decrease in appetite and time spent sleeping, feelings of dejection and hopelessness, and sometimes suicidal tendencies bouts of depression suffering from clinical depressionc (1) : a reduction in activity, amount, quality, or force a depression in trade (2) biology : a lowering of physical or mental vitality or of functional activity
Here’s the truth about depression:
1. I don’t feel sorry for myself.
Sure….I’ve had some struggles. I’ve been in situations some people will never go through, and others that may have had worse. I’ve had my share of identity issues and insecurities. I’ve been hurt – I’ve healed… I’ve tried methods to numb myself and taken journeys to find myself. I’ve worked hard to love myself – with an unconditional love. It has been an exhausting 23 years – and I plan to go another 60 years at least. I have plans for myself and for my life – I’ve honestly had a good life with some of the most beautiful friends and supportive family members I could ever imagine. I love my life, I don’t feel sorry about it because I know without the experiences I’ve had and the way each moment molds me…I wouldn’t be the person I am today. ❤
2. It’s not a choice
This feeling of being “down in the dumps” isn’t really a choice. I have control over my thinking and my positive thoughts – sure, but what I don’t have absolute control over is the stickiness that sits heavily on my shoulders. It’s not so much that I have negative thoughts or that I am sad – it’s more of a feeling in my chest and in my gut. Just an overall heaviness that I don’t always feel strong enough to lift off by myself. Staying positive gets me through the days when I feel overwhelmed or sad. I can choose to think positive and make it through the days but I don’t get a choice in the burden I sometimes feel from the daily in and outs of life.
3. I keep going
Being in the Army, I’ve learned even when it hurts you just have to keep going. We’re taught and mentored to just suck it up, with almost anything we do. I can honestly say that if I were to take one lesson from my experience in the Army, it would be the realization that I am stronger than I ever thought. I have always thought of myself as strong, and independent. Making it through each day isn’t the tough part – it’s looking at the long haul that sometimes gets me wound up. I try my hardest for the most part, not to give up on anything I try, just because I know at the end of it i’ll have another story to add to my book.
4. I work my @#$ off
I have no choice, honestly. If I were to slack off or cut corners, my team would have to work twice as hard to cover for me – and I definitely won’t let that happen. I don’t want things handed to me…although it would be nice, I don’t feel like I get a real appreciation for the things I have unless I work for it. I’m working roughly 12 hours a day alongside the rest of my team here with Uncle Sam. We’re up before the sun, and sometimes we don’t leave work until the sun is down again. It’s rough, but we signed up for it and it’s our obligation to make the most of it. I’m also in college, working toward my dream – Pulxe – and all that it will one day become. I’m also just married, so it’s not just about me anymore…and I find myself keeping busy with my husband. It’s so easy to get lost in time and get distracted. As much as I love blogging and creating the foundation of Pulxe, sometimes I just don’t have the motivation to make a post or share my feelings because I’m just plain exhausted. I know so many of you feel this too! We’re in this together – but don’t ever let someone discourage you because you’re feeling down and need a little push.
5. Positive thoughts
Seriously, this is my liiiife. Although I have my demons and struggles with depression and anxiety, I stay pretty positive. This is something I’ve been told throughout the years, and I never really noticed it until more recently as I’ve gotten older. It’s weird, but most of the time I DO see the good in life. I see the beauty – I see the potential – I see the outcome. I plan to spend the next 60 years of my life loving myself, my husband, my career….everything. There is so much good to see and so much life to experience. I would say for the most part – my circle of negative thoughts and criticism is directed toward myself. I’m tough on myself, probably the toughest anyone will ever be on me. I have high standards for myself morally, and to be honest I fail a lot. I talk too much, I hurt feelings, I make mistakes – and I beat myself up about it in hopes that I’ll do better next time. So even though I struggle with this heaviness, I want it to be known to the world & to everyone else that life really, really, reaallly is good. 🙂
6. I cope
I would say I’m generally super-motivated when it comes to my coping skills. These are things that light the little fire in my soul and give me that little push of inspiration everyday. I write, I take pictures, I workout…a lot. I’m a work in progress, and I love it because in creating myself I get to use these tools that excite me. These methods that ignite that passion I have and it literally makes me smile. Everyone has their “it” factor. When you’re down, or you’ve had a rough week…what do you do to de-stress? I turn up my music…dance around a little, read my pocket devotional with some genius quotes that help me remember why i love life so much! All of these little things, I’m telling you now I could go on forever about.
My conflict with depression, and with anxiety – It’s not the breaker for me. It inspires me, it moves me to make change in my life. Sometimes it pulls me down a little, just below the surface of the water so that when I need that breath of fresh air – it reminds me how much I love the life I live. I couldn’t be more in love with the blessings I’ve been given. To be honest it isn’t easy – there are days I’m just like “WHY?!?!” – But then it lets up and I get that fresh air and I’m like “This is the push I needed” .
Sadness and stress, once I’ve done some coping and reflecting, are exactly what I need in my life to keep me focused and driven to do the things that I really have a passion for.