The Process

When you have a brain that doesn’t cooperate with how you think it should operate you sometimes find yourself hyper-aware of your own emotional processes.

Today, one of my favorite yoga instructors and a dear friend, sent me a link to a post by Jennifer Pastiloff about her going back on her anti-depression meds with a note that said

“hi ♥,

I came across this video … I love Jen and her rawness. I thought you would find it interesting … she speaks openly and candidly about her depression, prescriptions, etc.

I would love to hear your thoughts.

love you and miss you. perhaps we have dinner/drinks soon?”

When I finished reading it (I couldn’t watch the video until later), I sat at my desk and did everything I could to not cry.

Confession: A few tears couldn’t be helped.

I wanted to sprawl out on the office floor just so I could be closer to the ground. I need to be grounded, literally on the ground, to process this.

I felt guilty for thoughts I thought months ago. I felt guilty for seeing people step into their light and shine and thinking, sometimes even saying, “What bullshit. No one has that perfect of a life!” And knowing damn well all I was seeing was the high light reel of their life via social media.

Funny thing about depression, positive people piss you off.

It hurts to see anything other than your own misery. It reminds you that something other than your misery exists and all the positive lovey-dovey crap seems so inauthentic and unattainable. Then I sometimes want to kick over other people’s sand castles. Then more guilt. SO MUCH GUILT.

Then I felt relief.

“…there was a little part of me that was afraid that I was shooting myself in the foot by talking so openly about this stuff. I realized, however, that this was precisely why I had to share. I want to take the stigma away from this. I am not encouraging you to walk down the street vomiting your secrets or over-sharing. But I realize there is so much shame and misunderstanding surrounding mental health and depression that perhaps I would be doing a great disservice if I wasn’t forthcoming. After all, I am not ashamed, so why not speak of it?”

I have been struggling with this fear. I’m in a place where I’m becoming more open to building new personal and professional relationships, and I’m afraid those people will look me up, read everything I’ve written, and be unable to separate me from my depression and anxiety.

I’m terrified people will only see me as a ticking time bomb of crazy just waiting to explode. 

I am not my depression.

I am not my anxiety.

And I’m pretty positive I don’t want to have relationships with people who don’t see me as a whole person.

Then I resisted feeling gratitude. To me, gratitude is a gift I sometimes think I don’t deserve to feel, but it demands to be felt.

I am thankful for those who have reached out to me to tell me I’m not alone.

I’m thankful for those who have said they felt less alone because of my words.

I’m thankful for those who reach out to say “I’m thinking of you.”

Without the relationships I do have, I would have likely lost this battle many times.

I will possibly always struggle with anxiety and depression. I think being honest and open about it all has been one of the reasons I have had so many good days recently, and why I know there are more good days–and bad ones–on the way.

I’m nervous about all of them, I’m nervous about not being able to keep my shit together on the bad days, and I’m worried about enjoying myself too much on the good days, but it’s one day at a time and every day I learn and grow and struggle and I’m here, in the present, living.

 

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