You may have noticed things have been kind of quiet on the blog lately.
Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about you all or turned in my laptop, I’ve simply been getting better.
I’ve tried to write this post so many different times, but never had the right words. To be honest, I’m not sure I currently do, but I just couldn’t be quiet any longer. I’ve spent so many years burying so many things; it’s time to be real.
While my family did succumb to that nasty upper respiratory virus that was going around this winter (several times, in fact), that’s not what I’ve been getting better from. Like many women, young mothers, wives, adults, parents, human beings with responsibilities, I’ve been going through a lot, for a long time, like since high school. And I never really understood or accepted that there was something off about me, I kind of just pushed it aside and figured somewhere along the way it would fix itself. I would be fixed. I would be normal.
After a few months of feeling withdrawn, a few months of feeling off center, a few months of experiencing too-high-highs and too-low-lows, I finally opened up to my family and friends and asked for help.
What was the breaking point? There wasn’t an extreme one, more like a compilation of things adding up until enough was enough and something had to be done. I’ve spent the last month on a non-dependent, extremely mild medicine to help with my mood swings (it’s like the perfect PMS pill, OK, I’m kidding, kind of) and I’ve started talking more openly about my feelings.
So here’s the truth about being messed up.
Sometimes, actually, most of the time, it’s not your fault.
This has been a really, really hard one for me to accept. This is actually half of the reason it took me so long to seek treatment. I was convinced the problem wasn’t the chemicals in my brain or the hormones in my body, but instead, was me. It’s not like I was being dealt these terrible life cards or horrible problems in which I had to handle. No, it was the everyday nuances that were wearing me down. So in my head, it wasn’t that I was suffering from depression or anything, no, it was just me. I just wasn’t capable of properly coping with things the way «normal» people did, which in turn, was why I thought I was unhappy.
After a month of being on an incredibly low-dose anti-depressant, I can tell you, that wasn’t the way I was supposed to be feeling. That wasn’t my fault. It WASN’T that I was simply unable to properly «handle» things the way other people did, no, there really was an imbalance. Now, I feel more like me, ALL the time. I don’t have these periods of terrible mood swings, where anything could bring me to tears. Now, things just don’t seem so hard.
The other reason I put off addressing my issues for so long?
The guilt. The guilt I felt and am still dealing with. I had a wonderful childhood, a loving and present family, I was a talented athlete, I had friends, boyfriends, I did well in school, I fell in love, had two healthy, wonderful babies, have a beautiful home, an amazing career, the best of friends and a seemingly charmed life. I shouldn’t be unhappy when I have such a blessed life. In my mind, I wasn’t allowed to be «depressed,» what on Earth did I have to be depressed about? And because I was still feeling those things, I concluded something was just wrong with me. I wasn’t grateful enough. I wasn’t doing things the right way, I wasn’t trying hard enough. In my mind, I had nothing to be sad about, so what the heck was my problem?
The root of my problems, aside from the chemicals in my body toying with me, was that I never validated my feelings. That’s the problem with feelings, as much as you want to control them, you can’t really. If it were so easy to control them, we’d all choose to ignore jealousy, anger, frustration, irritation; we’d just shut them off and choose to be happy instead. But feelings aren’t like that. Feelings are messy. They pop up when we don’t want them to and if we don’t address them, well, it messes us up.
Just because I have an extremely awesome support network and am on an even more awesome path in life, doesn’t mean I won’t feel sad, mad, frustrated from time to time. Are people out there going through much more difficult storms than I am? Sure. Does that mean I’m not allowed to face ones of my own? Absolutely not. Not allowing yourself to be upset, just because someone out there has it worse, is like not allowing yourself to be happy because someone out there has it better. It’s just silly.
Does that mean I’m allowed to throw myself a 24/7 pity party? Heck no. And that’s why I finally sought treatment. That’s why I’m finally starting to feel like me again. That’s why I’m finally starting to discover who the real «me» is. I allow myself to feel what I’m feeling, and then I move on.
For the first time in YEARS, I’m experiencing things in a more positive light. And now, all the things I loved to do, coaching, having a family, writing, editing, baking, going out with friends, they’re all so much more enjoyable, because I’m not constantly fearing the low that will come after these «highs.»
I get it. I probably sound like the TV commercial where a cloud was following me around and now suddenly it’s sunny, but it’s really not like that. There are still clouds, still rain, but for once, I actually feel equipped to deal with these things. I actually AM handling things.
And for now, I’m a little less messed up.
I strongly encourage anyone experiencing these types of feelings to start a conversation with someone you trust. It’s completely OK to be messed up, but as I’m slowly learning, you don’t have to feel that way forever. It’s not easy to talk about these kind of things, but it should be. And if more of us speak out and share our stories, it makes it easier for someone else to.
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