January has been such a roller coaster ride of feelings. I've gone back and forth from motivated to full blown panic; full of laughter to crying; and excited about life to isolating myself. Hey there, moderate to severe clinical depression and anxiety disorder, who invited you anyway? It feels awful to be so all over the place; and to be truthful, it gives me a horrible guilty feeling. Right now you might be asking "Why would you feel guilty? Your brain is just wired differently." Which is true. The teeny tiny logical part of myself that remains when I'm going through a depressive episode knows that. But here's the thing; mental illness is much, much louder. Sometimes it's harder to get out of the forest than other times.
My intention for this post is not to complain or have a pity party. I want this to educate others, and let my other forest dwellers know that they aren't alone in the dark woods of depression. Part of the reason for starting this blog was to be as open and transparent as possible, both in the good and the ugly times. This is my little part in helping to end the stigma of mental health issues.
Mental health looks different for everybody, so I can't really speak for anyone but myself. But I do know that many of our experiences have similarities and it helps when someone else has felt what you're going through, so I drew this picture to illustrate my own version of what depression and anxiety looks like. It's an ugly and shameful picture, and to be honest I ripped it up right after I made it. But I want to get a point across here - this is how frighteningly loud mental illness is. Even though the teeny tiny part of the real you is still there, it's overshadowed by lies.
Depression can look like a lot of things. It can look like staying in bed all day and having a messy house or room. It can look like overwhelming sadness and hopelessness. It can look like everything is normal when you're at work but you can't sleep at night because of your insecurities. It can take the form of mania. It can show itself in so many ways. Disclaimer: I'm not a doctor or an expert - I'm just speaking from my own experience here.
So while I'm wallowing in my current episode, I thought I would get real with y'all. That's what I'm about. I'm going to go see my parents today and take a shower. If I can muster the energy (we'll see), I'll try to get a milkshake. To be honest I don't feel like I deserve one. I did wake up today (always a blessing) and I took some time to write, but I'm not all the way better. It's not so easy to pull myself up by the boot straps - I feel like I've only got one sock on.
I don't want to keep rambling on and on (remember this isn't a pity party). But if you're in the forest too, come find me. We can find our way out together. Maybe we can find someone else with a map?
If you need it, please call the Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-8255. There is no shame. You are worth it. The world is better because of you, and I want you here.