To waken this morning with some inspiration and a feeling of creativity running through me was a relief! I have been so stuck, so depressed for what felt like so long, I didn’t know if I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. Were my eyes just closed or had the light gone forever. Today the eyes opened and the deep need to write came to me again. Not just writing to put words on paper, like I do for my job, but real writing. Like a force that needs to flow out of me or the waves will pull me back into the storming ocean.
This has been a period of surrender. I have surrendered before and each time it does not become any more comfortable. This time I had to look in the mirror and surrender to the realization that I have pushed and defense mechanism-ed myself through a life of depression. Even to write this now a depth of shame washes over me. A questioning of my inner strength. Why can’t I just “affirmation” my way through this? Why do the things I love so dearly, not bring me joy? There isn’t enough dance, surf or community to bring me out of my emptiness. There isn’t anything I or anyone else can do to “cheer me up”.
I am optimistic by nature. I believe in the best in people. I am always ready to try new things and am grateful for the life I live. Yet there have been times in my life when none of that have mattered. Just like everything in life, society wants to categorize it, put it in a nice little box wrapped up in a bow; this is what depression looks like! Either you fit this mold or you don’t. Life doesn’t work that way. Depression, just like everything else in life, is a spectrum! I am a stubborn little bitch, so when I get into these periods I continue to bull my way through life. From the outside, no one will know the inner turmoil I might be feeling. On the inside, I want to give up. Nothing is worth the pain and struggle I feel.
So, I put on my mask and plugged along until I got tired of looking for the mask. Over three years ago I put down the mask. Wow, is the world ever bright! Wow, is the world ever dark! The stark extremes I have finally begun to feel, felt as though they would literally kill me, at times. Some days were so wrapped in a surreal beauty, I lived heaven on earth. Some days I laid in bed with an emptiness that felt more meaningless than I could have imagined possible.
I do the work, I eat well, I exercise, I live a healthy life, I meditate, I see a therapist, I live the life I love living…most of the time…and yet none of that was enough to keep me from having bouts of depression. I could always attach them to some trigger. Moving 7 times in less than a year; that was enough to make anyone feel blue, right??? Ending a relationship that never got a real chance to grow due to circumstances, who wouldn’t get sad? One of my closest friends for the last few years dying of breast cancer, that one deserves a level of grief worthy of major depression! Yet all the times in between were also peppered with this disproportionate feeling of unresolved anguish.
Then I surrendered, only a few weeks ago, after decades of needlessly hiding who I really am out of shame for admitting I have depression, a mental illness!?! I finally acquiesced to trying medication. The first few weeks were worse than before but I knew this could be the case and my ever hopeful self hung on. Until today, when I woke up and things felt brighter. The sun in shining in the land of Pura Vida, even though the morning started off overcast. Even in the overcast I felt hopeful, I felt positive. Right now I feel good,I feel creative and ready to begin sharing again.
I hope if this resonated with you, you will reach out for help. Only through my community have I been able to accept myself.
So blessed! Jen