You Are Worth Fighting For

(This blog is made up of a variety of funny, quirky and sometimes serious and heavy posts, because that is what makes up who I am.  I can’t be one without the other.  The following post was written over a year ago, but I am re-posting it now, because these are the kinds of conversations that need to be had, and they need to be had often. )

IMG_20170420_123936_865

Depression isn’t always an easy topic to discuss.  It is confusing, overwhelming, and often misunderstood.  One of the most frustrating things about being depressed is having people tell you that it’s all in your head, that happiness is a choice, or that if you really put your mind to it, you can overcome anything.  You can’t just shake off depression any more than you can shake off a cold.  It is inside of you, it consumes you, it becomes everything about you.  It grabs hold of you with its dark, heavy arms, and pulls you down into a jumbled pile of devastating nothingness.

Depression is sometimes described as a battle that needs to be fought, but to me, that’s only part of it.  Living with depression is more than just a struggle.  It is finding yourself buried beneath the weight of your own worst emotions, and knowing that your only hope of survival is stay small and hope you make it.

When you are in the true grips of depression, endurance is sometimes the only thing that you’ve got left.  Sometimes there is no fight, no kicking or screaming.  Sometimes there is only the terrifying sense of drowning in the tears of your own despair.  And so you wait.  You wait for the storm to pass, and the waters to recede, and you watch for that tiny shimmer of light that means maybe, some day, you will be able to breathe again without it hurting.

I have been there.  I have survived the storm, and I came out the other side of it gasping, reaching, and trying desperately to hold onto my freedom like my life depended on it, because it did.  That is when your fight truly begins.  That is when you battle hard against depression, to hold it back and beat it down.  It takes courage, strength, and the kind of blind determination that will keep you going even when you stumble, because you will.  It takes faith, and a belief that you are worth fighting for, because you are.

Too often, people with depression struggle alone in silence.  There is a certain amount of shame attached to feeling this way, and a worry that other people won’t understand or accept what is happening.  It’s hard enough trying to navigate through life during the best of times; it’s almost unimaginable trying to do it when you are depressed.  Yet, as scary as it is, we need to reach out and talk to each other, share our stories, and ask for help (even if we think we don’t need it).  We need to hold on to one another, and also to hold each other up.  We need each other to survive.  No one should ever be expected to survive this on their own.  We are stronger together, so if you know someone who is struggling with depression, or if you yourself are, reach out, hold on, and don’t let go!

 

 

For All That We Are

clouds_elias

Sometimes we need to grieve, not just for those who have passed, but for those who have changed in such a way that the person they once were is lost to us.  We can allow ourselves to mourn the memories, and yet still cherish the way their world used to blend with ours to create a place that was safe and whole.  We can acknowledge our sorrow for the loss of what will never be, but sometimes tomorrow’s dreams are better washed away by the tears of today.

Torn, Shattered and Stripped Away

To see someone at their lowest low, beyond where they ever thought they could possibly be, is to step outside of what is comfortable for you in order to recognize someone else’s significance.  All of their layers, pieces and different faces torn, shattered and stripped away, leaving  the illusion of someone who is still whole.  A translucent shell of their former self, anguish seeping into their heart; each beat an agonizing effort.

To feel someone’s sorrow is to brush against their very soul; to have it cling to you out of hope and fear.  It slows your breath, quiets the chaos, surrounds the very substance of who you are.  We are meant to connect, we are meant to understand, we are meant to see not what we can, but what we must.  We are here not just for ourselves, but for one another.  Always.

Rock Bottom

Rock bottom.  I’ve been there.  Lived there.  Landed hard, then pitched a tent, settled in, and refused to get back up. It’s a lonely place to be, and when you’re there, you think you’re the only person in the world who understands what it feels like to be crushed by life.  You feel short changed and cheated out of the last whisper of happiness that you thought was yours, until it wasn’t.

That was seven years ago, and I’ve long since climbed out of my hole, but it wasn’t easy, and there were times when I didn’t think it would ever be possible.  I remember every single person who told me it would get better, easier, and that it would hurt less with time.  I didn’t believe any of them.  I resented them, and I envied them, because they had the kind of confidence and belief in themselves and in life that I so desperately wanted.

I sat, empty and exposed, and felt as though I needed to hold my breath, lest my memories spill out and create the kind of mess that no one wanted to clean up.  In some ways, I think I refused to believe that the ache and agony wouldn’t always feel so raw, because I couldn’t see past it.  I couldn’t see into a future where I wasn’t crushed under the weight of my own unrelenting fear.  And yet here I am.

Seven years.  A lifetime ago, yet only a drop in time.  Time itself doesn’t heal us, but it can hold our past in place and allow it to slowly fade as we move forward.  It gives us distance in order to gain the courage we need to rebuild and to understand that we are not defined by our past, but are instead strengthened by it.  It has taken me years to understand, embrace and celebrate that strength.  And finally, here I am.