It’s Thursdayyyy!! One more day till I’m home. And three more days till I’m off to West Virginia where I will be spending my spring break on a service trip! I am SO excited guys.
This post is a tough one. It’s real and it’s raw. And it may be triggering to some, so please put yourself first. But I feel compelled to talk about it, so here we go.
Depression is not a joke. It is not just feeling sad. It is not something that should be looked lightly upon. It is a real issue.
I don’t think I talked about it a whole lot on this blog yet. I know I have on Instagram, but not so much on here. I struggled. I struggled a whole lot towards the end of last semester. It hurt. I was shattered, I felt like I had been broken into millions of pieces and left with nothing. Depression sucked the life out of me. My relationship hurt me. I was not okay, I was not fine; even though those words became a part of my daily conversation.
The thing is, I thought I had it all last semester. I got a boyfriend, I had friends, I had this blog, I had yoga and working out, I had my family: so why was I feeling so low? I asked myself this all the time. My thoughts started to steadily decline once Halloween hit. It was as if I was walking around with a cloud over my head. And each day it felt as if the chances of the sun peaking out were slim to none.
I told my best friend how I was feeling. It’s like I knew why I was sad, but I was in such denial of it all. So I cried every single day. This became a norm for me. It was my only way to cope: crying. In the past I would have used food or exercise, but that is not a coping mechanism for me anymore. My best friend always told me, “Do you think it is your boyfriend? You were happier single!” I got frustrated with her and knew that wasn’t the case at all. I finally had a boyfriend and was in my first serious relationship. I should be happy, right??
But the thing is, I knew deep down she was right. I missed my time to myself. I didn’t feel like I was growing as a person in this relationship. I just felt sad. I felt numb. My insecurities grew, and as I began to know this person more; I realized he was not the one for me. But I couldn’t let go.
November was an extremely challenging month for me. I felt bad for the people in my life, as I just simply wasn’t myself. I wasn’t peppy or goofy, I wasn’t passionate or excited; it’s just like I was there- I was just existing. My best friend told me to journal out what I was feeling, and I knew that with each journal I was getting to the core of the issue. But I would not tell anyone what that issue was.
I need something. I’m not sure what. I need a fresh breath of air, because I feel like I’m drowning a bit. I’m doggy paddling in the largest biggest freaking waves of the cold Atlantic ocean and I’m tired of just doggy paddling, I’m tired of feeling weak. i don’t know what I need. I need something, I just need to feel. I need to feel excitement. because I’m losing that. Losing my relationship with God. Losing my invincibility. I feel like I’m losing my bliss. -Journal entry, November 17, 2016
The amount of pressure I was putting on myself to be fine was insane. I felt like a fraud. Here I was, writing a blog on mental health and eating disorder recovery; yet I was sobbing and walking around with depression on both of my shoulders. I felt guilty. Guilty for being depressed. Guilty because I had so much to be thankful for, but I could not shake this feeling.
If there is one thing I repeated to myself during this time over and over again, it was Philippians 4:13- “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” In the days that I did not want to face the world. The days where I crawled back into bed after working out and stayed there for a majority of the day. The days where I sobbed and cried to my mom about how hopeless I felt. Somehow, I knew that I could get through this awful time. Because the Lord would give me the strength to do so.
“Surviving is an art that is painted across your body.”
Surviving was an art painted across my entire body from head to toe. I was not living, I was simply surviving. Getting through the days. I didn’t enjoy anything anymore. I stopped finding pleasure in writing and yoga, I stopped volunteering as much. My life was falling apart. I was watching it right before my eyes, but I did nothing to stop it.
“It’s like when someone says, ‘How are you?’ Do you say, ‘Well, my head hurts and I’m lonely and depressed and I’m worried about everything and the world is collapsing and full of evil’? Or do you say, ‘I’m fine’?”
A good 99% of the time I said I was fine when my mind was at war with each other and when I just wanted to breakdown and cry. I was fine. Of course I was fine. When my boyfriend asked how I was, when my best friends asked how I was; it was an automated response. I was just fine. And that was that.
It wasn’t until December 2, 2016 when I realized I couldn’t keep lying to people. I couldn’t keep telling them I was just fine. That night I self-harmed. And at the time, it was the only escape I felt I had. An escape from my brain, an escaping from my chaotic life. An escape from a life that I once loved and now hated. Reaching for the scissors and etching a mark into my skin was the only way I felt I could cope.
Three days later, the same thing happened. I reached for my keys because the pain felt unbearable. I didn’t want to be on this earth anymore living like this. And that day I knew I needed to make some changes in my life.
“You’ll have moments when you feel like a lion, and moments when you feel like a mouse. Just know that no matter how you feel, you still have a heartbeat and a soul worthy of love, so learn to roar even when you feel small, because you are more than the feelings you may have.”
I entered a group therapy program. Got put on a new medication, finished up school from home and ended the current relationship I was in. Found some of the root causes for why I was so depressed, and began to find the slightest bit of fight in me.
12/13/16- JOURNAL ENTRY
I FEEL SO HAPPY AND LIKE MYSELF AGAIN AND I HAVE SO MUCH HOPE!!
Things were still hard, but the pieces of my life were slowly gluing themselves back together. I thought it was the end of the world that I no longer had a boyfriend, yet I realized that this person was not making me happy. In fact, he was making me quite sad.
“It’s not normal for your boyfriend to rely on you when he doesn’t do a thing for himself. It’s not normal for your boyfriend to make fun of your passions. It’s not normal for your boyfriend to make you feel uncomfortable. It’s not normal for your boyfriend to pressure you to do ANYTHING.”
My relationship was not a normal one. It was not a happy one for me. I loved the idea of having a boyfriend, of having that relationship status on Facebook. But I did not love this person.
“At 17 or even 32, nobody is worth stressing over, like move on, leave people behind, go find yourself, the world is yours, life goes on.”
My life did move on without this person. I found my medication and group therapy to be a tremendous help for me. Being surrounded by others who truly understood what I was going through was exactly what I needed. I found my excitement about things coming back. I stopped feeling sorry for myself. I didn’t want people to feel sorry for me either. Life throws us obstacles and challenges, and this was one of mine. It was not a straight path getting to where I am today, in fact there were quite a bit of hiccups along the road. But I am here, I am alive and I am not simply just surviving: I am THRIVING. I have found a new love and appreciation for my independence. An appreciation for my struggles as through them I learned so much about myself. A greater love for God. I felt more certain in myself, and that I could do this. That I did have strength and fight in me.
I finally started to believe the one thing I was telling myself through this awful two and a half months: That I CAN do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
My left arm tells a story. The two ribbons are a symbol of the battle I fought with anorexia. The battle I almost lost my life to. And the 4;13 + is a symbol of how I can do all things through the Lord who gives me strength. In every obstacle thrown at me, in every mountain placed in front of me: I have God by my side. The semi-colon is a symbol for not sinking, for my life continuing even though I wanted an end to it all at times. Even though I felt so incredibly worthless and useless, I did not give in.
“Life’s challenges are not supposed to paralyze you. They’re supposed to help you discover who you are.”
I am thankful for the struggles God has placed in my life. For through them, I have discovered so much about myself. I have discovered that without my struggles, I wouldn’t have stumbled across my strength.
If you made it to this point. THANK YOU FOR READING ALL THIS. It is long, it is a tough subject, but it is one that needs to be talked about more. So thank you for getting to this point and being so incredibly awesome. No questions, but always open to thoughts and continuing the conversation in the comments. So much love for you all. <3
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