There’s a line in an article, Symptoms of high functioning depression by Lucy Boyd that describes my depression perfectly..
“On the outside, you’re highly productive, successful and motivated. You have a big group of friends, a great job and seem to have life all sorted out. But on the inside, you’re gripped by low self-worth and the pressure to be perfect.“
That is me except I would argue that I don’t have a big group of friends but that may be my inner depression critic whispering in my ear and in my heart. I may also fight the successful portion as well or just the overall positive impression people have of me. A friend the other day was shocked when I shared that I battle depression. They couldn’t fathom that someone like me could be depressed.
Well ladies and gentlemen I have battled depression for as long as I can remember and this morning as I write this I am in bed, in my PJs, in the dark struggling with my inner critic. I woke up this morning with a deep dark cloud engulfing me. I lay in bed questioning why I share so deeply, I mean seriously who do I think I am? My heart sinks in response and chastises me for being so open and vulnerable. What must people think of me? Are they laughing at me or shaking their heads at me in disapproval. What if more people read my blog? What if my coworkers see it? Worse what if my boss and their boss sees it? Will they disapprove? Then it gets worse. Why can’t you lose the weight Laura? Why are you so lazy Laura? Why do you wait till the last minute to finish your school work? Why are you even here? You are worthless.
Let that soak in for a moment, “you are worthless.”
Seriously!?!? I am not worthless!! No one is! But these are my thoughts. Depending on the season I wake up almost every morning with this dialogue. You might be telling yourself, “This woman needs help, she seriously needs to consider anti-depressants”. Yep, I would be saying it too and here is where my story today shifts.
I have Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS). I have a sensitivity to various substances they make me sick in a multitude of ways but for now I’ll focus on my sensitivity to prescriptions specifically anti-depressants. I started taking anti-depressants on and off for the past twenty years. I’ve experienced persistent symptoms like migraines, disabling reflux, suicidal behavior and much more. Many times I would do good the first few months and then BAM it would all come crashing down. I enjoyed the break they gave me from my mind, not yelling at my kids so much and not feeling like an utter loser. Problem is I kept getting sick from them. I’m the person that gets all those crazy symptoms listed in the commercials and the pamphlet from the pharmacy. So a year and a half ago I cut them out all together. I’m physically healthier for it and I’m definitely more self aware but it is hard. But…please keep in mind this is what was best for me everyone is unique in their journey and I am not a medical professional.
Today when I wake up with these thoughts I begin a dialogue with myself and I work to not let my feelings define me. Instead of saying “Why do I have to feel this way I’m worthless” I say “I feel worthless but that’s not who I am”. I ask myself what is weighing down on me? Many times it’s a to do list that’s bouncing around in my head so I set aside time to get it out on paper and mark some items off. Sometimes it’s because something traumatic has happened so I give myself grace. It’s ok so visit pity city but I don’t need to purchase real estate.
I just start identifying what may be causing me angst. Sometimes it’s that my bedroom is a mess so I spend 15 minutes tidying up. Not joking with this one, I set a timer and get it done and I’m not tossing the whole day away cleaning and I feel lighter. I have a meditation and yoga practice and when I’m not disciplined my mental health pays for it dearly. I also have people and my writing.
There’s more I do but I could write for days on the subject. The point is no matter how you are managing your depression you are not your depression you are a brilliant unique creation that shines brightly in the world in your own way. Give yourself grace but also give yourself love!!!