When I decided to start this blog, I began with three rules. These rules still apply now, and I decided to share them to help you understand why I post the content you find here.
Rule number one is that I will never force myself to write. If I feel inspired to share something, I write. If I don’t, I won’t try to write to fill the space just to have a prensence. Rule number two is that it must be honest. I don’t want to write about how I have everything figured out and how life is perfect. I don’t, and it isn’t. The third rule is that I must feel that it may be helpful to a reader. Even if it is one reader, I need to feel that I may be helping someone feel less alone. I have been encouraged by your lovely feedback through comments on the posts and your messages. It has been humbling. It is evident to me that our common experiences connect us.
I won’t apologize for not having updated the blog recently; I’ll share what’s on my mind today.
In the spring of 2019, I began to experience significant depression. It took some time to get the wheels in motion, but with good mental health coaching (go see a registered counsellor, it is the best thing you can do for yourself) and some medication, things started to even out. I am still on this journey. As many of you know, I have experienced the loss of my father and several close friends in the last while. I was grateful to have therapy and anti-depressants at the time. I am unsure how I could have gotten through it without those supports. While I may have struggled to get through those losses without medication, I understand that the feelings have not “gone away” or “gotten better.” They are feelings that will always exist; in my case, the medication helped me get through seemingly impossible times.
Part of the reason I haven’t written lately is that I am trying to figure life out without medication right now. I know it worked for me and that I can return to that if I need/want to. That is reassuring. I can tell you; it isn’t a walk in the park. It has been a couple of months since I cut my dose (with guidance from my NP) and a month or so since I stopped altogether. The physical side effects have stopped, but mentally, it has been challenging. A lot of feelings are screaming to make themselves heard.
I’ve felt it in small ways; I’m crying at sappy TV commercials again. I’ve felt it in bigger ways too. There are days when I struggle to grasp that life goes on for me while others who still had so much to give are gone. I wonder why I am here; do I have some purpose? Of course, these are rhetorical questions. I feel the answers in small ways; like last night at a work event, I got to hold and cuddle a baby that was so happy to be held and cuddled. It filled my heart. I got to thank someone who has recently arrived here from another continent for coming here to work to make our community stronger.
There are days when I am just extremely sad. There are days when I am angry. There are days when I can’t focus on anything. There are days when I want to be alone. There are days when I am happy and excited to see friends and family. The word “days” may be the wrong word here. I can experience many of these things all on the same day. When we say “one day at a time,” it is sometimes one minute at a time.
In the depths of depression, I struggled with imagining that things could ever be better. I was convinced that I was destined to live in that state for the rest of my life. I failed to see purpose. Then some time would pass, usually a day or two, sometimes longer, and I felt quite a bit better. I then couldn’t remember how horrible I had felt and couldn’t imagine slipping into that state again. This cycle repeated itself over and over. I shared these thoughts with my therapist during a session, and her answer stuck with me. She told me my track record for getting through the hard days was good. 100%, in fact. I had proof that after every single episode of “hard times”, better days followed.
I wrote about it; I journaled on the hard days and the good days so I could read and remind myself that all states of being are temporary. I still have hard days, albeit fewer than before. I have great days when I want to take on new projects and get out there and do things! Sometimes I take on too much and need some time to recoup. I’m still learning who I am and what is good for my mental health. There is a lot of trial and error. Some people on my journey are very understanding and supportive. Others have a hard time and want things to be like they were “before all of this started”.
The thing is, once you start on the path toward healing your mental health, it is very hard to turn back. It’s a long journey, but there are so many rewards along the way. The people who join you on the path (and stick with you) are warriors. They are sincere, they are learning how to take care of themselves, and they are good to others. They fight for what is right. They stand up for others. They don’t have it all figured out either, and they aren’t afraid to say so. These are the people who help me know that the good days will return. When the day is too heavy for me, they are out there, fighting the good fight.
Thanks for reading. Sending you love and support as you travel on your own healing path.
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