Last week, I posted a video I made in August or September about my trials with mental illness. I was surprised with with positive feedback I received thanking me for sharing. So many people are out there suffering in silence and have no one to talk to. I'm lucky. I have some awesome friends and family who jumped to attention. I was particularly luck to have a friend who suffers so similarly to me, that she saw it like she was looking in a mirror. She forced me to a doctor and called every single day.
This wasn't my first instance and I am sure it won't be my last. No matter how much control I have over it now, that doesn't mean it is permanent. Any trigger can cause that depression or anxiety to come back. I don't honestly remember being depressed as a child. I think I was fairly happy. I was very shy and self conscious. I we never confidant that people liked me. If they did, the joke was on me! I remember in the 6th grade, we were asked to say what we were self conscious about or what we thought people judged us for. I said my teeth. Most people were saying their weight or their clothes weren't cool enough. I didn't worry about that. The clothes I wore were the ones I wanted.
It wasn't until early college that my signs of depression got real. I remember having a boyfriend that I was happy with, but I would drive home at night from Kokomo, and I would stare off and fixate on the same dead tree and listen to the same eery song. Sometimes I would imagine what it would be like if I wasn't there. This only got worse through college and different relationships. I had one relationship where I wouldn't eat. I had one relationship where I sat in the kitchen every night and ate oreos while everyone was asleep just to get some peace and quiet from all of the noise.
The only relationship that I didn't mentally myself up with was the one where we argued and bickered because we had so much in common, yet we were so different.
The one thing that was always in common with these was my lack of communication. I had so much going on in my head and I needed a release. Sometimes I knew what was going on and I asked for help. Sometimes, I suffered in silence. If I was able to communicate, maybe I wouldn't be sitting here today looking back on all of these failed relationships that were at least 50% impacted by my mental illness. Okay, let's be real, most also ended in the boyfriend cheating, but I know I was weird. :)
Growing up knowing something is wrong in your head is difficult. It is hard to decide who to communicate with. I knew that my mom was the person to go to because her mom was bipolar. My dad doesn't believe in mental illness, but he does believe in bitchiness so I tried to avoid that. I had friends who made it worse. Some people literally sucked the energy from me and pushed me to an edge that I had to crawl back from. Friends at work like Diana and Susan became lifelines that guided me back safely.
It is hard to articulate how a season can impact you. It may be a season of life or an actual season of the year. I typically had an episode every two years in the fall. I love fall. The colors, the cool weather, the lack of sun, the fashion... everything about fall is beautiful. That is until I remember how bad these episodes get. In the fall of 2016, I was on suicide watch. The doctor released me to my parents for supervision. For the first few days, I stayed there and I remember sitting outside and staring. I don't know how long, but it seemed like forever. Time moves different when you are depressed. I don't know if it is because your mind is slower because you are just so anxious for time to change.
Depression doesn't define me. I define it. I make it a humorous part of my existence. Do you remember when I went crazy? I embrace who I am and you should too. It is no different than being born anything else. If you can't beat it, carry it around and show everyone how it works.