If you were to pass me on the street, or stand in line behind me at a coffee shop, or watch me move behind the counter, you would never know I am a person who suffers from depression. You would never guess that a good portion of my year is spent tearing myself down, and the rest is spent rebuilding the foundation I damage while doing so. You would never know the war that is fought in my head, and the struggle that plagues my heart. And that is okay, because although I am sad almost consistently, I find reasons to get up and reasons to be happy. I have been thinking a lot about stigmas and other things that become apparent when the words depression or anxiety roll around and I think its time to speak out about what it really feels like. In "Falling into Darkness" a previous post, it encompassed the darker parts of this seemingly endless battle, but not all parts are filled with darkness. There is a lot about depression that I believe it a blessing. There are silver linings in the dark clouds that hover above your head.
Just gotta keep your chin up.
The love for the little things.
I will happily rant and rave about the importance of little victories, or the celebration of life's small triumphs. It is the awareness and adoration for the little things in life that really allow you to appreciate the bigger things. Small steps make take time, but they can ultimately lead you to a beautiful place. In the past, as well as the present, when depression takes ahold I forget how to use my muscles. I stop doing the simple things because even those seem impossible. Mornings are the worst, when I don't have the option to sleep until noon. When I actually have to be up and mobile, when I actually have to be human. Getting up, getting dressed, brushing my teeth and the like all become things I wish to avoid. Things I try to avoid. Things that you would deem as simple tasks, I view as a rocky hillside I need to climb in order to start the day. I hate climbing. But I do. I know that this time of year is the hardest, but I also know I get through it. Therefore, clinging to the acknowledgement of my small victories keeps me moving away from the dark and into the light. Being able to see little things are great accomplishments, daily things to be proud of myself for, I move toward being better.
Empathy, being in tune with the emotions around you.
Every single person is fighting a battle of some sorts. Whether it's with themselves, or with someone else. People experience hard times in their own ways, and I don't believe anyone deserves to be judged on whether or not their pain is relevant enough to be called struggle. While it is true that some instances are far worse than others, it doesn't diminish anything you or the next person is going through. Experiencing dark times, makes me more inclined to stop, listen, and try and understand what you're going through. Sometimes I even sit there and feel it with you. So you know you're not alone. It's said that those who experience the darkness regularly are the best when it comes to providing love. You never want another to feel the way you have felt. They say we are the ones that love the hardest. We feel with you, we experience it with you, and we do everything we can to help you through it.
Being whole on my own and learning to appreciate feeling again.
If the past year has taught me anything, its that it doesn't take medication to navigate personal darkness. I learned how to appreciate feeling again, learned to meander through it, bruised but in one piece. Trudging through sober self hatred I learned to manage, not just survive. I worked through it, took the time to get to know my heart, body, and mind. I rebuilt the broken overflown damn of emotions patched the holes with melted gold. My imperfections displayed with beauty, not swept under the rug like problems to be ashamed of. I learned to own the things that make up who I am, to be proud of them, both good and bad. It's a process, and I am still learning. I am learning a steady pace of self improvement without self destruction. Moving up without putting myself down. This year has taught me the meaning of true, healthy relationships and it's taught me how to shed the toxic ones. I'm learning the importance of loving myself first. Of being whole on my own and allowing someone to be whole with me. I have learned that it doesn't take another person to give you worth, they are there to add to the abundance of worth you already possess.
You are enough on your own, always.
Last year held both demons and angels alike.
It is representative of a journey I was not aware I was capable of.
I believed I could, so I did.