Part two: I’m so grateful to watch my darling Isabelle come to life. As a mom I am so proud and overwhelmed by the way that she has allowed the things that have tried to bind her and keep her down, to truly be the things that also propel her to appreciate life. I’m blown away that she is willing to encourage others with her vulnerability. The words below are brave and beautiful.
I want to share my heart with you all because I believe that my pain has the opportunity to reach out and heal others. I’ve come really far in the past couple of months. I’ve been wildly determined to start feeling better. I’ve been tired of fighting a constant state of mental exhaustion. It’s scary to be vulnerable with so many people, but my heart is to help others heal. If my story reaches you, relates to you, or touches you in someway, then that is the biggest accomplishment to me.
I’ve fought depression and anxiety for the past few years. The word “fight” and “depression” don’t sound right together when you are in the middle of it. Depression takes away your strength and motivation. It is something that needs to be fought, but because of what it does to you, you don’t feel like you have the strength to do so.
I began to just accept depression and anxiety as a part of my life. I started looking at them as “my things” that I carried around, and I tried to somehow “manage life” in spite of them. That is such a painful thought. The thought that you “just cant.” You “just can’t” enjoy life the way that the people around you do. You, “just can’t” think clearly. You don’t have the motivation to do the things you absolutely love, and you struggle to interact with the people you care about. It is so painful to admit to yourself that you just don’t get to have the kind of life that you want so desperately, and you don’t have the strength to fight for. It was a strength I wanted to have, but I just couldn’t find it.
Finally I decided to started taking care of my body. I started eating right and exercising regularly. I fought through the days where I felt like I couldn’t move. I went on walks when I didn’t have the strength to workout. I gradually built up strength to the point where I could workout everyday and not have to fight so hard to overcome the depressive thoughts. I also started giving my body the nutrients it needed so my mind was stronger and the “just can’t” grew a bit smaller. Even on the days when I felt like I “just couldn’t,” my body and my mind were stronger and more capable of pushing through.
My mind finally felt like it was consistently clear for the first time in years. Not only did I feel like I could do the normal, everyday things with out having extreme anxiety/depression, but I felt like I could do the big exciting things I dreamed of. I could actually make goals and not think they were absolutely impossible. Finally, my world felt bigger, my boundaries were further apart, and I felt alive- like ACTUALLY alive.
There is not a thick fog over my brain anymore and on the days where that fog creeps back in, it doesn’t scare me because I know that I am strong and capable. I know what to do and when to do it. I understand my body and my mind more. I know what they need because I’ve actually been taking care of them. You don’t fully understand how what something needs until you have learned how to take care of it.
I can choose to look at anxiety and depression like my enemies. I can look at them with a bitter view as things that like to creep into my life and make things harder OR I can love them because without them, I would not be this strong. I would not have learned SO MUCH about myself in such a short time, and most of all, I wouldn’t appreciate feeling alive. I am SO much more excited about life. I absolutely love every little beautiful moment. I can spend time with the people I love and feel present and capable of interacting and enjoying them. I can appreciate the little, funny things my siblings do, and they actually make me laugh. It’s moments like those where I experience pieces of joy that fuel me. Before, those pieces of joy didn’t reach my mind. They couldn’t always get through that thick fog of anxiety and depression.
We have to learn to love the things that have hurt and caused pain. I can finally say to my depression, anxiety, trauma, pain and to the hurtful people in my life, “THANK YOU, you have made me strong, you have taught me so much about the value of loving and fighting for myself! In spite of the devastation and pain you have brought me, you have shown me the absolute beauty in the simplicity of being alive. I don’t own you, but I LOVE YOU.”
If you feel like life is too much and you’ve had thoughts about harming yourself or taking your life please reach out now. Don’t wait. Talk to someone who cares. Silence Hurts Us All