I’ve been standing for entirely too long on the corner of ups and downs.
To put it simply, I’ve spent the last 7 months battling depression. It’s not something I’m super comfortable admitting and to be honest, I have no idea why I’m even sharing this.
It’s probably against my better judgement to admit anything so personal on our fashion blog. After all it doesn’t exactly bode well for me to say, “Hi, my name is Heather, I love pugs and fashion, and oh yeah, I’m f-ing depressed. But come see our fashion show! Or visit our blog!”
Most people would likely advise against putting this type of honesty on our blog, but I guess it’s my attempt at sharing something real about me. It’s ugly and uncomfortable, but it’s real. I don’t expect anyone to understand, and it may change the way people view me, but that’s the chance I’m taking.
And trust me, the struggle with depression is a silent journey that I wouldn’t wish on anyone.
It’s been a culmination of several things that have lead to my recent bout of depression; ie. losing my “day” job and not being hired for another yet, financial troubles, failing miserably at my KickStarter campaign, having a chronically sick dog, a heartbreaking death in my husband’s family… And more existential stuff like not knowing where the hell I fit into the world and wondering if things will ever get better. Even above & beyond that, feeling discouraged with this hateful, hostile world lately and not knowing how to help.
Regardless of the reasons, I’m no stranger to depression, I’ve struggled with it intermittently throughout my lifetime. But I’ve also had a particularly rough life. (Haven’t we all?)
This round of depression has been extraordinarily beastly however.
I’m not sure if it’s my age (and thinking that I should already be the person I’m meant to be by now), or if it’s something more physiological happening– either way, it’s been deep and dark.
Like any physical illness, I have good days and bad days–Some days it takes all the strength and courage I have to get out of bed in the morning; other days I laugh, feel strong, and see glimmers of hope. And let’s be honest, I’ve spent nearly an entire lifetime grasping how to fully function with depression. So, I know how to smile through my pain.
But over the last few months, it keeps coming back. And somewhere in this dark cloud I’ve been living under, I dropped my self confidence on floor… and then stomped on it with my stilettos.
Which if you’ve had any type of conversation with me or listened to any of my words lately, has been painstakingly obvious.
Losing my confidence leads to an awful cycle that goes as such:
- I falter in confidence and express that I’m feeling cruddy about myself.
- People around me (even sometimes those closest to me) lose faith in me or are uncomfortable around me. I hear a lot of…
“C’mon, get yourself together”…
“Stop being so negative”…
“I’ve been through tough times too, and you don’t see me crying about it…”
“So many people have it worse than you, start being more grateful.”
“You have the choice to snap out of it.” All of which is probably true, but doesn’t help to hear.
- Instead, I feel less inclined to share that I feel like crap with anyone, because I don’t feel as though anyone understands.
- So, I fake that I’m happy for as long as I can…
- And I feel alone in my pain.
- Until I can’t help but falter in confidence again.
And ultimately I just want to crawl under my duvet with my pugs and hide from the world.
I’ve also discovered something called “high functioning anxiety,” which is not an officially recognized term by the field of psychology, but is something I found myself resonating with. When I read this article in particular, I practically exclaimed to myself, “holy crap, I’ve been dealing with this my entire life!” You can read it here: https://thoughtcatalog.com/kendra-syrdal/2016/10/11-signs-you-might-have-whats-known-as-high-functioning-anxiety/
Reading it made me start to wonder if in fact, I have both anxiety and depression–which is not unusual, but eye-opening for me to realize.
My anxiety tells me “nobody likes you,”
“You’re a no talent hack.”
“You talk too much, just shutup.”
“You try too hard and it makes you look pathetic.”
And my depression says “Things will never get better…why even bother?”
It’s just a constant barrage of negative thoughts I have to battle nearly every day.
In any case, I’m not out of the woods yet, but I’m working on finding the best way to manage my depression. My future is undetermined, but here are a few things I can share with certainty:
First, I’ve been vigilant in seeking a variety of treatments, as well as taking time to work on myself.
Depression & anxiety medications have NOT been a pleasant experience for me and they made me quite sick and fatigued. They are known for working well on others, but are not the path to recovery I will be choosing, (I’ve had problems with medication intolerances in the past– I can’t even take pain medications other than ibuprofen because I get so violently ill.)
I am under the care of both, my family physician and a licensed therapist who are well aware of my depression. I unfortunately had to stop my therapy sessions because I can’t afford the co-pay, but I was given a lot of great tools to get me by until I’m able to pay for therapy again.
At the end of the day I’ve had to truly understand that not many people are never going to KNOW me, UNDERSTAND me, CARE about me, or LOVE me.. or even care enough to try. No one has walked in my shoes.
But I have. I’ve stomped out miles in my fabulous heels. And I know myself very well. I understand, care about, and love myself… well, myself and my pugs- Ha!
As cliche as it sounds, loving myself IS truly what matters most.
I’m impulsive, but I’ve had to learn that progress in healing myself and patching things up in my life is slow going. Maybe I’m not the successful go-getter I once thought I was, and I’ll still feel like a “flaky loser” at forty. But that’s okay, because there’s still hope that I’ll be living a meaningful life at fifty. (And what determines a “flaky loser” anyway? Wealth? A steady job? Who really knows?)
Also, in the past I would dig myself out of a depressive state and happily wipe my hands clean of it. “Whew, glad that’s over and I never have to do that again” I’d say to myself. And then I’d immediately go to work on achieving things outside of myself– things that would appease society– to make me “happy” and “whole again.”
Now I have a more realistic view on my depression and an understanding that it might be a lifetime battle. And I absolutely, 100%, MUST work on myself every single day. And that sounds bizarrely selfish but I think of it like this: if I wanted to set the goal of running a marathon, I would have to train for it and exercise every day. I couldn’t run a few miles here and there and then expect to easily pop out 26 miles on race day.
The same goes for the well-being of my mind. Every single day of my life moving forward, I will need to intentionally take the time to work on myself.
A few simple things that have helped uplift me a bit:
Spending more time outside,
Eating right but also indulging in a few treats (because I love food dammit!),
Playing with and loving my sweet little fur family,
Meditating (taking time for spirituality & prayer),
Adding a few new vitamins to my daily routine,
And getting enough sleep.
They aren’t cures, but they do temporarily improve my mood and sometimes snap me out of my negative funk.
I probably won’t talk about my depression again, but just know that somewhere behind the pretty pictures of Chloe Bisou on Instagram, I’m fighting hard to love myself, and working to be a “normal” (do I want to be normal? Ha!), happy, and healthy person.
So. If you know me, please be patient with me. I’m not trying to be an asshole on purpose, I’m just fighting to get through this the best way I can.
I’m not who I used to be, but I’m also not yet the person I’m meant to become. (Something I heard from Michael Bernard Beckwith.)
Wishing you all a loving, prosperous and joyful week!
(Thank you in advance for your understanding and compassion… Any negative comments in response to this blog or in an attempt to shame me publicly will not receive a response. Let’s keep it kind darlings!)