Image by eflon via FlickrIt's Sunday...and the end of one of the hardest weeks I've had in a long time. If you know me...or you've read my blog, you know that I do my best to keep things on a positive note. I always try to find the silver lining...even during the worst of times. And though nothing's changed in terms of my attempt to find the silver lining, I've just been absolutely unsuccessful in finding it lately. Try and try as I might, it's been to no avail and I find myself trying to re-trace my steps back to the time before I felt this way. The problem is...I don't know when it started.
As I sit and write this, I'm reflecting on when I first started this blog. I don't remember the precise moment or circumstance that prompted the blog, but I remember why I wanted to start the blog. I wanted to share things in my life because I felt like I had something to say to people...something to say about things that affect all of us at some point...whether directly or indirectly. So today, as I wipe tears away after each sentence that I write...just trying to figure out why I'm crying in the first place...I'd like to share with you a little bit of history...my history, specifically.
Despite the fact that I try to always stay positive, the journey to get to that attitude has been tumultuous. Back in sophomore year of high school, I remember the feeling that I'm feeling now. It was new then and unfamiliar. I couldn't understand why I felt like I had the weight of the world on my shoulders. What could be so hard as a teenager...homework, sports, extra-curricular activities? Granted, both of my parents had been dealing with cancer for the last couple years prior to that, but they were both better...or at least getting better. There was a lot to be hopeful for and I had my whole life ahead of me...why was I so sad?
My mother sent me to various kinds of doctors trying to figure out if something physical was making me feel this way emotionally. After a series of doctors appointments and tests, I was diagnosed with clinical depression and ended up in the chair of a psychiatrist....the kind of doctor I had dreaded my whole life. I had always attached psychiatrists and psychologists to my mother...who had been diagnosed with manic depressive disorder shortly after I was born. I thought that if I was in this office that it meant I was turning into my mother...I must be mentally ill, too. I was horrified. And if I thought I was sad before, being in that office made me a million times more sad. But what could I do? I was sad and I couldn't seem to get un-sad...this had to be the answer, right? So I got on medications and went to my appointments to talk about being sad.
I continued to go to counseling throughout high school and ended up back in therapy after I got to college. I was always trying to get off whatever medication they were trying to keep me on. I couldn't shake the thought that these doctors and this medicine were leading me closer and closer to turning into my mother. After a brief hospitalization for a suicide attempt during college, I guess I was finally convinced that maybe...just maybe...there was a reason that I needed to be on this medication and that maybe talking to these doctors was better than not talking at all. Despite that realization, I convinced the doctors at the hospital that I was just fine and that I simply needed to get back to my regular routine. And that's pretty much exactly what happened...until senior year of college. And just like that, that old familiar feeling crept back up and I was back in another hospital...trying to convince doctors that all I needed was to get out.
The last ten years of my life have echoed a lot of what happened during that time in my life....a cycle that I've done my best to stop...or at best, slow down. I'm a firm believer in a mind-over-matter way of dealing with problems....physically, emotionally, or mentally. And for the most part, this philosophy has served me well. Don't get me wrong, I know that modern medicine and practices are justified under certain circumstances. And I certainly have no opinion on how other people cope with their problems. The only person that my opinion serves in this capacity is me. I'm not trying to convince anyone else to think on my level....just want to share my experience in the event that maybe you can relate...or maybe you can finally have a better understanding of someone else that you know that might think similarly. But I digress....as I said, much of the last ten years has been filled with these ups and downs of trying to get control over my depression and my insistence on healing myself versus doctors and medicine doing all the work....which leads me to today.
To be honest, when I began writing this, it was merely a means of avoiding the sadness...a distraction. As I started writing, it transitioned into something else...confrontation of my feelings and coping. I'm feeling 10 times better writing this sentence than the sentence paragraphs before. Maybe it's only fleeting, but I honestly think it's me taking a turn for the first time in a few weeks. I feel the weight of the world a little less and the silver lining is starting to make itself known to me. It's definitely not over, but it's a step in the right direction.
I hope that in some small way by sharing who I am and what I've been through, it will help you, too. Just know that you're not alone. Don't be afraid to feel what you're feeling...that's usually the only way to really get through it. Just don't allow yourself to get so wrapped up in what you're feeling that you forget that it's only temporary. That is, after all, the beauty of time. Nothing lasts forever....good or bad. It's incredibly important to be mindful of that fact that during good times, it's not permanent...so savor every moment. And during those times when the silver lining can't be found, remember that it's only a matter of time before it reappears. Rainy days and Mondays might always get you down, but even if they do, just keep in mind the sunny days and the rest of the week.