"Im not lazy. I'm just exhausted from fighting myself though every, single day."
- Mimi Love
I'm on a leave of absence from my job at the moment due to depression and anxiety.
Can I finicially afford to be off work?
Well thanks to my work benefits I do get a little bit of money…but my entire salary at the moment does not even cover my overhead costs.
I have a house. I have a car. I have three kids. Who play hockey!!
Do I want to get better and return to work?
Of course I do for the love of the baby Jesus!!
So why do some people seem to have some sort of notion that I'm on a fucking vacation?
I am pushing myself hard. I try to get out of the house. More often than not I am pushed by the realities of my life - like looking after my boys or getting groceries (both of which I get extra help for from my family) and occasionally to make the short trip to my boyfriend's place (because I tend to to feel better when I'm with the people that I love). Also, of course, doctors' appointments.
Because I live alone half the time, it is particularly hard to get myself doing much of anything at the moment. That is a symptom. I feel down and/or anxious and am so depleted of energy that my first inclination is to make it go away.
My bed is my escape of choice.
I spend a lot of time curled up in my bed agonizing how I should be doing this and doing that and doing more to get better…and hoping to fall asleep for a little reprieve from trying so hard.
I have better days than others - which is a good thing. Sometimes I am feeling down and get a little glimmer of light from somewhere and it reminds me of who I am.
And let's be clear.
I am not my depression.
It's just a shitty thing I'm dealing with. Sometimes I need to adjust things to get back on track. But I am not my depression.
What I know - at least intellectualy - is that I'm a pretty awesome chick.
I'm not perfect…but I know I'm generally a good person, a kind person, a funny person, a person who loves to laugh, a person who loves other people, a person who likes to help others and also have fun.
That's who I am.
But right now…I am taking wobbly, little steps.
For example, some days I eat fairly normally. Some days I practically don't eat at all. One day recently, my folks told me they were taking me out for lunch and so they did and I ate and while it felt good to get out I was also exhausted afterwards.
This ain't no vacation.
I have times when I can smile and laugh - but part of me still feels a certain numbness or yearning inside. I know laughter is the best medicine - but that at the same time, sometimes I just cry instead. And I usually don't really know why. And this feels so disjointed and confusing because I have such wonderful people and things in my life. I have a lot to be happy about.
So what's the deal?!?
I ask this a lot. Because it is so fucking confusing. Even to someone going through it.
But I know it is a sickness. A chemical imbalance. Something I don't have total control over - but also it's a situation where I know I have to me my own biggest cheerleader, even when the last thing I want to do is cheer.
You have to want to get better.
And I do.
I recently went to a fundraiser event for a friend - and normally I would have actually been excited to attend. This time I felt a bit anxious and ambiguous about the whole thing. I pushed myself - and when I got there…I saw great friends and had a good time.
I even went to a huge, bucket-list-worthy concert this past week and I had a great time. But I also felt a little overwhelmed and over stimulated and…it was a lot. Again, I'm glad I went because it was a great show I will never, ever forget…but now it's over.
What do I have to look forward to now?
What is next?
What is this journey trying to teach me?
Because I know there is another side to this.
I feel like I'm moving slowly but surely in the right direction but it's a slow process. It's difficult to do things that go completely against exactly what you feel like doing when you are depressed - which is nothing.
But I push.
I set small, daily goals. I'm trying to eat healthily. I know I need to move my body more - and I know I will get there. I know I need to expand my life to include more time for my passions - like singing and acting. And I've started to explore options for this.
But doing too much all at once is too overwhelming right now. It's such a hard thing to explain to people who have never been in this place. But I'm doing the best that I can. And that has to be good enough.
I keep telling myself that it is good enough. I will get there with each, little step.
And because this is not my first rodeo, I know I will probably come out of this even stronger than I was before.
But in the meantime - this ain't no vacation.
It's some really, really hard work.