Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

The last 3 years of my life have been filled with changes. Some big, some small. Some bad, but most for the better. All of them have included some pretty tough decisions followed by hard, at times exhausting work. Therapy, meds, digging into my past and trying to fix the crazy-making damage that was done for so many years. Trying to find out who I am and cultivating that new self. As a person who has a very hard time with change and unpredictability it has seemed at times impossible. But I have persisted because I want to be healthy. For the first time in my life. And these changes seem worth it.

Last week I decided it was time to make another big change.

I decided it was time to leave my job. My job had become a source of such enormous stress and unhappiness it was affecting my family and really everyone in my life. It was draining me of my happiness and positivity to the point where I was starting to wonder if that was ever even who I was or if I had just imagined that I used to be that way.

The thing is, I am so good at my job. It is incredibly difficult and requires a great amount of organization which I am great at. You have to be very detail oriented but also flexible and able to pivot quickly but able to keep approximately 1,465 ducks all in a row at one time while drawing from a bottomless well of patience. It is challenging but also satisfying. And I have always taken a great amount of satisfaction in being able to do it so well. I feel good when I am successful. And I am usually successful because I am a very driven, hard-working people-pleaser. My happiness often hinges on success and making other people happy. This is a thing I have discovered in the last year is very unhealthy. Because one cannot always be successful and hinging your happiness on that is very dangerous indeed.

The thing about my job is it is also very frustrating. It involves a fair amount of baby-sitting other adult human beings who never seem to do what they are supposed to do no matter how many times you tell them. People who have enormous egos and don’t always treat you with the kindness and respect that all humans deserve. My job has a million moving parts but so many of the people that I work with think that they are the center of the universe and require so much attention and hand holding. And my job depends on them to do the things that they are SUPPOSED to do. When they drop the ball it sets off a chain reaction and I spend so. much. time. putting out fires that wouldn’t even exist if they would just do what they are supposed to be doing and think about another human being for just one second. And when they fail it comes back to me to fix and it ALWAYS looks like it was my fault. And it in turns makes me feel like a failure and frankly a little angry and frustrated most of the time because how hard is it to just do what you are supposed to do?!?! It is fucking exhausting.

For someone whose entire happiness and well-being depends on success and people liking them it has become a complete and utter nightmare for me. And it has started to drain the me out of me. All the good parts of me, the part that sees the silver lining, that gives everyone the benefit of the doubt, the part that loves everyone no matter how awful they are because there must be some good reason they are acting that way, the part that always has a smile for everyone, has been slowing disappearing. And I hardly noticed. My job has been sucking all the good parts of my life away. The sad part is I just started to think that this new person, the cranky, sad, angry, complain-y, depressed person I have become is just who I am. But it’s not.

Change is hard. It is especially hard for me. One of my biggest issues is an over-developed sense of responsibility and loyalty. If I quit my job I am letting people down. I am so good at it that if I leave everything will fall apart and it is all my fault and I am ruining literally everyone’s life. Also because I can’t handle this I am clearly a failure. And not just a failure at my job but at life. I only deal in absolutes. Black and white. There is no grey in my brain. That is the most broken part and the thing I have been working so hard on the last year especially.

But thankfully I am not in this thing called life all on my own. I have a whole support system of people helping me out. Reminding me that everyone deserves happiness and I cannot take on so much responsibility at the cost of losing myself. And reminding me that taking care of myself and my happiness is in no way a failure. I have some really amazing people. People that have convinced me I deserve happiness and I am worth it.

This brings me to my second mantra of this last year. In addition to “let that shit go” I find myself saying “it just is” a lot lately. Because it is so true for so many situations. I used to think everything had to be blamed on somebody or something. Me being me, I usually took on that blame. But that is not how the world works. A lot of the time “it just is”. There is nothing anyone can do about it. It is just life. And it will go on. No blame needed. It really helps me in my letting shit go.

This whole situation is nobody’s fault. It just is. The job is what it is. It will always be that way and there will always be people to do it. I have just realized that I cannot be one of those people anymore. It is not the right and healthy fit for me. That does not make me a failure.

It just is.

So remember sometimes things “just are”. That is life. But also remember that there is always happiness to be found. Sometimes it feels a million miles away but it never really is. It is always there, usually just outside my reach 😉 But don’t forget that we all deserve it. And if we can let some of our shit go and realize some things “just are” we can probably find it a little easier.

I hope you have people in your life that remind you to let that shit go. People that remind you that you are worth it and you deserve happiness. Because you do. If you don’t have those people then take it from me… You deserve happiness and you are worth it. Now get out there and find some.

Love to all you guys… the unconditional kind ❤

 

I’m Still Here

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and I haven’t written anything in a while but I wanted to let everyone know I’m still here.

I’ve been having a tough time lately struggling with self doubt, demons, darkness but I’m still here.

I’ve had days where it has been hard to keep moving forward but I’m still here.

There have been days where it has felt impossible to ignore that voice in my head that says I’m not good enough/strong enough/kind enough/smart enough, the one that says I’m a burden to everyone in my life and everyone would be better off without me but I’m still here.

I’ve been taking my meds, practicing my self care, checking the things off my list, and I’m still here.

And if you’re reading this you are too. And I am so glad. Let’s remember this month (and always really) that it is okay to not be okay and that the best thing we can do is to just be here for each other broken brains and all. Because the only thing worse than living in the darkness is having to handle it all on your own. Let’s do everything we can to never have to do that.

I’m here if you need me. No judgement. Just an open heart, a listening ear, and a shoulder to cry on if you need it.

Love to all of you, the unconditional kind.

Let That Stress Go

I have noticed lately that we are getting some things very wrong in this country. We live in a society that is a little bit broken. A society that measures our success by how busy and stressed out we are. People here take a certain satisfaction in how little time they have for themselves and wear their stress and busyness as a badge of honor. It is a sickness.

And it is a sickness that we are passing on to our children. Our children look at us running around like chickens with our heads cut off and think this is what life is supposed to be. They subscribe to the notion that if they are not busy at all times in their lives they are failing… not keeping up. That time for themselves is selfish. They think they have to go to the best schools, get the best grades, be in 15 extracurricular activities at a time. The scarcely even take time to consider what is necessary and best for their long-term plan. They start young adding unnecessary stress to their lives because it is what is taught and mirrored to them.

I see this in my kids despite the way we parent and try to put the emphasis on mental health over anything else. Even though we try to limit things somehow my daughter has ended up very overextended this semester. Volunteering, acting classes, school play, and all of the demands of going to school at a private college prep school. Something has got to give. And at times it is her mental health. She is stressed.

She is taking steps to make more healthy choices for her future and decided to share this with her school counselor and to get her input and advice in this process. I applaud this step and this initiative but here’s the thing… The counselor said she could handle the stress, she should just get better coping mechanisms for it. She gave her a lot of great advice and some very helpful tools. While I appreciate this sentiment and the tools she gave my daughter this entire attitude gave me pause. Of course she CAN handle it but why SHOULD she? If she has the ability to make choices that fit in with her future goals and at the same time eliminate stress in her life why should she CHOOSE the way paved with stress?

This is madness. And we do not have to do it. We do not need to teach it to our children. We have the power to change it.

We have the power to make choices to minimize stress in our lives. To make choices to put our mental health and happiness first. To evaluate our lives and make better choices that make us happier. To cut back. To realize that we do not need to keep up with everyone else. This journey of life is different for every single one of us and we need to make choices that are best for us individually. Just because we CAN manage stress doesn’t mean we need to or that we should choose it. We can choose to simplify. We can choose to make changes to eliminate that stress. We can choose happiness. There is so much power in choice.

Change is scary and minimizing our lives takes a lot of change. It can be hard to look that fear straight in the face and get through it to find our happiness. But it is absolutely worth it. There is power in facing our fear to choose to live healthier and happier.

Let’s teach our children to do better. Let’s teach them that they do not need to do it all. Let’s teach them to cut back. Let’s teach them that instead of being proud of all the busyness and stress we should be proud that we somehow manage to find time to sit down at our dinner table and eat as a family nearly every single night. That we have one night a week that is sacred family time and we make it a priority. That anything can be dropped at any time if it serves us in a way that brings us happiness. That stress is a sickness and not some badge of honor. That each of us deserves to be happy and that mental health should always be a priority.

In yoga our guides teach us that our practice is OUR practice. And every single body is different. Don’t worry about how your neighbor is doing. Only pay attention to what is happening on your own mat. We have choices in every pose and we are reminded to choose what serves us in that moment. We could take a lesson from that.

Let’s teach our kiddos to be present, work hard, breathe. And let that shit go. And to never take on more stress than can be handled with a pint of Ben and Jerry’s and some Netflix binging on the couch while snuggling with your doggos 😉 Life is meant to be lived and enjoyed and if anyone else tells you differently they are flat out wrong.

Thanks for listening to my rant. Love to all you guys. The unconditional kind ❤

“It’s Called Your Practice, Not Your Perfect”

Today in yoga as we were flowing through our poses our instructor shared this little nugget with us: “Your poses don’t need to be perfect, just keep breathing and keep working. That is why it’s called your practice and not your perfect.” I think it bore repeating to the interwebs since it is a damn good mantra for life.

How often do we get so wrapped up in the end result of something that we forget to enjoy the journey? How often do we beat ourselves up about it not being perfect when it really doesn’t matter? How much anxiety do we cause ourselves striving for perfection?

A thing I have started working on more in my personal life and in my parenting life as well, is letting go of the idea of perfection. It is an impossible ideal and to be honest it rarely matters. Nobody is perfect and nobody ever will be, so why do we kill ourselves reaching for something so impossible?

I tell my kids end results don’t matter to me anymore. Do not kill yourself trying to earn anyone’s approval. That is not what is important in life. What matters to me is you tried. You worked hard to the best of your ability and you did your best. Your best is not the same as everyone else’s and it depends on the tools available at your disposal in that moment. It will vary from day to day. And your mental health is not worth risking for some elusive perfection that can never exist.

All of life is a practice. That is the point. It doesn’t end when we achieve perfection. It just keeps going until our time is up. So do the best you can with that time. Work hard but stay happy.

Let’s focus on being the very best we can be in the current moment with the tools available at our disposal. That is all we can really do. And it is subjective as hell so don’t you dare go beating yourself up about it. And while you are working on that cut some slack to the people around you and remember that they are working on doing the same. Some days our best doesn’t look so awesome but that doesn’t mean it’s not good enough.

Be present. Work hard. Breathe. And then let that shit go.

Love to all of you. The unconditional kind ❤

A Love Letter to all the Fierce Women in my Life

“She held a mirror so her friend could see the funny, smart, kind, courageous, and loving woman she truly was. And her friend did the same for her.”

“I believe that the circles of women around us weave invisible nets of love that carry us when we’re weak and sing with us when we’re strong. Let’s lean back and let the arms of women’s friendships carry us and help us to know ourselves better, and live our lives together.”

One of the things I am most thankful for in my life is the group of strong, hardworking, totally badass women that I am surrounded by on the daily. The way that they lift me up and love me. The way that they support me. The way they help me to see myself through their eyes and not through my broken ones.

In the last couple of years I have met some of the most amazing and supportive women. Women who have wiped away years of emotional scars and deep down distrust and hurt feelings associated with women from my past. Women who have helped to carry me through the hardest time in my life just by being here and loving me. Women who have held me and wiped away my tears. Women who have told me it is okay to not be okay. Women who have taught me I am enough. Women who have helped me pick up the pieces of my shattered heart. Women who have strengthened and empowered me. Women who have loved me exactly as I am. Women who are family to me.

I am so glad that I met these women. I am so glad they have showed me how truly strong and beautiful women friendships can be. I am so glad that they shattered the bullshit narrative that I was taught and bought into; that women are bitchy, and catty, and jealous and will do nothing but tear you down. I am so glad that they have helped me heal.

Let’s all be the strong beautiful women that lift each other up. The kind of women that help each other to see the beauty and strength and wonder in each other. The kind of women that listen and hear and understand and love. The kind of women that take care of each other when everything just feels too hard. The kind of women that I am lucky enough to have in my life every single day.

We all need these kinds of women. They make the world a better and more beautiful place. The kind of place that I wouldn’t mind sticking around to enjoy for a little longer.

“Here’s to strong women. May we know them, may we be them, may we raise them.”

Happy Birthday (Seriously what is the deal with special occasions?) to Me.

Today I am exhausted. The kind of exhausted that can only come after a couple of days of pretty high level anxiety. Tired in my bones and unable to focus on anything exhaustion. Ready to curl up under the covers and try to hide from all of my problems exhaustion.  “There’s no way I can physically make it through the next 5 minutes; half hour; hour; day” exhaustion. Tired in my soul exhaustion.

Anxiety really takes it out of you in a way that is difficult to explain. When your brain is going full speed like crazy for a extended period of time reminding you of all the ways you are a failing, stupid, awful, undeserving human it takes a toll. When your mind races about all the things that are about to go wrong and tells you there is nothing you can possibly do to stop it. When you can’t stop fidgeting, moving, tapping, feeling completely wound up for hours at a time. When your whole body is wound so tight you don’t even realize it but you are clenching almost every single muscle because you are physically unable to relax from the sheer stress. When you haven’t gotten a good night’s sleep in days because you are laying up feeling worried, guilty, awful, replaying things in your head and thinking about how you should have done so much better. The pure undiluted fear and worry. Being so utterly overwhelmed that you can do nothing but go sit in the bathroom at work for 15 minutes just to be alone and try to not break apart into a million pieces. Feeling all of these things all together along with worrying to the point of physical illness drains you.

The worst part of anxiety for me is that it is always caused by uncertainty. Things I cannot control or change. So there is no way to really “fix” it. The only thing I can do is manage my expectations and work on the way I respond and react to these triggers. Right now the only thing I want to do is lie in bed with the covers over my head and hide from my problems. Not the best solution but it is where I am in this moment. It will get better.

Most of the time anxiety leads to depression for me. It drains me both mentally and physically and all of my defense mechanisms fall to the wayside. I stop self care. Depression is a bigger problem for me so I have to try to stop the spiral before it gets out of control. That is what I am working on right now. In this moment. I have a checklist. My “needs” that I have to make sure I am meeting. Ways to slow the spiral. Am I eating right? Nope, just ate a slice of leftover birthday cake for dinner. Am I getting exercise? Yes, I ran tonight and have yoga tomorrow. Am I talking to someone? I guess this blog post can count. Sleep? Not so much, maybe tonight will be better. Alone time? Everything has just been too busy lately.

It is not going well. But I know what is lacking and I can work on it. I have the tools that I have gained from therapy. Plus experience has taught me that it WILL get better. I have hope.

I guess the point is that you can have a really long string of good days and sort of forget how bad it can get and then anxiety starts knocking on your door like “Hey girl hey, remember me? Oh my gosh can you believe how much you fucked up that thing today? Also that thing you said to that person? They totally know you are whackadoo cray. Hey let’s stay up all night and think about that. I bet tomorrow is going to be even worse.”

Lots of good days doesn’t mean you won’t still have bad days. Days with migraines and anxiety attacks and crying in the bathroom at work (I really thought those days were over).  But you can learn how to deal with those bad days and bounce back a little faster. You know that the bad days won’t last and you don’t let them consume you. You don’t let them take over and cause you to think this thing called life might not be worth trying anymore. You remember that IT GETS BETTER. And you can work and wait and hope. Because you know it’s worth it.

I’m going to wake up tomorrow and keep working. I am not going to spiral.  I am going to remember the good days and know they are just around the corner. I’m going to keep hoping. Because I am worth it.

Thank for reading this. And thanks for being here on this journey with me ❤

Find Your Tribe

Today at work 2  friends of mine brought me a gift. Swear word socks from Blue Q (my favorite thing) and a couple of other thoughtful things along with a hilarious card. It was a congratulations for graduating therapy gift. Last night my best friend took me to dinner and we talked about how awesome I am and ate delicious food to celebrate. I have had so many other people reach out with kind words of support. You guys this is what it is all about. Community.

I have struggled with deep bouts of depression before and it was so hard to get out of. The thing about this time was that even though it was the worst bout ever and I was the lowest I’ve ever been it seemed a little easier to get out. Not faster by any means, but a little less work. There was one big difference. This time I had people.  I had support. I was not alone.

This time I didn’t do it all on my own, hiding my struggle pretending I was okay while I was secretly dying inside. This time I put it all out there and that made all the difference. On the worst days I could share my struggles and find real love and support. I had people reach out and say, “I’ve done this before and I know how hard it is. You are strong. You can do this. We need you.” And even though it didn’t make it better it did make me feel less alone and that alone feeling is the one that usually pushes me over the edge. That alone feeling is the one that makes me lose hope.

Part of the power of depression is its ability to make you feel alone. To make you feel isolated. To get in our head and make us think that nobody would even care if we weren’t here. Sharing our struggles and finding a strong support system can take some of that power away.

There is nothing wrong with struggling. It happens to so many people. The thing that is bad is when we think there is something wrong with us because of it. When we think we are less than. When we think we are weak. When we believe we are failing because this doesn’t happen to everyone else. When we start to believe that little voice in our brain that tells us the world would be better without us. The support of others in our struggles can quiet that voice.

If you are struggling I encourage you to share it with someone. You don’t have to be crazy like me and spread it all over the interwebs for all to see. But find some people. Find a community of people that will love and support you without judgment. You will be surprised at how many people in your circle have struggled just like you. And you will be surprised at who steps up for you. There are so many people out there ready to support you and love you through this. Find your tribe guys. Because it is worth it. And so are you ❤

Let’s smash the shit out of this stigma.20180212_165807

The Magic of Meds

I went to pick up a refill of my meds today and I realized I have officially been medicated for 4 months. It made me spend a little while reflecting on what these last four months have been like and how the meds have affected my life in a positive way.

Just over 4 months ago I hit the most absolute rock bottom I have ever been in my whole life of dealing with depression. I have had a few crisis -like times in my life and I thought I had hit my lowest a few months previous but this time was different. I had no desire to live. I wished more than anything in the world that I was dead. I was sure that I was a burden to everyone around me, a drain on their energy, their lives, convinced they would be better without me. I was completely devoid of happiness and unable to find any joy, any color in life or the world around me. Everything felt so gray and cold. Hopeless. I was a completely hollowed out empty shell. I was ready to end it.

The day I went to the doctor to talk about meds they went through the regular questions to assess my mental health risk. My answers were terrifying as I heard them but what was even scarier was that I lied. If I had answered truthfully I would have been admitted to the emergency room that day. Had I been able to feel anything at that point I would have felt some pretty deep fear but instead I felt numb. I don’t know why I decided to try this one more thing, but I did, and for that I am glad.

I went home with my prescription. Along with the numbness and deep penetrating hopelessness I also felt like a failure. I couldn’t believe that it had come to this. But at the same time I had no energy left to try anything else so I decided this was it. Sort of a last ditch effort at life I guess.

I took my pills every day and slowly… so slowly… things started to change. My constant anxiety dulled. It didn’t go away but the meds took the edge off. And that was enough to give me just a little bit of energy to deal with life. My compulsion to control every single thing, in my life and all around me, dulled. I didn’t feel the constant need for perfection in every facet of my life. I was able to let shit go. Little tiny things at first but then bigger things. I started sleeping better, feeling rested. Slowly the colors started coming back to my life. The numbness faded and the feeling came back. I felt like I was waking up after a long, restless sleep. Things were not fixed by any means but they were just a little bit easier and that was enough.

This process with meds took months and I was lucky because the first one I tried worked well with no terrible side effects. There was other work that went into me feeling better but ultimately, I would not be here today for my husband and kids if I had not taken that step to talk to my doctor about meds. If I had not gone home and taken them every day. If I had not fought my broken brain. If I had not fought the negative stigma and feeling of failure that is so closely associated with mental health and medication.

There is no shame in medication for depression and anxiety. It is chemistry plain and simple. Your brain is unable to produce what it needs for you to feel happy or it is actively blocking the chemicals that make you happy. That is an oversimplification of course because we all know depression is not feeling unhappy. It is so much darker and scarier than that. But sometimes some brains need help. You take medication when your body is sick so why would you not take it when your brain is sick? Nobody deserves to feel the way that I felt. The way that so many other people feel. Nobody should ever feel so hopeless that the only way they can find to end the pain is to stop existing. We are so lucky to have access to these life-saving medications and we should not feel even one minute of hesitation in taking advantage of them to live a life of normalcy and maybe even occasional happiness.

So if you feel hopeless get some help. Talk to a friend. Talk to your doctor. Find a therapist. GET MEDICATED. The one thing you shouldn’t do is feel bad or guilty or like a failure. Not for one damn second. You are loved. Probably by many, even though you can’t see it. And we need you. This world, your friends, your family, me. We all need you. And you are worth it. I am so glad I was able to see that and make the decision to get help. And if me telling my story can help even one other person to get the help they need then it is worth it.

If you need to talk to someone right now please call 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to 741741 to chat with someone. You are worth it.

Graduation Day

I had therapy yesterday. We talked about a lot of things. The latest self-help book I read and what I learned from that. The tough relationships I am dealing with. Feelings and progress and challenges.

The last couple of times I have gone my therapist has had to do less talking and we have done a lot more highlighting my progress. I have had less challenges and nothing that has felt like a crisis.

At the end of my appointment when we usually talk about setting up my next appointment my therapist asked if I felt like I really needed to set up a “next” appointment. We talked about how well I am doing with the tools I have gained. We talked about how proud she was of me and all the work I have put in to my recovery and the amazing success I have had. She told me that in her opinion I have accomplished most of the goals I set when I came to her and in her opinion I was ready to graduate.

Wow. I did not expect this to happen so soon. But when I evaluate how I am doing things now compared to months ago it is incredibly different. It is more healthy. I feel good. I am managing. And it is time.

Don’t get me wrong, there is still so much work to do. I have some big, big issues that I am not ready to move past and tackle yet and things will never be easy for me. Things that are easy for normal people like self care, self love, internal validation, not seeking outside approval, accepting compliments, over-responsibility, self-blame for everything in the entire world, control, and a million other things will always take 100 times more work for me than for other people. But I have the tools and I am doing the work. And it is a little less exhausting than it was in the beginning.

I am not recovered. I am not “better”. But I am better than I was. I am healthier. I am stronger. I am happier. And I am proud of myself. After a lifetime of never feeling “good enough” and a total inability to feel pride I feel it today. This is one of the biggest accomplishments of my life and something I thought was impossible. I feel so good about this. And optimistic for the future. And a tiny bit terrified that she thinks I can do this on my own now 😉

Mental health is a never ending journey and the process of recovery is multi-faceted and difficult. For me it has involved so many things I never thought I would do. I will continue with my meds, I will take care of myself, I will be prepared for setbacks, I will let my therapist know when I am ready to tackle the next big scary things, and I will openly share my struggles to help stop the stigma surrounding mental health. But for today I will revel in my progress and take a minute to be proud of myself because that is a feeling that I have not been able to feel before. And I have worked SO. DAMN. HARD for it. And it feels really fucking good. ❤

The Year the Music Died

Music. It has the power to make you smile or make you cry. It can transport you to another time conjuring memories of all sorts of things. It can immediately remind you of certain people or times in your life. Of happy days or sad days. Of trivial things and monumentally important moments in your life. It has power. And it has long been one of my favorite things in life.

 

Music can offer comfort when you feel pain. It can give you an outlet for pain or rage. It can be a mindless distraction. It can help you focus. It can do all of these things and more but mostly it can make you feel.

 

I was raised around music. A constant stream of different genres and artists and albums playing in the car and at home. We often played name that tune together as a family and I had a great and varied musical education and an appreciation for all types of music. It was woven into every memory I have. It was a thing I needed and loved in my life. It was important to me in so many ways.

 

I am constantly listening to music or just singing. I often make up my own songs or hum or whistle along to whatever task I am doing like a constant soundtrack to my life. I played 3 instruments in high school and belonged to the choir and participated in musicals. My dream was to move to New York and perform on Broadway. On my last birthday back in March my family bought me a drum kit because learning to drum has been a dream of mine for a long time. To say music is a part of my life is not giving it enough credit. Music is a part of me. It is woven into every fiber of my being. My life has never felt complete without it.

 

Until this year.

 

When my depression and anxiety started getting really bad I found myself turning off the music. I no longer listened to it at my desk at work. I didn’t listen to it at home. I even turned the radio off in the car. It all sounded like noise in my head. It annoyed me and made me at times angry. It made my anxiety worse. It made me jittery and unable to focus and I just felt deep down bad when it was on. Even in the background. I stopped singing. I stopped whistling. I stopped drumming.

 

My life became pretty silent.

 

I don’t know why this happened. If it was the memories? After all I am working through some pretty heavy shit from my growing-up years and maybe music is so interconnected with that time in my life that I can’t separate it. Or maybe it is just the way that depression takes all of the joy out of your life. I know how much I love music and it brings me happiness so maybe my brain was trying to take that away. Depression is a savage bitch sometimes. It doesn’t just make you feel “sad” but it  also takes away all of the coping mechanisms and things in your life that bring you joy and make you feel good. It leaves you empty. It turns out the music and leaves everything silent.

 

There are so many things that used to bring me joy that depression has ruined in the last year. Running, exercise, outdoors, nature, time with my family, just the beauty of the world around me. It has dulled my light and muted the colors and turned down the volume of the song in my heart. It is one of the worst things about depression. You can no longer do the things that bring you happiness. And you spiral down into the dark with nothing to lift you up out of it.

 

Lately, though, the volume has started to turn up again. Little by little I am turning the radio on. At first it was in the car. Then sometimes around the house and even occasionally at work. Little baby steps. Just like all of the other little things that used to make my heart sing. The other day I even caught myself whistling as I walked down the hallway at work. It actually startled me at first but then brought a smile to my face.

 

Depression is tough. It is dark and cold and scary as hell. But when you start to come out of it is a beautiful feeling. Like spring in Minnesota. It starts so slowly it is almost imperceptible. A little tiny thaw. Then a little more and a little more until things start greening up and you notice the sun has been shining for awhile now. I have felt the first trickle of that thaw and noticed a little more sunshine. I hope it keeps shining. Because I sure as hell missed it.

 

If you are struggling keep holding on. Spring is coming. Maybe not soon but eventually. So keep doing the hard work. It is worth it. You are worth it. And we need you ❤