Do I equal my depression?

There was an excellent piece of writing (in Finnish) in our main newspaper about how depression is percieved in the society. 

The article talks about how, if you are able to work, have friends or perhaps go for a jog, your depression is not believable.

Found on Pinterest

It’s pretty risky to think that all suffering from depression would act the same way. Even health care professionals seem to make this mistake a lot of times. 

But we all have different personalities, and we all have different lifestories.

Let’s talk about me for a moment here, cause that’s a subject I’m quite familiar with… 

Why I got depressed, when someone else in my situation might have survived without?

For eight months I was practically not sleeping, and eating such a low-calorie diet (breastfeeding diet because of Junior’s allergies), I must’ve been starving. But I was used to taking care of everyone else, before thinking about myself. We had two small kids to take care of.

I wasn’t really asking myself, how I was doing.

I am stubborn as hell, a control freak and an overachiever. It was so hard to admit I needed help. It was even harder admitting the depths of those dark holes that I had been down. 

I felt that I didn’t “deserve” to feel as bad as I did, cause I had all these beautiful things and people in my life. But the anger, the panic attacks, the despair and the apathy was there and I didn’t invite it. But it took an actual physical illness to eventually gain me access to therapy and medication. Because I wasn’t just laying in bed all day. Because I put my mascara on. Because I showered?

Even as I write this, I’m not entirely sure, if I will ever post this. 

In some ways I want to participate (if I can) in making depression less of a taboo.

In others, I’m afraid people will start judging everything I do (or even worse – they will start acting differently towards me) based on this somewhat minor detail about me. I say minor, because fundamentally I am who I have always been – in good and bad. 

But if you have never gone down this path, some things must be hard to understand… 

Like how, when I was in my darkest place, for a social worker to ask me to spend 15 minutes playing with our kid was like asking for the moon. 

Like how it is possible to spend a night out with friends acting all happy and “normal”, while being afraid of the next day. 

How it is totally possible to wash your hair and do your make-up, but still want to jump off a balcony so you wouldn’t have to listen to anymore demands from anyone, including yourself.

And how it is possible to come back from that dark place and become you again.

Or perhaps even a better version of you? My happiness project is not strictly speaking a means to cure me from depression. I do other stuff for that, as I’ve mentioned in earlier posts. The happiness project is more a tool to help me grow as a person.

So that I will be braver. So that if I fail in something, I will bounce back faster. So that my need for making people happy doesn’t eat me up. So that I can believe people can like me for who I am – even if I am a bit awkward, talk too much and have the weirdest sense of humor. And if I am not liked, that is ok too. So that I will not let my screaming ego stand in the way of doing things. 

(An example; right now my ego is shouting like a maniac: “how selfish to think anyone would want to read about your story! Why should anyone care! If you post this, you will ruin your life for sure!”)

And already concentrating on the little things has helped a lot. It’s never going to be pure sunshine 100% of the time – but that’s just life.

Even a simple “pulla” can make you happy for all the right reasons

My motto for years used to be “think negative and you shall not be disappointed.” In the future I want my motto to be more like:

“Think positive and good things are going to happen.”

Side effected by happiness project

There are things brewing inside me that I totally put down to my trying to understand what makes me happy. 

Now, let’s see what I have noticed, or done lately, that I would never have imagined doing in the past!

– Feeling at ease hugging people. Also having an urge to touch all kinds of things in addition to people. I love the texture of leaves, trees rocks… You name it!

– Exploring my surroundings and finding beautiful new places (nope, not been a given at all! New things and places can freak me out!)

This place is like a 20 minute walk from home. Took me a year to have the courage to go find the place.
 

– Sang infront of a group of people. All sober. In daylight. Didn’t pass out. I think I found myself a new hobby!

– Followed my intuition telling me, I should try to get to know one person better. This one sort of backfired in some ways, but I’m still proud of myself for speaking out this time, instead of bottling that thought in.  I mean, if new places and things are scary, how about people then!! 

– I’m enjoying jogging. What the f? I have always hated jogging. Now I need to stop myself so I won’t overdo it. Perhaps I have finally realized, I don’t have to taste blood when running, for it to count as exercise. 

Generally that annoying voice inside my head telling me I can’t be this and that, can’t do this and that or can’t say this and that, is quiet more often than it used to be. It’s exciting, but admittedly a little scary at times too!

I may follow my intuition more freely these days, but my ego still likes to play the drama queen when something doesn’t go exactly according to plan. 

I’ll keep on my chosen path towards happiness and perhaps the ego will soon hush up for good.