See this for the lyric reference I miss The Hush Sound. Ah, 2005.
Well hello there-it’s been a while!I suppose I have some explaining to do in the wake of my very long break.
I believe I shared back in the spring that I was going through a tight one. I had a significant struggle with a family member that really threw me into a loop of confusion and sadness. While I find myself as a pretty emotionally competent person, being rejected by someone who you thought loved you unconditionally can really take a toll.
Some days I thought it didn’t bother me and I suppose that on some days, it didn’t. But on the days it did bother me, it bothered me completely. Days kept coming and my sadness stuck around and grew into the dark curmudgeon-y cloud depression is known to be. Thanks depression, you’re super swell. There were some hard days and often I’d feel guilty for being depressed. “Stop feeling this way. You have so much Good in life. Stop it.” Why does that never work. Well I am happy to report that the big bad rainstorm is over for now and I’m able to at least reflect back on the longevity of the last 10ish months. I can say now that this cloudy time was different and before I delve into explaining the hard parts I would like to first share the other piece of what happens when someone is depressed-a lot of cool, awesome, fun, and exciting things happened in my life. I just had to invite Mr. CC (Curmudgeon Cloud) along sometimes.
*disclaimer-this post really isn’t about what it feels like to be depressed, or even all the facets that come along with it. It’s really just focused as a recap and explanation of the last 10 months or so.*
Here’s some highlights since we last chatted:
- I didn’t resort back to old habits to numb my sadness. I successfully made progress with my eating habits. I had to make choices though because there simply weren’t enough spoons for the Full Monty of peak health-after the 5/10K I completed, I kind of stalled in physical activity. I tried to keep my steps up and did take walks when I could. I am really proud of this- more on the WW journey to come at a later time. (and, I recently signed up for yoga classes again, and plan on going to some fun group fitness classes!)
- I was selected to the be the Midwest Ambassador of the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council! I’m the only woman, too! Really all this means is bragging rights but I received some very nice messages (and gifts) from some of my favorite Midwest hot dog establishments (SuperDawg and Portillo’s-you know your Ambassador loves you). I’m still hoping this will lead to like, a judge for a hot dog eating/tasting contest or something, but we’ll see. This was a legit highlight and has brought about some great notoriety for me-especially at work.
- I became an Aunt again!
- I learned I’m allergic to mango skin. This is a real thing. It is painful. I love fresh mango. I had to go through the ordeal twice to figure it out, too. Sigh. Okay this wasn’t fun-but funny maybe?
- I watched my bffl be sworn in as President of a cause that is very near and dear to her. I love seeing my friends succeed and I was one of her VIPs at her induction.
- I took a pottery class and it was a blast. I had this whole Wednesday agenda where I’d go be creative for 3 hours and then grab my favorite Indian food and go home and eat on the couch while watching TV. It was great!
- I went on adventures! I saw great movies! I read like 35 books (a huge increase, more on this in a moment). I went to concerts! I ate delicious new foods! I spent time with my fantastic friends! I made a couple new friends! I even pushed myself out of my comfort zone!
And through most of all that, the cloud wasn’t too far away. I’ve been depressed before, and I’m sure it’ll show up again, but I have to say this time was different. I have spent the last few weeks analyzing just what made it different so that hopefully, I can catalog away what helped me for the next cloudy moment. I know that the issue that took place in the spring (and happened to align with me not only starting WW but also this blog adventure) spun me into sadness because it triggered some very deep rooted fears and pains. So, while I sat with my feelings I also acknowledged the fun little boogers too. What I came to learn was:
- In my heart of hearts, fear not being accepted by those I love and I fear being forgotten. I know where these fears come from and I now know that while the little voice in my head who, God bless her heart, is just trying to protect us, screams on and on about, “YOU ARE GOING TO GET US HURT STOP IT. STOP IT!” She is wrong. It’s that simple. She’s just wrong now. I am far too valuable to others to be forgotten and I am accepted by those with the capacity to accept me. Short of me being a complete ass to someone (which really isn’t in my nature), if someone decides that they no longer want to be in my life….it’s because of something they need to deal with. It’s not me and most importantly, it’s nit my fault. However, it’s still a painful realization, but it’s easier to digest. And that’s exactly what happened this spring. I still have moments where I have to remind Little Voice that it wasn’t us…it was them. And that doesn’t mean that I don’t have to work through the sadness of no longer having that connection-but it does mean that I don’t have to live with the pain in my heart of being rejected or that everyone else will leave me too. Over time the pain in my heart related to what was being to me changed to pain in my heart for what that person must be going through. Knowing I do not have any way of helping them heal so that they can accept healthy relationships sucks-but that is a part of everyone’s own journey.
- It is possible to acknowledge uncomfortable and unwanted feelings and not fall to hell. That, I guess, it what some may call recovery? Being able to acknowledge ‘X’ and not letting it rule your life? I’m still not quite sure this can be replicated in perpetuity but I’m happy to keep my optimism. This doesn’t mean there weren’t hard times. This doesn’t mean I didn’t have moments where I thought that nothing would ever feel good again. And it sure in the hell does not mean that it was/is FUN sitting with shitty emotions, thoughts, and feelings (UGH). It really just means that being able to acknowledge my feelings and what triggered them was really helpful and ultimately helped me walk out of the dark. This I hope to carry with me forever and help use as the ’emotional umbrella’ to help pass the future storms.
- Once I noticed what was going on with me, I was honest about it. I told my sister in law (who offered support). I told my boss (who offered support). I told people close to me (who ultimately, offered support) and was honest about it. I normalized the feeling. I wasn’t asking for special privileges but just being able to be honest about being down was really freeing. And, side note, no one looked at me like I had a second head. No one pitied me. They were just good people-who would have imagined that? In the future I will strive to do this more. Radical acceptance, if you will.
- I’m not sure when I started this, but at some point I took to heart the whole, “treat yourself like you would a young child, or your best friend.” This meaning, I was checking the script in my head constantly. I was asking why I was putting myself through situations or into positions that frankly, didn’t want to be in and didn’t have to do. When I was sad I didn’t beat myself up -I would tell myself, “aw sweetheart, it’s okay to not be okay right now. Let’s have a tea. Let’s have a nap. Let’s have a moment.” I rested when I needed a rest. I stopped the “I should….” and replaced it with, “I would like to….” I lightened up on myself. I have tried to fill my life with as much contentment as possible. This.has.been.a.lifesaver. Seriously. It sounds a little cheesy I guess, but really, it’s freeing. Think KonMari but for your head. Does this mean that I only live on the Happiness Island? No. It means that I acknowledged my thoughts and digest them all while listening to Me and not the endless chatter of Little Voice.
- This one sounds weird but let’s be honest, this whole blogpost is a free flow of conscious thought at this point. I am making a conscious effort to only surround myself with what is Best. Quality wins. Cozy wins (Hygge Life). Things that bring me joy wins. I do not have enough energy to waste on mediocre crap and I do not beat myself up anymore on walking away from anything that isn’t The Best. This means: I don’t have to finish this crappy cookie just because I took it and it was free. I don’t have to wear these jeans that kind of annoy me just because I typically wear my jeans til the thighs give out. I don’t have to finish this book because it feels weird to give up but UGH it really sucks. (Harder parts of this are, I don’t have to keep space for people who don’t keep space for me.) These are all really related to the previous comment about “I should”s and overall-back to guilt or possibly hurting someone else. Letting it all go.
- I read books by listening to them. Yep. Audio books. For a long time I was sad that spending a day reading a book made me feel incredibly guilty (YOU SHOULD BE DOING X INSTEAD) and couldn’t focus for more than a couple pages. So in 2018 I really focused on audio books and bam. problem solved. It’s incredible! It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I just love having a story told to me while I let my mind wonder as I physically complete some mundane task (showering, driving). God bless audio books. I have read some really awesome ones that I will recap some time. Many of them helped me navigate the rainstorm and come out stronger.