Let me preface this by saying this was not the intended post for the day. I was going to post about how to make a pretty headboard…but this felt more important. Also, I didn’t edit this. I wrote it last night when I was feeling low, and I took a chance. In fact I scheduled this to post before I usually wake up in the mornings so I couldn’t change my mind. Please forgive any run-on sentences or misspelled words… this is from my heart <3 I’m the bubbly one, the smiley one, the girl who’s always cracking jokes, but this isn’t me all the time. Sometimes I feel like I have no control of my body, and I don’t even know how to deal with myself. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be for other people in my life…but they tell me not to think like that; “It’ll make it worse”, they say. I have depression. I’m not afraid to admit it. For a while I thought it was something to be ashamed of, and actually sometimes I still do. But it’s no more my fault that I have depression than it is someone’s fault that they have a disease. This is hard to get a grasp on. I feel guilty a lot. I spend my days telling myself that I’m lazy and that if I just tried harder this would go away. If I could just eat healthier, or keep the house cleaner, or exercise more, surely I wouldn’t be so depressed, right? Nope, not at all. I tried that for waaaay too long. I tried fighting it on my own for way too long. I spent multiple days in a row in bed not wanting to talk to anyone, not wanting to go anywhere, and finding it difficult to even take a shower (which made it worse). All the while I was thinking, “You are wasting your life, just get UP”. But I couldn’t. Wanna know why? It wasn’t my fault. It’s still not my fault. Let me put this in writing for myself as well as for anyone else out there who has depression or loves someone who is depressed: Depression in NOT a character flaw. It’s a medical condition.
It’s so hard to understand though, even when you’re the one going through it. I get so down on myself because I feel like I’m not doing my best, living life to the fullest, whatever you want to call it. Most days I feel like a failure…and it’s really really hard to get out of that mindset. When looking back on my life, there are several times that stand out because they really proved to me that it wasn’t my fault, but it’s still hard to understand. Depression is the most obvious to me when everything in my life is perfect, and I still feel terrible.
When I was 19, everything was great. I had a new boyfriend who was incredible, I was going to my local community college and taking art classes, I was living with my amazing and supportive family, and I had a group of friends that I loved. But my hair was falling out… a lot. Like, I avoided washing my hair at all costs because it made me cry to watch my beautiful hair clog the drain. I didn’t tell anyone because I thought it was my fault, and that I just had a bad attitude and I wasn’t trying hard enough. But by bottling up my feelings and depression so much, my body made a desperate cry for help. I was over at my boyfriends late one night and I just broke down. “I’m so sad and I don’t know why, and my hair is FALLING OUT.” I could hardly even get those words out I was crying so hard, as I still often do. I was hyperventilating and catching my breath was getting harder and harder. This is when Kirby drove me up to my parent’s house and got them at 1:00 in the morning; we were all scared. I felt relieved, scared, and embarrassed all at the same time. I just KNEW I was overreacting and being dramatic. I must be, right? I got help. My family and Kirby are so supportive and got me to doctors and psychiatrists and psychologists and anyone they could think of that could help me…. But it still wasn’t fixed.
Two years later Kirby and I went to Europe, and again, it was a perfect time in my life. We had five weeks off together to travel; we had nothing but time, love, and new things to discover. Our travel plans were flawless, the weather was perfect, and our trip was everything we dreamt it would be…except I was sitting in our room in Cinque Terre (a heavenly small town on the west coast of Italy) sobbing for unknown reasons. Feeling guilty, of course, that I wasn’t enjoying the perfection that was my life. “It must be my fault,” I thought. “Clearly I don’t know how to just let it all go and enjoy my life”. Again, I was wrong. It wasn’t my fault.
Skip ahead to our Honeymoon in Costa Rica, age 25, just 7 months ago. Our wedding was perfect and it lived up to every small detail I had wanted since I was a little girl. Not only was our wedding a dream, I married the most perfect, dreamy (yes, he is seriously dreamy) and wonderful man I have ever met. We had a view to die for, tropical drinks were flowing, the weather was perfect, and all of my bikinis were fitting just to my liking. What did I do for some of the time on our honeymoon? I cried. Sobbed, in our beautiful, perfect room with a view. “You ungrateful bitch,” I thought. “You can’t even enjoy your life NOW? Kirby deserves so much better. What is wrong with you. Go DO something. Enjoy yourself. Have FUN.” But in that moment, I couldn’t. Wanna know why? It. Wasn’t. My. Fault. It was my depression. My ugly, stubborn, nasty depression.
The thing about depression is you can’t fix it on your own. You need help. I’m doing another post about what has helped me, but if I included everything this would go on forever…there is a lot to say because this has been a long journey. Oh, but the other thing…? You can’t fix me either. It took my wonderful, caring, sweet, patient husband a long time to understand this. It’s not in my control, and it’s not in your control. You can’t will your partner into not having high blood pressure, and it’s the same with my depression. This sounds hopeless, doesn’t it? Yeah, it feels that way, too. I’ve had a bad past few days, but I’ve been trying to just take care of myself, which I wouldn’t have done several years, or even months ago. It’s a long journey of learning what works for you. Instead of being curled up in my bed crying right now, I’m drinking tea and writing about my feelings for the whole world to read…for me, that’s major progress.
It is so so hard to write about the times when my picture perfect life just…wasn’t. These days with social media, we feel a pressure to make everything look like a Kodak moment. I often joke that we’re quick to put up pictures of us laughing with our friends and dressed up for the night, but not so much during the moments we’re crying on the couch in our pj’s and eating ice cream. You don’t want people to know about those times, because it makes you look lame, weak, what have you. But to me, that makes us real. One of our goals on this blog is to keep it real. To include the good with the bad. I’m taking a risk by putting myself out there, because I know I’m not the only one. There are ways to feel better. I promise. But more than anything, know this: It’s not your fault.