I’ve been staring at this computer screen, trying to figure out what to say and how to say it for a while now. As a matter of fact, every time I thought about writing on this topic, I just felt like I either couldn’t organize my thoughts or that I had nothing meaningful to say. I took some time away from writing, in general, for a few different reasons – the biggest of them being that I have really been struggling emotionally for a while now and I think I let myself succumb to that dark negativity… Dealing with persistent health problems is really freaking hard sometimes (I know I’m preaching to the choir) – add to that the feelings of hopelessness and directionless and you’ve got a recipe for depression.
My best friend from high school and I, both, used to refer to that place you go to in your mind when you get trapped in a cycle of negative thoughts and emotions as ‘the dark place’ (shout out to all my greys anatomy addicts). Depression was always too harsh of a word for me, even now – I cringe when someone says it, especially if they are speaking about me. I think the most appropriate description of where I’ve been lately, is trapped in the dark place. I don’t know when exactly I arrived to this place, nor do I think I’ve completely come out on the other side of those feelings yet, but I figured it was time that I dust off my keyboard, check-in with you guys, and let you all know what has been going on in my neck of the woods.
Like I said, it’s been somewhat of a struggle over here; especially when it comes to trying to explain what I’ve been going through emotionally. I have a lot of shame attached to the idea of depression, so part of my problem has always been acknowledging that there’s even something wrong! I have been telling myself for months that life would be so much better – and I would be so much better – if I could just find some sort of balance and direction and passion again. Balance like I had before getting sick (if you’d have known me back then, you’d know that ‘balanced’ is the furthest thing from what my life actually was, but for the sake of the story I’ll keep pretending).
I’m sure I’ve talked about it in past blogs, but before getting sick I had a pretty full life; I was in a relationship, owned my own home, had a career that I loved, and that I was growing in…it was something I was passionate about and it gave me purpose! After getting diagnosed, my (now) ex cheated on me and we split, I ended up selling my home and moving back in with my parents because I couldn’t physically keep up with the demands of homeownership; with rapidly increasing medical bills and being a one income household – I wasn’t cutting it financially. Can you believe that??? Purchased my first home at 23 and back living with my parents at 28… And perhaps most hurtful of all – I have watched many friends and family members disappear from my life for one reason or another. I have also continued to watch my peers advance in their lives, while I’m reduced to what feels like sitting on the sideline watching it all pass by.
With my health deteriorating, I have had to take a lot of focus away from my career to work on literally surviving from one day to the next, but it left me feeling empty. I worked really damn hard to get to the point that I was in life, all at the age of 24… I felt (and still feel) like I was robbed of my life! I loved my job…I loved my life… I loved being independent and not needing to rely on anyone else to function…I loved all of it – the good, the bad and the super stressful. And I feel like the universe cheated me! Whatsmore, I don’t recognize the person who I am today and this life that I’m living. These are really difficult things for me to reconcile and let go of, and just when I think I’ve made peace – something happens that reminds me that I’m still not in a place of acceptance.
I have tried to put on my best pageant smile and convince everyone (myself included) that I am ‘FINEEE’ and ‘everything happens for a reason’ and ‘it’s all good’ or try to make jokes to make everyone else more comfortable. The reality is I’M NOT OK!
I feel like I am trapped in a life that I am genuinely miserable in.
I feel like I have no purpose, or direction, or even passion anymore.
I feel like nobody loves me, nor is anyone ever going to love me.
I feel like I have been destined to sit on the sidelines and just watch life happen for everyone else.
I feel like every time I feel as though I’m making progress, I have another setback, and I feel like it’s always going to be that way.
I feel like all the things I wanted in life are completely out of reach for me, but not for EVERYONE around me.
I feel like I am constantly drowning in a sea of negative emotions and I don’t know how to fix it.
I think that having a purpose is really important, especially for your mental well being. I had a purpose before and having that helped me to push through many obstacles, but I feel like something inside of me has shifted and I just have not been able to find that passion again in anything. I really believe that’s where a lot of this negative energy has come from – I’ve been going through life directionless for the last few years. My focus has been on getting better and getting my lupus under control, but that’s just not enough for me! I can’t be the person whose whole life is defined by this disease. I just can’t! It’s suffocating!
So where does that leave me? I have no flippin’ idea…Still depressed and trying to figure out what the fuck my life is going to look like, I guess. In all seriousness, I feel like I am starting to peek my head out of the little cocoon I have been hiding in and I’m finally starting to recognize and acknowledge, that some of these feelings I’ve been having stem from depression (why does that feel like such a dirty word???). I’m going to really commit to working on healing myself emotionally as well as physically and figuring where I go from this point.
Let me know your thoughts on chronic illness and ‘the dark place’. Have you struggled with depression? What did you do to help get you through it?