Experience is a heck of a teacher. The last couple of weeks bought about a depression like I have never experienced before. It was as if the body was constantly in flight mode. Life has been physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally draining. With this came some learning opportunities. I actually learned a few things.
1. Everyone is different. He feels this. She thinks that. They don’t believe in these ideas. We don’t agree with those thoughts. It is all fine. We were meant to be different. Your experience and my experience will be different. Just because Billy Joe can climb a mountain with his hands tied behind his back and a blindfold covering his eyes doesn’t mean that I should expect to be able to even climb a steep hill. Does that comparison make any sense? Probably not. But the point is that we can compare ourselves to anyone, but to what avail? After the pros and cons have been weighed, what have we accomplished in our comparisons? Success and progress should never be measured on anyone’s scale other than our own.
2. I am me, and that is ok. I have feelings, beliefs, and thoughts. They don’t have to be shoved down anyone’s throat, but I don’t have to hide from them either. They are true. They are real, and I need to be more true to myself. So much of my life has been spent trying to give the right answer, respond with the appropriate gesture or look. Of course some of that is necessary for basic human kindness and interaction. The idea is that instead of being what everyone expects, what if I am just me. As of this moment, I don’t know what this kind of change will look like or what it will all entail, but there will be a conscious effort on my part to be more me and less of everyone’s idea of what me should be.
3. He isn’t the ruler of the world. Anyone who has read my posts from the last few weeks knows that there are some difficulties between me and my father. Much of the problems stem from my own way of thinking and will be changed with time. I have realized though that what he expects or thinks really doesn’t matter at this point. Should he be respected? Yep! Should anything be done to purposefully anger him or hurt him? Absolutely not. But he no longer sets the standard by which I live my life. He has had his turn at telling me what to do. Now it is my turn.
4. He is on medication, and I am not. It has also come to my attention that Dad takes a lot of medication. He struggles with many physical ailments and takes a lot of medications to help with his problems. Currently, I am taking none to help with my depression. So yes, he can get up everyday and face his problems as he pops his many, many pills to help him through his day. I think my struggling makes a lot of sense at this point. I am not on medication because the only medication available to me makes me want destroy myself. It seems, until I can get some new medicine, that living with depression might be better than not living at all.
4. I am stronger than I knew. As close as I was to giving up, I didn’t. As easy as it would have been to end everything, I didn’t. Strength has many faces and is not always loud. Sometimes the quietest among us may actually have the greatest strength.
5. Tears are not weakness. For years I felt that crying in front of others was a sign that somehow I was less of a person than they were. Tears are good. Holding in the tears is bad. Simple logic, and I like it.
6. Pain is inevitable. Part of the problem of the last few weeks was that a good answer for the hurt and pain of this life was unavailable. The truth is that there is not always a good reason for what happens in this life. Pain cannot always be prevented. It is a part of life. It doesn’t make sense. It isn’t pretty, but it is reality. Our job as human beings is to be there for others and to help them with their pain in any way possible. Some people need a hug. Some need a letter of encouragement. Others may need to know that they are wanted and seen. We never know what kind of pain people are facing. We need to be available to help.
7.Breathing and self talk are important. Going grocery shopping, sitting in church, walking through a parking lot, visiting friends … all these cause great anxiety. When the anxiety came, so did the self encouragement. ” You can do this. Just breath. Look at you. You are doing it! It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. They have little to no impact on your life. You just keep doing what you are doing. You are such a strong person. Keep breathing. Don’t stop breathing. Nice slow inhales and exhales. You are doing such a wonderful job. Do you see how strong you are? Do you see what a good job you are doing here? You are going to make it. Anything you are facing at this moment is temporary. What do we need to do next? Say hello to the lady sitting beside you? Let’s do it. It doesn’t have to be a long conversation. Just say hello and ask her how she is doing. See? You did it. You didn’t pass out. It doesn’t matter what she thinks at this point. You talked to her. You were sociable. Good job. You feel shaky? That is ok. No one said you had to be superwoman. You are doing a great job. Keep going.” Literally this is a typical conversation I have with myself in my head when things are difficult. Sadly, when I am alone, at night, at the end of the day, the conversation is similar only the exact opposite. But that is not the point here. The point is that sometimes you have to be your own cheerleader. In fact, if you are your own cheerleader, you know exactly what you need to hear. Sounds like a good system. Breathing, self talk, and sometimes even counting help me get through those extremely difficult situations.
8. Life changes quickly. Life brings with it many uncertainties. We never know when bad news will strike or when death will knock on our door or the door of a loved one. Crisis cannot always be avoided and crap happens. Today has been a decent day, but that could change quickly. I know that today being a good day does not ensure that tomorrow will be. And if today becomes bad, tomorrow could be better. Life changes quickly, and when we can, we should try to enjoy it.
9. People are flawed, but most are doing the best they can. It is easy to judge myself in one way, and then to judge others in a different way. People may behave in a way that we don’t understand or don’t like. And that is ok. It doesn’t mean they aren’t trying or that they don’t care. Sometimes they are just doing the best they can.
10. People need to be loved. If there is one basic that is common to all of humanity, is that we need to be loved. The smallest gesture can communicate love. Love doesn’t have to cost money. It need only be displayed. Yes, the possibility of being hurt comes with loving others. The pain can be worth it. Just because you have been hurt before doesn’t necessarily mean it will happen again. But loving others does open that possibility up. We must love others though. If we don’t, we are missing out on a large part of what life has to offer.
There is probably much more that can be said but my brain is tired, and the writing part of my brain satisfied. Thank you for reading, especially if you have made it all the way to the end of this post. Good luck to you, and cheers!