I Survived Mother’s Day!

Holidays can be really hard when you suffer from depression. The expectations, the “forced” gatherings, the millions of triggered thoughts that go along with it… It’s easy for us to get lost in our thoughts and find new reasons to mentally beat ourselves up.

However, I’m happy to report that I made it out alive! The negative thoughts were there, but the good overpowered them in the end.

The Good

My daughter was super-sweet. She drew me a card and gave me gifts that she made at school. I was able to go to a nice brunch with my parents. My step-kids had gifts for me when I got home. My husband even did some housework for me, and made a point to give me extra hugs! And I swear my pets knew something was up, because they all seemed a little more lovey that day. =) I was also able to face time my brother from overseas; he’s always so thoughtful.

The Bad

My anxiety was boiling up before the brunch. I don’t usually wear dresses and I was feeling super self-conscious about it. I couldn’t even wear a shoe that matched because of being on crutches; all my nicer shoes had heels which just seemed like a bad idea. I was starting to panic about having to cross the dining room on crutches with everybody staring at me (a shy, introvert’s nightmare!), not to mention getting a plate of food! As we headed out, all I wanted to do was to get the morning over with.

Upon returning from brunch, the step-kids were back home from grandmas house. I never know what to expect from the moody teens so I just wanted to go hide in my bedroom. There were colorful packages sitting on the counter, but I brushed past them pretending not to see. I felt really awkward about receiving gifts from them on Mother’s Day. I’m not their mom. And I felt even worse that they didn’t send anything to theirs (totally their choice). I was worried they felt obligated in some way, and I didn’t want them to feel pressured.

After recent weeks of feeling really unappreciated, the bad thoughts started to swarm. I told myself they only got me something because their grandma had pushed them to. I told myself that nobody really cared. The days leading up to the holiday I had told myself that my forgetful husband wouldn’t even pay attention to the holiday because he was preoccupied with the trip he was on all last week. I didn’t have high expectations for this day.

The Conclusion

Overall, the day turned out well. I counted my blessings and was thankful for the love from my family. As you can see, even a good day doesn’t go by without a million mini-battles (I didn’t even mention all of them!). Depression is a fight. Every. Single. Day. I don’t know how the good managed to come out on top this time. I’m just glad it did.

 


Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms that are fighting to get through the day! I hope you found at least a tiny bit of peace. 💝

The Brass Ring

As I rode down the street I used to travel every day, I tilted my head up to take in the view. The beautiful canopy trees reached out from both sides of the street as if they were playing the childhood game ‘London Bridge’ with the passing cars. The air was warm and the sun was bright. I missed this.

This street made my heart happy. I enjoyed living in this town and would happily go back. I was amazed that after so long I could still get the same feeling I did the first time I drove down this road. I can remember it so clearly.

I had lived here for several years. And the sad truth is, that feeling faded while I did. It became normal. The same view day after day, as I drove home after a stressful day of work. It was hard to capture the magic during rush hour traffic, coming off a 1-2 hour commute. I stopped pausing to look up.

It’s human nature to get distracted by life or caught up in the details. The magic is still there, but you forget how to see it. Maybe happiness is in the big picture. How often do we think to ourselves “If I could just live here..” or “If I just had this…” or “If I were just…”. But even if you had those things, there too, would come a day when you get used to it. The excitement fades. The newness wears off. It becomes normal. It won’t always feel the same as it did when you were looking in from the outside.

I feel that when people are depressed they tend to view life in this way. A magical setting or situation that would be the cure to all that ails them. Failing to realize that the picture can’t sustain itself. It’s either a warped view of reality, or something else is missing that we aren’t able to see.

Are our expectations just so high that we don’t realize what we have when it’s right in front of us?? Does “happiness” turn out to be a disappointment, never living up to the image we had in our heads? Or is it the missing piece that makes the perfect situation still seem empty?

What are we missing? What is the invisible wall that blocks us from the life others are living? Why are we outside the box? What is so hard about feeling an emotion?? We have plenty of them (all the bad ones)! It doesn’t make sense.

Depression is an illness, a mental condition. It is not controllable; occasionally manageable, at best. It’s not a switch you can flip on or off. It’s a mental state that runs your life regardless of what you try to do, or how you try to think. Depression is bigger than you.

Chasing happiness in the midst of depression is like looking for that brass ring to grab onto. Sometimes you get your fingers on it, but they slip off again before you can really hang on. 🎠

 


Thoughts?

Reflections On Happiness

I haven’t written in several days. At first, it was because of a lack of privacy. While having others around, however, it was easier to get absorbed into various activities and even enjoy them a bit. When having a good time, it’s hard to break from that and write about depression. A good mood is such a fragile state that you don’t want to chance anything ruining it. So you run with it. My apologies.

I had a few good days. That’s not to say that the entire day was good. I’m not sure a depression-free day ever truly happens for me. There seems to always be something hiding behind the curtain, waiting to pop out. A simple “good day” doesn’t seem like too much to ask for. But when you get so close you can taste it, and the day is once again marred by depression, you begin to feel as if you must be punished for having fun.

Happiness sometimes feels surreal. It’s as if you’re borrowing someone else’s (a happy person’s) life and just renting it for the day. Just to get a taste of what it’s like. But the happiness isn’t truly yours. You don’t belong there because it’s not who you really are. Who are you trying to fool? You know better. Stop pretending.

Some of the “good” days were just… days. Notable only for their lack of bleeding emotions. While it was nice to not have an emotional meltdown for once, it was this kind of day I found truly disturbing. You see, without something good happening to make a day stand out in the opposite (positive) way, the entire day becomes colorless. All the motions are mundane. You feel empty with nothing to look forward to. At least with the crazy emotions of depression there’s a vibrancy to life. You’re alive because you are feeling something; even when it’s bad. It’s scary to think that all this time I’ve been chasing happiness, only to find out it could really be nothingness. What a disappointment that would be.

But maybe this, too, is the depression talking. Maybe what I thought was a “normal” day was still a bad one… just higher up on the happiness scale. Maybe I wasn’t as close to feeling what others feel as I thought I was. Maybe there’s more. I can only hope.

——

As I look around me watching others go about their day, they don’t seem to struggle like me. They don’t look like they are just waiting for time to pass, like me. They don’t seem to have to try as hard to grasp onto something that makes them feel good. It has to be me. There’s more. I believe that.

Now if I could just figure out how to get there……

 


What is happiness to you? How does it feel?

Yay Me!

Giving myself a pat on the back today, because I was (mildly) productive! I finally made some calls, scheduled some appointments, and made some plans. I’ve had these ‘To Do’ items in my calendar for weeks and just kept pushing them back. But today I completed them! Yay me!

Not sure what was different about today. Don’t know what the magical recipe was that finally made these things happen. Even if I figured it out, there’s no guarantee it would work the same the next time. That’s the sucky thing about depression. There’s no constant fix.

Maybe it was the fact that I had mentally been psyching myself up to do these tasks for so long. Maybe it was the guilt of failing day after day. Maybe it was the fact that I have someone in the house with me today and I was feeding off other energy. Whatever it is, I’m grateful. Because getting those things done lifts an invisible weight off my shoulders and makes me feel better about myself. Even if for only a few hours.

I should probably explain that I’m also an introvert with social anxiety. So something as simple as making a phone call, and interacting with unfamiliar people, can be an extremely daunting task. A mere minute can feel like a lifetime! Believe me, I know how crazy that sounds. It just a phone call. Big deal, right? But in my world it’s huge. Because it’s scary, and unknown/unplanned. I’m awkward in the moment. I prefer to have things planned out- right down to what I may need to say.

One of the conversations did go off-course. I froze and started to panic, struggling to think of what to say. I’d had everything planned out, and now I suddenly had to plan on the fly- without a nearby calendar. I finally managed to get out “I’ll have to call back”. The lady on the phone was very nice and patient. That helped.

I survived.

Now the best I can hope for is that my good mood remains and doesn’t tank before the day is out. Not very likely when wading through depression. But for now, I’m gonna ride this wave! =)

 


What have you accomplished recently that made you feel good?? (Big, small, or minuscule; because every accomplishment in the face of depression is something to celebrate!)