Disguised Truths

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I mentioned in yesterday’s post about the results I had going to the doctor and, since it is Mental Health Awareness Month, I want to talk about how we think in terms of generalizing things we feel.  Depression and anxiety are VERY real things but we are often too quick to label what we feel as one or both of those things.  There are many factors that contribute to a depressed feeling versus being depressed, and the same with anxiety.  I also want to add that it is perfectly normal to have highs and lows in our moods, but how we regulate to get back to baseline is key.  When we can’t return to who we are, that is when real issues start to creep in.

I’ve shared my struggle with anxiety throughout the years here going back to when I was a kid.  It is such a part of my life that I honestly don’t know what it would feel like to live without it.  But recently there was something else behind the anxiety.  I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders at all times, I felt completely unfulfilled in what I was doing, I couldn’t see which way to go, and I completely lost touch with asking myself what to do next because it got too overwhelming to do anything.  Truthfully, I got really sad as well—like I could turn the happiest of situations into a suck-fest real quick.  I’ve felt sadness before, I’ve felt it for long periods of time, but I never considered myself depressed because the anxiety was so prevalent, I just thought I was overdoing it.  I knew I had moments of depression, but I never considered myself depressed—like when I would go to the doctor, I never talked about the depression, or when they suggested depression I was quick to turn it back to anxiety or my attention issues.  I share this because, in order to get better, we need to admit and see the whole picture.  I had to admit that the depression was more frequent and taking over in other ways.  It would keep me from doing what I needed to do which would create more anxiety which would also trigger my ADHD which would circle me right back to depression and feeling like a failure. Mental Health is a complex thing and multiple facets trigger different layers.  All of them need to be treated to get better.

The other aspect of this is honestly looking at what the symptoms are.  For example, there were moments I knew I was depressed, but it really wasn’t about me.  I knew every single crappy thing people had done to me and I carried it like a damn back pack as evidence that I wasn’t worthy and I didn’t know how to put it down.  I read something that suggested depression has less to do with actual depression at times and more to do with our environment.  For example, maybe we’re not depressed, maybe it’s the people we’re surrounding yourself with—like I mentioned above, I carried what people actually did to me with me at all times.  I never learned to let that go.  Maybe we’re bored because we’re not fulfilling our purpose or taking action toward it.  If we have the slightest proclivity to being depressed and have a crappy support system, or a negative space around us, then we are going to feel so much worse and it’s going to be that much more difficult to get out of it.  As I said in the beginning, depression is VERY real but there are also external factors.  I will say that addressing the actual depression made dealing with the external factors easier because it’s easier to distinguish what is coming from the outside and walk away versus what needs help.

Mental Health is a tricky puzzle to solve at times.  It takes persistence and dedication to get to the real root of the issue, and it can be discouraging at times to find what we think is the answer only to have it crumble.  But this life is a journey and it is no different in addressing the mental health issues that hold us back: we have to get up and try again even when we think we can’t.  The big picture always comes into focus even if it takes a bit longer than we anticipated.  On a personal note, I’m hoping addressing this last piece of the puzzle gives me the clarity that allows me to be the person I want to be.  Living with mental health issues is like living a half-life at times.  There are things we want to do and simply can’t bring ourselves to execute when we are fighting with our own brain.  Sometimes it just takes that last piece falling into place for it to make sense and then we see who we are and we have the capacity to fulfill it.  Do NOT give up. 

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