Life is weird.
I was sitting on my couch with my head back on the cushions and hands over my eyes trying to block out the chitter-chatter happening around me and mulling over some writing topics that I wanted to share this week. I set up my Mental Health Mondays, Tuesday Re-Runs and Thursday Thoughts as a way to guide what I write about. Essentially to make my life easier and narrow the billions of ideas in my head down to thousands of ideas.
Thinking of mental health related topics is difficult because I’m never quite sure how real to be. I feel like if I shared the actual nitty-gritty of living with depression and anxiety that it would be too much and potentially triggering to others. Balancing authenticity with mindfulness is a tricky son-of-a-bitch.
I was thinking to talk about one of the healing practices I have found and that healing practice is the art of ink. Now it’s quite the committed healing practice so don’t just go having shit permanently tattooed on your body without a loooooooong consideration and research process.
I wrote a couple sentences and then thought I don’t feel like talking about tattoos. And really I think the underlying theme is I didn’t want to talk about healing. It’s not authentic to where I am now. So, I promptly hit delete and closed my laptop and resumed my head against the back of the couch, eyes closes position wishing I had my phone and headphones so I could turn on my Spotify writing playlist but my #5 has hijacked said phone and I either get quiet time to write while she plays games or not. There is no simultaneous quiet time for her and Spotify for me.
In some ways I am fearless in sharing my story but really, when I think about it, I’m fearless in sharing what I’ve overcome. I’m not fearless in sharing what I’m currently going through. Usually because I don’t have any answers. I don’t know how it’s going to end and I don’t know what I’m going to do. I know that it will end and I will get better but the details are fuzzy until I’ve been able to process it all.
As I was sitting with my head back, my #3 asked, “what are you doing?”
To be honest, I was annoyed with his question and I replied with an aggravated and slightly whiny “I’m thinking about what to write.” He followed up my response and said “can I help you think of something?”
I reluctantly (and probably) unkindly said “sure” when what I really wanted to say was go away. And he said “You could write about tattoos.” and that made me pause, pop my head up and look him in his big blue eyes with his impossibly long blonde lashes and notice him.
And his precious heart.
I responded to his perfect timing with, “I was actually thinking about writing about that.”
And if this were a scripted moment on a television show like This is Us he would have said something like “well you should then” and he would have sweetly galloped away and I would have the most prophetic words pouring out of me.
But this isn’t television.
So, instead I’m telling you this story. The one about how you can be seen by your people even when you feel invisible if you’ll just take the time to notice.
What am I going through?
Nothing major. I want to reiterate that. I’m not going through anything. I am experiencing living with depression and anxiety. I think my depression is overall well controlled but I do find myself of late feeling hopeless and numb. I haven’t been taking the time to really sit down and process what that means for me.
Why? No reason. I just haven’t.
The kicker of the whole healing thing is that I have to make the time to sit down and process. Even when my mood doesn’t allow me to. I have to force myself to do the things it takes to stay well because real talk: it is so much easier to slip into darkness. I mean it’s a fucking awful place to be in and it doesn’t feel good but damn, it is easy.
Wellness is hard. It takes effort. And usually it takes the most effort when you don’t have any to give. Even though wellness feels harder, it also feels better.
Wellness feels better.
When I’m in the middle of feeling my feelings or lack there of, I usually feel alone and like no one gets me or my depression with insurmountable anxiety and I get tired of talking about it. I think to myself that they’ve heard it all before and they don’t want to keep hearing it. It’s gotta be disheartening to always hear how your person is on some mental health tightrope and you’re never quite sure how well they can balance the act.
Instead I say nothing and (kind of) suffer in silence but really misery loves company.
I think that when we are silent, we open the door to let our minds ravage our thoughts and tell us lies. And I think we are angry at those around us for not seeing that we’re struggling. But on the flip side, when they ask how we’re doing we say “fine” and really we don’t want to talk about it. We want to be left alone.
But sometimes. Just sometimes, someone will intercept our thoughts and ask if they can join us where we are. And sometimes we’ll let them. We won’t shout go away but instead, we’ll reluctantly say sure and then they’ll say something in such way that we know we are seen. And we are loved and cared for. And while they may not know the depth of our struggle, they know what helps us regain our footing and they offer it as a gentle reminder. And in those moments we can decide if we will take that offering and tuck it away in the backs of our minds and continue to ravaged by our illness or recognize it as a powerful invitation to let the walls down, share that which haunts us and continue on our path of healing.
In the words of Glennon Doyle: we can do hard things.
And to add my own little flair to G’s words: but we can’t do them alone. So let your people in. Even when you don’t want to. Let their offerings be the light at the end of the long, dark, seemingly endless tunnel because if there’s one thing I’ve learned in this journey with depression it’s this: the tunnel will end and that there is always, always, always a light at the end of it.