Friday, June 24, 2011

I've been there

Everyone's life has its ups and downs. Periods of joy, eventually knocked aside by times of distress.

If you are in a time of joy, embrace it. Let your entire being melt into it. Don't take it for granted. Don't let the distractions of the modern world take away your best moments.  

If you have been sideswiped (or hit head-on) by trauma, sadness, or strife, breathe. Take time for yourself. Allow your own needs to be in the forefront, even for just a moment each day. How you handle a difficult time now can determine what sort of time you may face down the road. Even when an immediate stress is gone, the effects can remain.

The past year challenged me. It challenged my family - both immediate and extended. We faced a traumatic situation unlike anything we had ever known. We trudged through long, dark days with blinders on. No time to look around, only time for perfect, narrow focus. We did what we were "supposed" to do. At the same time, I was in the midst of a personal fight. A battle against inner voices of doubt. My 2 1/2-year-old child tested every ounce of strength and patience I had. I feared the worst; I feared that I somehow created a bad kid. To top it all off, a pressure-cooker job situation took away (or so it felt) my one constant cheerleader.

It is funny how one can feel utterly alone when, in fact, personal space has become extinct.

Several months ago, if you asked me to describe my life three words?


A small portion of my logical brain knew this was not right. I have an honest, hard-working husband. A smart, bubbly, beautiful little girl. Family who would appear on a moment's notice if I let out a plea for help. A nice home. A stable and flexible job. Friends.

But despite the reality of how well I had it, I could not climb out of that dark hole. All because I let situations eat at me. I allowed myself to get worn down, to get angry, to slip into depression.

Sure, I could act like everything was fine. But the truth? I battled bad feelings for most of the past year. And only now, do I feel like I am winning. 

I am winning because...
I unlocked the prison cell.

I am winning because...
I can give myself fully to the bright moments.

I am winning because...
I finally became honest with myself.

I am winning because...
My attitude adjustment is blatantly evident in the behavior of my child.

I am winning because...
I am happy again.

Depression is a very real and very common illness. It can cause physical pain, fatigue, sleeplessness, weight gain/loss, and even anger. If you feel like you are stuck and cannot see the light in your days, seek help. Talk to friends or family. Force solitude upon yourself. Reinforce the link between your heart and your mind. Write, sing, dance - whatever helps. If you still feel like you are drowning, professional help is always available.

It is not failure to ask for help, only if you refuse to make a change.

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