I’ve had something on my mind for the past couple of days. Ever since I heard about the English cricketer who has gone home from the Ashes with stress-related illness. It can happen to anyone. And it does. This is my post in response to that (which is actually pretty unrelated)…..
I think I need to make an apology. What for? You might ask… You see, at the beginning of this year I was traveling a very dark path. There were no streetlights, and there was no end. There was a street sign with the name of the street, but you would have to look really hard to read it because it was so dark. When I looked forward, there was no hope; There was no future. I was at a crossroads and they were marked Depression Rd and Anxiety Way. The thing is…there were so many things happening in my life, in my head, and I had no way of filtering them, of sorting them out, and getting through them. From the outside looking in, it probably seemed as if I had it all. I had a husband, a home, 3 beautiful children, a stable income and a car. I was studying at uni and there was sunshine in the sky. That’s where my apology comes in. The sun wasn’t shining for me. I locked myself away, and didn’t come out at all. I would drop the kids off to school without getting out of the car, so that I didn’t have to talk to anyone, or didn’t have to get out of my pajamas. I declined every invitation to get together and socialize because I didn’t know what to talk about, and I didn’t want to leak my sour mood onto anyone else. I didn’t want to get out of bed, and would quite often go straight back to bed as soon as I returned from school drop off. Only now, now that I am finally at the end of those streets and finally walking along It Gets Better Street do I realize, by doing this, I had the potential to jeopardize friendships I’d had for months/years. To the outsider who doesn’t know, my behavior could be perceived as uppity, and snobbish. As if I was acting like I was too good to talk to anyone. Or to good to go out and share a meal and have a drink. The problem is. That’s not the truth. The truth is that when you are in the deepest parts of depression, nothing seems appealing. Hiding in my house all day. Looking things up on the internet. Getting lost in books. Watching tv without even seeing it. Those were all the things I was stuck in. It was like a loop and I couldn’t stop it from happening. Just the thought of having to talk to people would cause a physical reaction and I’d cry. I couldn’t breathe at the thought someone would talk to me. I know that a lot of people suffer in silence. They don’t want to burden anyone with how they are feeling, and what they are going through. That’s exactly where I was.
If not for a couple of friends who gently persisted on being a friend and never giving up, I would still be in that pit of despair. They listened without judgement, they asked questions, and they were there, often just through a small phone screen. So……to all the people in my life, both on screen and off who felt the brunt of my struggles. I am sorry. I’m sorry if I bought you down. I’m sorry if I ignored you. I’m sorry if you thought I didn’t value our friendship, because I do. I do so very much. There may be nothing that can turn things around, but just know… everyone has their journey they’re traveling. Sometimes it just takes one friend to ask the question and make sure everything is okay. Just be there. Be present. Know it’s not personal, it’s the person.
I also want those people who may be reading this and are still walking along those Roads and Paths marked with lights that have blown out… I am here for you, and you will get to the end of it. It might not happen tomorrow, it might. Either way, you are not alone. Never, ever, ever…. And remember YOU ARE IMPORTANT.. even if you don’t believe it.
IF you’d like to know more about how I was able to turn myself onto a better path please feel free to ask. I’m more than happy to share my story. It might just be similar to yours! You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I don’t think my journey is over yet, in fact I know it’s not, but I am glad to see a lot more streetlights burning bright. Let’s turn some on for you, too!