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"An old friend...."

 Monday, December 26, 2016

Hello little blog. It's been a while. 
What I'm about to write isn't easy. I've gone back and forth and started and erased a thousand times.  I've shut my computer off and cut it back on and back off again. Ashamed. So very ashamed. Although I don't know why. I can't answer that. 
2016 hasn't been easy. There's been a lot of changes for me personally and those changes left me questioning myself on a deep level. And  it really liking the answers my mind answered with. Soon it wasn't my mind answering those was a deep dark old friend. A friend I fought for years to break ties with. And I did. For a while. But given the opportunity.....he weasels his way back in.....taking up space in your head and heart....leaving no room for oxygen....he starts to suffocate you and makes it near impossible to breathe. 
That's his name. 
Before I started suffering from depression whenever I thought about mental illness, a certain image would always come to mind.
I pictured the Depressed person  to look drained in every sense of the word. I imagined someone thin to the point you can see their collarbone showing beneath the collar of their too-big t-shirt; I imagined messy hair and cold hands; I imagined no make-up and worn-out (grey, for some reason) clothes.
So when the symptoms started showing, I was confused. How could I- someone who spends at least an hour in the bathroom every day to do her hair, who doesn’t go anywhere without her favorite lipstick, who always wears heels, even to go to school – be depressed? That didn’t make any sense. Pretty, well put together girls can’t have that kind of problem. My life isn't that bad. Honestly, what do I have to be depressed about?
Well, it turns out they can. Also, it turns out  depression  has many different faces, not just the stereotypical one that society has instilled in our minds since the beginning of time. 
And while it can look like that sometimes, it can also take a lot of other shapes.
Depression  can look like the woman you see every morning on your way to work, taking her little kids to school and carrying their colorful backpacks; it can look like the elegant businessman who always wears expensive suits and ties and drives a Mercedes around town.
Depression  can look like the funny teenage boy who makes everyone laugh during class with his jokes, the one that teachers love just as much as anyone else; it can look like the fit girl you see at the gym, with the ponytail and abs of steel.
Depression  can be a family father, a rockstar, a nun; it can be black, asian; straight, gay, bisexual; it can be religious or atheist.
Depression  can take any shape and form it wants and that’s maybe what makes it so scary. 
As sad and negative as that may sound, though, it also means that you are not actually as alone as you think you are. Just because you don’t see anyone looking like what you imagine a depressed person should, it doesn’t mean that the people surrounding you are not struggling with their own demons. They might be fighting a battle just like yours.
And most importantly, if you don’t look like what you think a depressed person should, it doesn’t make what you’re feeling any less valid or real.
Some days are good. Some days are  bad. Some days or weeks.... I'm quiet. And some days it's easy to smile while others....the smile has to be forced. Some days I'm withdrawn and some days I'm a social butterfly. It a process. And it took me a while to understand this process.  And I can honestly say, I have more good days than bad here lately. 
In the end, I like to think the ultimate solution to this problem is kindness.
Be kind to yourself, first and foremost: respect your sadness, your bad thoughts, your dark days and don’t be ashamed or scared of the idea of asking for the help you need and deserve. And be kind to others as well, because they might be going through something equally as hard as you are.
Kindness is certainly not a cure, but it is the first step to a more empathetic and understanding attitude towards depression  and those who suffer from it.
But always be kind to yourself. 


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