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Category Archives: Depression

Life is Hard – Change is Harder

The last month has been a rough battle of internal turmoil and decision making. I haven’t written here for fear of the wrong person seeing the stuff I wanted to spill out before I was ready to talk about it.

Last night I shared with my significant other my plans for the future and how they didn’t involve him. After nearly three years together, I told him I would be going my own way next year so that I can start out on my journey to see the world. It was a hard declaration to make.

The feeling of fear I woke up with this morning at the realization that I’ve begun ripping my tidy, safe world apart just so I can start moving towards my dreams is indescribable. I feel guilty for wanting to do this and for telling him it was time for us to start down this path of seperation. I feel guilty that our lease is up January 1st and he has to find a place to live in two months that he can afford, while I’m taking the easy route and moving back in with my parents. I feel scared that I’m making the wrong decision. I’m afraid that I’ll regret this.

Have I gone insane? What reasonable person would give up an agreeable living arrangement with one of the few decent human beings on the planet to wander off into the big unknown alone? What is wrong with me that I can’t just be happy with a nice guy, a good job, a lovely apartment, and two sweet cats?

Breathe.

I’m very sure I need to do this. Even if I fail in the end, I need to at least try. Even though I feel supremely selfish in my decision to chase after my own happiness over keeping him happy, I know that this is the right decision and that if I don’t do it now I will never do it and I will resent everyone involved. I need to learn to put myself first. To quit playing mom to everyone who is hurting at the expense of my own happiness and well being. I have to stop trying to squish myself into the mold society has selected for me when I, very obviously, don’t fit in it.

All this being said, the plan is to leave for New Zealand in July/August of 2013. I will be getting a working holiday visa and plan to travel and work there for 6-12 months. I then hope to hop over to Thailand for a bit, and then maybe visit some friends in Europe. This is all dependent upon cost, of course, and one of the reason’s I’m moving back in with my parents is so I can put the maximum amount of my money into savings over the next several months.

I know a lot of people will think I’m crazy for doing this. So far the people I have chosen to tell what’s going on have been very supportive and think it’s great that I’m going (except my parents who are terrified for me!) so that’s been helpful. Now it’s just a matter of getting through the next couple of months with my significant other and tying up all the loose ends. It’s going to be an emotional time, but I hope we’ll both come out the other end only lightly scathed.

Hopefully now that I’ve started this phase of personal change I will be able to post a little more regularly again. I hope everyone is well and that everyone is in a less stressful place then I am at the moment!

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Posted by on October 15, 2012 in Burn Out, Depression, Life, Stress, Travel

 

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Leaving the Past Behind

I had a breakthrough on Saturday afternoon. I was talking to a long time online friend and I got to talking about the past, and how I missed it. See, when I was 12 and first got on the internet I started collecting friends who were usually kids a couple of years younger than me. These friends usually had a lot of problems. Depression stemming for things like child abuse or neglect, suicidal thoughts, self harm, etc. My therapist and I had talked through all this and she had told me I basically became a mother to these friends, because I was the one there to listen, advise and comfort because they had no one else. As a child, I could never separate myself emotionally from their problems, so I would become depressed and terrified for their safety and it would add huge amounts of stress to my life. I still invest myself to emotionally in other people’s problems today, though I’m slowly getting better about it.

Well, this friend I was talking to is one of those friends I helped take care of then. I told her how hard it was lately, how I missed having her and the others to take care of. How I felt like I wasn’t a good friend anymore because everyone had grown up and didn’t need me like they used to. I felt guilty for feeling that way, because I am also so proud of all of them, because they went through so much and they are productive people today working on fixing their problems. I felt lost and broken without being able to be that person anymore. I, at some point, started to have a break down as I was telling her these things, which I really needed to do. I had been thinking about this stuff a lot over the last year, and every time I did I felt like crying but just couldn’t bring myself too. I didn’t really know why I wanted to cry until I started letting it out to her.

I sobbed, I hyperventalated, my head hurt by the time the tears stopped. But I feel better now. I feel like I can let it go and move on. It was something that weighed heavy on my heart and my self worth, and I don’t think I could have really gotten past it without being able to talk to one of the friends involved about it. I think I had to do that to really see that I was still seen as a good friend, even though I am no longer anyone’s emotional crutch.

Like the awesome friend she is, she talked me through stuff and comforted me. We talked about her struggles and how she is doing so much better now. She has worked through some of the same issues I’m currently working through and is healthier than I am today, which is quite the switch from 10+ years ago when we were kids.

Sometimes it’s very hard for me to separate my self-worth from what I do for other people. If I’m not helping or being useful to someone I don’t feel like I’m worth much. To be honest, it’s near impossible to feel like anything you are doing is worth much of anything when you have had periods in your life where you have actually kept people from killing themselves just because you are that person’s only friend.  An 8-5 job just seems like a waste of time when someone out there, in the same situation, doesn’t have a friend to talk to.

I am slowly realizing that I can’t save everyone. That I have to stop being so codependent. That I can’t be that person all the time because it makes me unhealthy and unhappy. I have to learn to not base my self worth on the happiness of other people, because I will always be unhappy if I do that. It’s a hard lesson for me to learn, but it’s starting to sink in. I deserve to be happy and to take care of myself before others. There is nothing selfish about that, there is nothing wrong with it.

This was kind of a rambling post, but I needed to get it out there. Thanks for sticking around through it if you did 🙂

 
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Posted by on September 3, 2012 in Depression, Mental Health

 

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Building a Support Network

A healthy support network is something that everyone needs in their lives.  This network should consist of people who love you, believe in you, and who are willing to let you lean on them occasionally.  It should consist mostly of positive people who are mentally healthy, and possibly people who realize they have issues and are actively seeking help and getting better. People who rely on you as their personal therapist, who are not actively trying to get better, and who are just all around negative people should be interacted with on a minimal basis.

Part of my problem up until this point in my life is that I clustered together with people with issues in my social network. My support came from people with severe depression, social anxiety, low self esteem, etc. This was not healthy, and over the last year or two I started realizing I couldn’t pull myself up when my support network kept pulling me back down into what I was trying to escape. Amy told me that this is very true and that it makes it much easier to help yourself get healthy if you surround yourself with healthy people. I still have a lot of my friends who have issues, but I am no longer their go-to person nor do I spend a lot of time with them on a regular basis.

Right now I am working on rebuilding my support system. This is hard, as I find it difficult to seek out mentally healthy people to be friends with. I feel like I am a person most healthy people would not want to deal with due to my own issues. However, the more I get to know healthy people the more I find that this is not the case. They seem to be very supportive, positive, and want to help encourage me to get better and it’s great! Naturally, you don’t want to overwhelm these people all the time with how you are feeling (that is what your therapist is for!) but talking with them occasionally about stuff is definitely helpful!

Currently, my Healthy Support Network includes:

My Therapist – Amy is wonderful! She has an amazing sense of humor and we click really well. The first therapist I had was very serious and I just don’t mesh well with serious people on an emotional level. I think this is proof that if you don’t connect with your therapist that it might be time to find a new one!

My Yoga Instructor – Though my Yoga instructor is very new to my life, so far she is awesome!  I had a private class with her Saturday so she could show me poses that would help lessen my anxiety and help with my breathing and she was so positive and supportive! She told me I was a very bright individual for going to seek help and for considering Yoga as a way to lessen anxiety and help with my mental health. Just like when Amy says I’m bright I felt a sharp pang of disbelief, but it’s definitely helping with my self esteem issues to hear multiple people who haven’t known me for years say it 🙂

My Work Friend – This person has been really eye opening, because she’s my first local mentally healthy friend. With the few times we have hung out outside of work and the card she sent me she has blown my mind on how caring someone can be without being emotionally connected from having similar mental health issues. The only people I’ve really connected with in my life have all suffered from depression and that’s what made me feel close to them. My work friend has had issues with depression, but only in stressful situations like the near death of her father, and is otherwise a mentally healthy person. Er… well.. she is a bit OCD, but that’s completely different then any of my problems, so I don’t count it 🙂

My Significant Other – Though my SO does deal with depression and low self esteem, he admits to this being an issue and is actively working to help himself get better. He does not rely on me to fix it, it is not the main topic of conversation every time we talk, and I think it helps us both stay encouraged seeing each other making progress and feeling better about ourselves.

My Sister – My sister has a few issues similar to mine. I know she has mild social anxiety and does suffer from occasional bouts with depression, just not on the same scale as I do. She is very independent and is doing what she wants to do with her life and right now is a very happy person. She is also great at listening and knows what to say to make me feel better or diffuse my social anxiety.

My Parents – Though originally my parents were suprised that I was seeking help for my mental health, they have been very supportive of it. As time has gone by and I’ve let them in to see how truely unhappy I am, they have grown more and more supportive of me switching jobs and doing what I need to to be happy. This has taken a lot of stress off of me, as I am very much someone who has a strong desire to make my parents proud.

My Online Friends – Though I don’t talk to them as much as I used to, the online friends I have had for a decade have all been very supportive. Not all of these friends are mentally healthy, but they are all very supportive. One of them in particular has found this blog via Twitter, and has sent me very positive texts when he notices a negative post.  Another has told me he refuses to talk about his problems anymore with me while I seek help, because he knows I get very emotionally invested in other people’s problems. They are all great in their own right, but I try not to over utilize them as I need to work on building a better real life support network.

As you can see, I need to make more local friends to add to my support network. I have several friends around it’s just the ones I currently have are the ones that still hold on to depression and other issues and are not actively seeking help so I can not count them as part of a healthy support network. I am working on making more friends, and have a couple of specific people I think it would be easy to become friends with. It’s just difficult for me to find a healthy route to become friends with someone. Friendships usually spring from someone having a really bad day and me listening, and then we are friends!  So this is a new experience o.o

I am very happy that my healthy support network is growing, and I can honestly say I can see the difference having healthy people in my life has had on me. It’s harder to find negatives in life when you are surrounded by people who are positive. It’s harder to not believe in yourself when the people around you keep reminding you that they believe in you. It’s hard to fear the world when you have people willing to help you meet it head on.

I think my life is definitely heading in the right direction, now it’s just up to me to get enough courage to steer it where  I want it to go 🙂

 

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