Let me be honest. The awkward, uncomfortable, Not-Appropriate-for-a-First-Date kind of honest. Things are not fun for me right now internally. I have had emotional challenges for years: chemical imbalances resulting in anxiety, fatigue, depression, you name it. I have been in an out of counseling and on and off of medication many times. Though I am recently back “in” and back “on” respectively, it takes a while to readjust to things like taking medicine to fix your brain; or like talking to a third party about your battery of issues.
In case you were curious about this, there is a statistical relationship between having a physical disability and having emotional challenges like depression. While researching for a paper I wrote on that topic back in undergrad, I discovered the relationship was the strongest among females in my age group. Not surprising given the amount of stress on people in their 20s. I know some of you may scoff. But there is a lot of pressure. Mainly because there are a variety of expectations: getting a [better] job, continuing your education, moving out, finding a good relationship, paying bills and taking charge of your finances. And any one of us may be feeling the weight of any or all of those.
And recently, I have had to face the music that I have fallen short in all of those areas over the last year or so.
What is the point of me telling the whole Internet this? Good question. It certainly isn’t because this is going to become a blog about “dealing with depression”; just like it isn’t a blog about “dealing with having a disability” or “dealing with being single”. There just comes a point when candor is appropriate. Because you have to be honest with yourself about where you are. And in order to bring that through to completion, you have to be honest with others about where you are.
Of course, you should also know that, just like a physical challenge or illness, there are steps one can take to deal with emotional issues like these. And I want you all to rest assured that I am taking those. Yes, the obvious ones related to getting Professionals and Pharmaceuticals involved. But beyond that, I have been taking every available opportunity to process things with people I trust. I have been trying to refocus my spiritual disciplines. And I have been trying to rest up, eat regularly, and do plenty of things that I enjoy- all in an effort to try to counter the intense feelings of negativity.
Earlier this week, I had a chat with a friend where I was practicing my honesty. I told him about a lot of this. Namely my frustration over not feeling “successful” in reaching any of my personal or professional since moving back home. He gave me two important reminders. The first was not to get caught in the trap of comparing myself to others. The second was this observation: “Well, remember that you do have some limitations”. Rather than discouraging, I found the latter advice extremely helpful. Being mindful of our limitations and freely expressing them to others removes some of the burden we feel to be perfect or to live up to all of the strenuous guidelines society places on us.
Knowing our limits also helps us to address them with humility, and to set more attainable goals for ourselves.
So, even though I’m not sure when I’ll be “better”, I am sure that I’m working on it. And if you’re feeling anxious, overwhelmed, or frustrated, you can be sure you’re not the only one. Hang in there.