“I am my own worst enemy.” There is so much power and truth in this statement.
For as long as I can remember I’ve suffered from depression, not one that is easily fought or controlled. For most depression is simply changing the way you think, cognitive, or an imbalance in brain chemicals, medicated, but for people with PKU it’s not that easily overcome; not that it’s easy for anyone. I have tried all these. Years of Cognitive Therapy to help me reshape the way I see the world and myself, medications that never worked for very long. The demons never leave my head.
I try so much not to be that person, sad. Somewhere along the way while I pretended I lost me. My voice got smaller and smaller then it faded into the darkness. I found my happiness in helping others find theirs, I suppose at the loss of my own. Not that you shouldn’t help others find their happiness, but at some point, you have to find your own to help others. I wish I had some great words of wisdom for depression fighting, but I don’t. Everyone is different, their demons are different.
There are days I feel like I’m where I should be and there are days I want to scream I feel trapped, there are rarely days in between anymore. I love my family and friends, I love my job, so why then, am I not happy? Because there is a voice that says I am a disappointment. I’m not the person I should be, the child my parents deserve, the sister my brother deserves, the wife my husband needs. I spend the evenings reminding myself not to compare myself to others. Everyone’s normal is different, everyone’s happy is different, but still I feel like I’m lost somewhere not being the best I can be for everyone. The truth is you can’t be everything for everyone without first being there for yourself. Oh, I know, that’s selfish, right? Wrong. Self-care is so very important whether that be physical health or mental health.
Somewhere along the way I lost my joy. I had it. I remember having it, like a dream. I keep searching for it and only grasp it briefly for a time. More and more I want that time to be longer and longer. This last summer was the closest I’ve come to achieving it again.
So, what happened?
I started doing things for myself again. I took a leap of faith I was supposed to do something; something that was not “me”. I participated in a pageant; I met women from all over the country that have overcome so much, and wanted to lift others up and help them. I felt more at home and encouraged then I have in a long time. Was it the pageant itself? No, I am not a sparkly diva type person, but it was the women; the sisterhood; the complete acceptance. The encouragement was overwhelming. Now, I know this is not a solution for everyone. My point is you have to find something that is just for you. You have to find your happy place, if that means doing something just for yourself and being “selfish” then maybe that is just what you need.
You can’t get water from a dry well and if you keep giving and giving and not replenishing your waters then you will dry up and the others will move on to the next full well. Oh, yes, the argument that if you are faithful and trust God will restore you (rain water into the well). That restoration can come in many forms depending on the person. Again, no two people are the same. God answers our prayers in the way that is right for the individual, not the masses. God can’t restore something that isn’t fully built yet and if you are so concerned with building up others that you have lost sight of completing yourself, then what is there to restore, but a partially built structure?
Restoration is the action of returning something to a former owner, place, or condition. But, what is the former condition wasn’t fully built, yet, or flawed? For the most part we are always a work in progress this is very true. The goal is to build up further once a firm foundation is established. People with Depression have a crack in their foundation. Something that shakes their whole structure to the very core so we must seek to repair that fault line before it causes an earthquake that rocks every part of our lives. Is it possible to fix that crack? Honestly, I’m not sure, I don’t have all the answers, I know for a week this year I was as close to being whole again as I have been for a long while. I had hope for the future. I knew my path and it was clear. Ever since I came home from my week long exploration within myself I found myself searching to find that wholeness again and not finding it. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m afraid to share my story with those that think they know me, sometimes it’s easier to open up to strangers, but my Sister Queens are no longer strangers, yet I still share with them and pray next to them, stand with them. I suppose it’s because I didn’t let them develop an idea of who I am before they saw the “flaws” or maybe it’s because there I was Angie, not Dean’s wife or Sam’s stepmom, Eunie’s daughter or Kenny’s sister, I was Angie. I owned who I was and shared it and they didn’t run away, they embraced me.
I have so much to say. I have a story to tell, but I’m afraid to tell it. I know there are people out there that either don’t care or won’t believe I have valid things to say. But again, that is the voice in my head creeping in…..