“The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax–
Of cabbages–and kings–
And why the sea is boiling hot–
And whether pigs have wings.”
The Walrus and the Carpenter by Lewis Carrol
(Taken from Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, 1872)
The only constant in this world is change. Sometimes the need to implement change comes slowly to us, after many trials, after too much pain.
The past four years have been decidedly troublesome. I lost the first home I ever bought due to getting laid off from my job, and from there it became somewhat of a chaotic, downward spiral. I began to doubt my worth in the world, despite such an amazing life up to that point. I judged myself and found me lacking. The subsequent mental and emotional maelstrom has been like being trapped in an F-5 tornado that is never ending. A cyclone that tears through a life and uproots everything, destroying all in its path.
Due to this — or perhaps in spite of it — I struggle. Every day.
This isn’t a pity party. This is a statement of reality as I see it. Pity helps no one but the person feeling it.
I was diagnosed with severe depression stemming from PTSD, and Sensory Processing Sensitivity (SPS). I tried to fix it on my own, but when it has its talons so deeply into you, it’s difficult to find a way to let it go. Because sometimes, killing the parasite (which is really what depression is) often kills the host.
There are those I’ve encountered who somehow believe that depression is a made up thing. Like those who experience it are crying out for attention. I’ve had people tell me that I “should” stop taking the meds I’ve been on for years, and try something more holistic. I’ve even had some tell me that the reason that there’s so much depression in the world is because people stopped going to church. Needless to say, perhaps, I was flabbergasted by these dangerously and woefully naive suggestions. My arguments that the medications are saving my life every day by allowing me to get to a place in my mind where I can actually see beyond the depression always fall on deaf ears.
If only it was so easy to simply decide that I didn’t want to feel a certain way anymore. I can hear depression laughing its fool head off in the back of my mind at the very thought. Depression wears a cloak of invisibility. Only those experiencing it can see it. Feel it. Live it. That is until the depressed person decides they don’t want to live any more and chooses to stop living. It happens. A lot.
I’ve been there.
Sometimes the thought still sabotages me in moments of mental or emotional exhaustion. I keep constantly vigilant against acting on it. And I rely on medications to help me see through that false cry for help.
So the time has come. I feel that I am finally coming out of this lifelong darkness, able to see the promise of warm and nurturing sunlight. And I recognize that many of the decisions I have made over the past ten or twenty or thirty years have been heavily influenced by mental disease. Upon recognition of these things, I find now the powerful urge to make positive changes for myself. No matter the cost.
In this spirit, I have begun laying the groundwork for change. The first order of business is to remove myself from places, things, and people that work to keep me believing that the illness is winning. For the first time in my life, I feel hope. True hope. And once I was able to detect that beautifully liberating emotion, I saw where I had been sabotaging myself all along.
And so….it’s time for change. It’s time to make different, better decisions. Choices that positively impact my present and my future. I used to believe that when we made a commitment, the universe conspired to help us. That optimism had become buried under decades of darkness. For the first time in too long, I feel it again. That there is worth in doing things for ourselves, to help ourselves survive. That I am worth doing good things for. It’s a first for me. I have always fancied myself a nurturer, but only when it came to others. Depression never allowed me to believe that I was worth nurturing, too. So if I could justify my actions through the success of others, I did so.
In helping others, I disregarded my self. I ignored me.
This is not selfishness talking. This is self-preservation.
Now the groundwork is laid to remove myself from the toxic environment I put myself in. To make plans in my own future…because now I can actually envision myself in my future. Another first.
Stay on the Path. Honor the Journey. These are my sign posts. This is my road map.