Shadows

I feel so hopeless.

I feel so…undone.

It’s worse when you look at my life from the outside and see how “successful” I am. How loved I am. How everything seems to finally fall into place.

I’ve finally reached my last semester of school and will soon graduate. I’ve even gotten a headstart on my assignments. I’ve been able to focus on my professional learning workshops and courses. I’ve been hired as a supply educator assistant. I’ve received an interview invitation to a volunteer opportunity with the Nanny Angel Network. … The list of good things could go on.

But you can’t understand what’s going on inside.

Heck, I don’t even understand it.

One minute I’m excited for getting closer and closer to my dream. Next minute I fear if I can even make it to the next step.

Will I be able to pass my final classes? Will I succeed in field placement? Will I be able to go to work and be there for the kids consistently? What happens when I relapse? What happens when I can’t handle the depression?

But that’s just one part of it.

What’s really eating me away is this feeling of loneliness.

I lost my best friend and I don’t know if it will ever be fixed. Please don’t tell me that he’s just a man. That my life shouldn’t revolve around him. Because it doesn’t even if he’s more than just a man.

I thought he was the only one who understood me and accepted me for who I am. That’s why he’s so important to me. But that was a lie. Ultimately, he couldn’t accept me fully for one reason or another all those years. It wasn’t his fault. He had his own challenges in life. But until now, even with no hard feelings for him, I can’t put the pieces back together. I still blame myself for everything and still think that I’m so broken I simply can’t be with anyone. That includes friends.

My friends, as loving as they are, just aren’t there for me as much as I need them. And of course I can’t marry them and have a family with them. It just doesn’t work that way.

I look forward to only three things in my life: to be an educator and to be a wife and a mom.

And so, hopelessness sinks in during these dark times I feel alone and afraid that I can’t move forward in life.

If the present is so bleak, what else does the future hold?

I wish I don’t ever think of certain things like disappearing into thin air or losing my memory of everything or what-have-you. But I can’t just not think of it. I don’t like it but it’s there. The feeling of hopelessness gnaws at me and beckons me to cross to the darker side. I’m afraid of even stepping on its shadows.

Lost | End of Month Thoughts

I wish there was someone I can text/talk to anytime, especially when I feel lost.

Right now, I don’t feel like doing anything but I know I need lots of stuff to get done. It’s like feeling lazy, except I know it’s not laziness but depression gnawing at me.

I have a big weekend coming up but I’m feeling anxious and depressed. I can’t not go because I don’t want to disappoint anyone and be unreliable.

I want to be better. I want to do better. But it’s not just a battle of wills. I’m back in the dark.

Could it be my new medication not taking its full effect? Do I need a higher dosage or a different pill altogether? I hate relying on medicine but, unfortunately, I have to. At least for a long while.

I practice yoga once in a while. I know that I’ll have to do it regularly to feel the benefits. But it’s difficult when you’re swamped with dementors and your patronus isn’t strong enough.

I’m trying to be stronger and I’m challenging myself with my own version of #GrowYourYoga by Moksha Yoga studios next month.

I can’t afford the price of joining in the official challenge, so I’ve challenged myself to “grow” my yoga to three times a week. I’ve already populated my calendars (paper & digital) with the classes I want to attend in April. I’ve also lined up some books on Eastern philosophy and on yoga beyond the mat.

I’m scared I’ll just brush off the challenge like I usually do with changes I want to do in my life.

How do I take it one step at a time?

How do I not overwhelm myself with so many important things like school, work, and other career-related activities?

How do I take time for myself without leaving others behind?

How do I stick to my plans and reach my goals?

I feel so lost and overwhelmed all the time.

And I’m running out of time to figure things out because I’m getting old.

I can’t push school further back when I’ve always known what I want to pursue and I can only get there with a postsecondary education.

I can’t not try to get a job–any job–because I’m slowly sinking in money troubles.

But how do I balance both of that with taking care of myself and ensuring I’m okay?

How do I become okay with feeling alone?

How do I keep myself from drowning?

Equilibrium
Striving for balance is one of the most difficult tasks in life. More often than not, I feel lost. Lost on what to do, what to think, what to feel… How do I balance work, school, friends, family, and myself? How do I claim my days? | #zotd is #equilibrium (in picture) and #understanding (right hand) | https://www.instagram.com/p/BRs81JQjObt/

Depression and Healing: A New Journey Begins

Love Yourself Again is over a year old, but I haven’t done with it what I really wanted. Or, perhaps, I took on too much with too little dedication and discipline.

I wanted this website to be a place where anyone can learn about depression: how it affects the afflicted and the loved ones, how one heals and overcomes the darkness, and how one lives through all the pain.

I wanted this website to be a place where others with mental illness can find solace, understanding, and different ways of dealing with the monsters in our heads.

I still want the same.

But, this time, I’ll drop the pretenses and just write from the heart, without being formal and cold and distant. At least as much as I can… I tend to write formally, even in casual online chats with friends.

And so, a new journey begins.

What is Depression?

A major depressive disorder — usually just called “depression” — is different than the “blues”. Someone experiencing depression is grappling with feelings of severe despair over an extended period of time. Almost every aspect of their life can be affected, including their emotions, physical health, relationships and work. For people with depression, it does not feel like there is a “light at the end of the tunnel” — there is just a long, dark tunnel.

Canadian Mental Health Association

Doctors diagnosed me with a major depressive disorder 5 years ago. Before then, I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I constantly asked why I felt so miserable and unloved in spite of the bountiful blessings I have been receiving. I couldn’t figure out why every little incident upset me. I wanted to physically wring my brain and get rid of the unpleasant feelings in my head.

After the diagnosis, I felt relieved to have an explanation of what I was going through. But of course, it wasn’t enough just to know. Because of depression, I did poorly in school. My relationships with my family and friends suffered. I lost interest in activities that I used to love. I felt misunderstood and taken for granted. I felt alone and isolated.

Depression is a real illness. It is as much a physical ailment as it is a mental condition. J.K. Rowling personified depression in her Harry Potter series as such:

“Dementors are among the foulest creatures that walk this earth. dementors-over-Harry-PotterThey infest the darkest, filthiest places, they glory in decay and despair, they drain peace, hope, and happiness out of the air around them. Even Muggles feel their presence, though they can’t see them. Get too near a dementor and every good feeling, every happy memory will be sucked out of you. If it can, the dementor will feed on you long enough to reduce you to something like itself…soulless and evil. You’ll be left with nothing but the worst experiences of your life.”Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

The Journey to Healing

Yes, depression sucks the life out of you, but there are always moments, no matter how ephemeral, when you get that sliver of hope or drop of strength that you can muster to cast a patronus charm and get yourself out of the grips of the dementors.

There is no one solution to healing. It may take a lot of trial-and-error before you find the treatment plan that works best for you. In my case, I went through three different antidepressant medications before settling into one that works best in balancing the chemicals in my brain. I did therapy with several different counsellors before deciding to leave the comfy couch for an undetermined period. I tried various exercises and meal plans that would help me take care of my body. I’m still in the process of finding what works for me.

It can be very daunting and overwhelming to find ways of overcoming depression, but you are not alone. We’re in this together.

No matter what you’re going through, love yourself again.

C.