An Inner Revolution.

Have you ever heard of the January Blues? At some point in the early part of the year it feels as if there’s an all-consuming lull in positivity. The joyous and exuberant feelings that were celebrated with ardor throughout the holiday season – they become wisps of reality that we’re barely able to hold on to.

This year I honestly thought that I had successfully bypassed the dreaded January Blues. January wasn’t the smoothest sea I’ve sailed, but it was much more serene in comparison to any other start to the year that I could recall.

Silly me, my January Blues were just making a late arrival.

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To start, let’s talk about what went right in January:

  • I started up my blog again.
  • I bought a new car.
  • I reached a momentous level of confidence with how my mental health was developing.

It may be a small list, but with how stubborn I can be about making cosmic decisions in regards to my life and how long it took for me to feel comfortable with managing my mental health, it’s all monumental strides for me.

I was doing okay. I was able to express myself and diligently work towards my desired successes and be happy. From how my January was going, I really thought that for the first time in a while, I had successfully managed to step into a year without tripping over my feet. Things were going right.

Let’s not forget, I did say that my January Blues came late to the party.

Just when I thought that this utopian ride through 2018 would continue, I drifted into the doldrums as February came around. Out of nowhere, I lost sight of what I regarded as important and settled comfortably into stagnation.

Getting up everyday had a different meaning. Where I used to be estatic to start the day and get work done or learn something new, I just wanted to hide away from all responsibilities and activities that required me to move, and just take a nap.

Even being around some of my dearest friends and family members in places that bring my spirits to the highest level of ascension possible, I felt like I was experiencing something outside of myself. My bank of emotions had been significantly overdrawn.

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I genuinely felt that every word or action that I enacted needed a subsequent apology because I felt so distant from who I was being at the time. To put it simply – I felt awful.

What made me even more upset is that nothing prompted my behavior. There was no significant stressor that triggered my actions (or rather, cyclical inaction). It just happened.

I can call it a late arrival of the January Blues, but let’s be real. We can dress it up and give it all the nicknames we’d like, but the bare bones of it all is that this hollow feeling, It’s depression.

It’s not the first time I’ve experienced an emotional downswing like this, and I’ve managed it before. Once realized, I’m able to arrange my behaviors to do better, and best my depression as much as I can. It’s not something I’ve learned overnight how to overcome, and neither is realizing what it is that I need to overcome.

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Sometimes, you need to realize how low you feel to learn what you need to do ascend to the great heights you set for yourself. The lovely Kristin Ondocsin of the Skinny Intern   painted my feelings into life perfectly with this statement:

It’s okay to fall down and lose your spark. Just make sure that when you get back up, you rise as the whole damn flame.

As much as it frustrates me when these episodes come about, I’ve realized that despite the measures I take to manage them, at times they’re just unavoidable. It’s my due diligence to ensure myself that these depressive episodes don’t stay around forever.

As peculiar as it sounds, when my depression comes about, I learn quite a bit about how I feel, and what I need to do to spark my own inner revolution towards happiness.

The hapless truth about depression is that it’s unavoidable. Despite this, just because we get stuck in a low place doesn’t mean we have to stay there.

I’ve worked so hard to make sure that the mental space that I’m at is a good one. Just because my emotions take a downturn for a little bit, doesn’t mean that I’m going to allow them to stay low when I’ve experienced the best of being emotionally high.

I like being there. So it’s time to get up, and get back to the healthy space where I want to be.

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If I Leave All My Sorrow, I Don’t Know Who To Be.

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Earlier this week I was having a conversation with one of my best friends Helene about mental health and how far I’ve come with mine.

At sixteen years old I began to feel a subconscious awareness that the excessive uneasiness I felt about a considerable amount of things was abnormal. When you feel these things at such a young age, it’s definitely nerve-wracking to sort out how to address it. It didn’t make it any easier that there was a mountain of stigmas blocking the way to me figuring out how to feel better.

There is a mass of stigmas that exist about mental health and disorders that hold up people from focusing on their better purpose in life. It’s a sad truth that most individuals at some point in their lives have been blamed for their conditions. They’re made to believe that their symptoms are “just a phase” and a product of their own choices.

This is the unyielding power of stigmas. For so many who already are carrying the heavy burdens of their emotions, it’s a damaging addition to the pain they’re already going through.

Despite my background awareness of what my mind was going through, I couldn’t bring myself to go see anyone about it.

What would people think of me? If I go talk to someone, am I admitting to myself and everyone else that I’m crazy?

The only thing crazy about me was the fact that I took so long to finally do something.

I had let my anxiety seep into every aspect of my life and control what I did and how I reacted to it. I constantly was tense and felt an overwhelming disquiet within the realm of my emotions.

I cried too much, and then I couldn’t cry at all. Not until everything I had bottled up had burst open into my consciousness. So I would end up on my bedroom floor, screaming and crying with no way of sorting out how I could end the attack of emotional pain that seemed endless.

My anxiety ruled so many parts of me that it gave way to depression. I couldn’t feel anything anymore. Things that would easily excite me didn’t do much for me, and in front of family and friends, I had a very hard time playing as if everything was okay.

I got to a point that I had enough. I couldn’t allow myself to be this way anymore. At what now feels like the absolute right time, I was told the life changing words that began my journey into properly managing my mental health:

“You go to the doctor when you get sick. If there are imbalances in your brain that make it not work as it should, how different is seeing a therapist than seeing a doctor for when you’re not feeling well?

From hearing those words, I felt courageous. After six years of trying to keep my anxiety and depression suppressed on my own, I finally decided to go see a therapist.

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After years of having slight notions of what my mind was going through, it came as a relief for my therapist and psychiatrist to confirm it for me. This wasn’t just something I was “going through” this was an imbalance in my brain.

I’ve come to accept how I’ve been scientifically designed – I’ll never be perfect. I can’t say that I’m always going to have good days, but the good days I have I try to make the best out of. Every experience of my life has contributed to where I’m at with my mental health. Through my journey I’ve learned that rejecting the cards that life has dealt for me does nothing to better my head space.

It’s been two years since I’ve started going to therapy, and I can say that I am in a much healthier head space than I was before I started. In the moment, taking that step to take care of myself was so incredibly terrifying. But I don’t want to just exist in life as someone who is tense and unfeeling, I want to live and feel every experience as deeply as I can.

Everything I experience is a part of me. The good, and the bad. Through my journey I’ve learned that without either, I wouldn’t know how to be me.

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