These words have been stirring in my mind for a long time now.. and I haven't written them down until now, because I have such an easy life. I am so blessed. I am so loved. I have an incredible life that I am so grateful for. Due to unknown causes, sometimes in our heads.. that suddenly isn't enough. Without our consent we are overcome with sadness, anxiety, and ultimately, depression. As I see my friends, their siblings, families, everyone that surrounds me, I see how common it is to see others that are overcome with sadness, as well. It is heartbreaking how many people surround us that are carrying depression or similar feelings.
This past summer I lived in Moab. I have shared things on here before about my incredible summer working there.. but there has been a lot left out. I think I've brushed these feelings aside, because honestly.. who wants to be like "hey everyone, my life sucks... I'm living in the most beautiful place.. but like.. yeah everything sucks." Don't get me wrong, I made incredible friendships and memories there, but there was a lot more that was going on. Before moving down there, I lost someone that I loved very much, I had to say goodbye to the people, specifically one, that taught me what love is.. knowing that I would never see them again. I was on very bad terms with my parents, had a lot of family issues weighing one me, lost a lot of friends.. and just wasn't happy. I had experienced similar feelings before and was so angry that they were coming back. No one likes being sad. I lived with a million people that were constantly doing fun things, I mean it's Moab.. We didn't really ever stop going. I was so overcome with sadness and had such low self worth and motivation that I didn't want to go out. I didn't want to socialize with people that didn't understand me. I didn't want to put on a happy face because I was hurting so deeply. I just wanted to feel better. There came a point where a lot of my peers gave up on inviting me because I kept turning down every offer.. and I don't blame them. I was scared they were going to judge me based on my incapability to be happy and outgoing all day, every day. If I wanted to go do something, I would go by myself, or with people that knew what was going on. I had a roommate that would constantly say to me "you sleep a lot" or "I've never seen someone sleep as much as you." There were so many days that I wanted to scream back.. "I KNOW. If I could be happy.. I WOULD." I was so offended that she thought I was choosing to feel this way. It wasn't a choice. When you deal with this brutal heartache and sadness, you don't just get to choose when you want it to go away. Sure you can put on your brave face, but it fades as quickly as you put it there. I was so angry with myself and everyone that surrounded me. I wished everyday that I could just tell them what I was feeling, but I couldn't even come to terms with it myself. I wanted so bad for them to give me a chance to explain where I was coming from. It quickly turned into anger. I was mad at myself for being so unhappy because good hell.. really Annie? YOUR LIFE IS A PIECE OF CAKE. I had just returned from living in a third world country. You want to see real life heartache, and problems.. that's where it is, not my life. Now with all this being said, I want to share what I've learned from it all.. I'm sharing this because if there is anyone that can learn from my mistakes, it will be worth it.
Use your words:
There were so many times that I wanted to scream to the world, "YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND." When these feelings take over, you convince yourself that you are the only one in the world that has ever been sad. I am an introvert and already have a tough time opening up and talking to people. The best thing I ever did was open up to a girl I met this summer. I have already mentioned McKenna on here, but let me just remind you.. She is the best person I've ever met. One day I decided to get over it and finally talk to someone and tell them what was going on in my mind. Shockingly enough I learned that I wasn't the only person in the entire world that was going through something. It felt so good to release these words and hurt, I had kept inside me. I was able to talk through a lot of my emotions and not let them stir inside and overcome me. She reminded me that every single person is going through something, but it's okay! It's okay to keep moving on with your life, even when you are sad. Moving on or being happy doesn't mean that you are forgetting the one you lost, the pain you are experiencing, or the heartache you have, it's joining hands with your higher self and realizing that the pain and sadness you are allowing to continue, is destroying your spirit. You have to force yourself to put one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward.
There were so many days that I thought, "Really Annie? You were just living with orphans.. taking care of these children that have nothing. You do not have problems. Cut it out." And yes, while it is true that my problems are so so small, that doesn't mean that they don't exist. I just have a lower tolerance to sadness than others. It is so important to remind yourself that though your problems, or other peoples problems may seem like the littlest, stupidest, most meaningless problem.. it still can wreck their world. It isn't your place to determine if they should really be as sad as they are about it.
Even when you feel like you can't get out of bed, or you can't put your brave face on.. Go. Do it. No matter how much every second of it sucks.. when you surround yourself with people that love you, you start remembering that YOU ARE LOVED, and you are going to be okay.
Often times it becomes frustrating to see these happy, "my life is perfect," people. I know plenty of times I would get so frustrated with these people. How could they just be happy all the time? Obviously they have never been through any hard trails, have never experienced true sadness, or had anything wrong with their lives... (HA) They don't understand and they wouldn't get it, were phrases that often crossed my mind. How unfair is it for us to judge, say, or think that about others. Just because they handle their problems differently, doesn't mean they have never experienced the sadness you feel right now. It's okay for them to be happy and go on living. It's okay for them to put on a brave face and love their lives. It doesn't mean that their heart isn't secretly aching, or that they aren't on the verge of tears from day to day, it means that they are able to handle and push through their problems.. and that is great! Don't belittle others by thinking they have perfect lives and don't know what you feel like.
This was the hardest part for me. You have to recognize that because of the pain and sadness you are going through, your emotions are a little on edge. It is so easy to get so hurt and heartbroken by some meaningless remark someone mentioned to you. I was always so hurt when my roommate would comment on the little things I would do, or when my friends would say things like "you never come around." I made myself even more sad than I already was, thinking, wow.. how can they say these things to me? They had no idea and never intentionally said these things to hurt me! They were just saying them. You have to stop making yourself the victim. You aren't carrying a sign around saying "I am emotionally damaged, am going through the worst pain I've ever felt, have no motivation, and will probably start crying about anything you say to me." How in the world are they supposed to know that you are hurting if you don't tell them? And, no one should ever feel like they are walking on egg shells in fear that any word they say, might hurt you so deeply. Take these things that anger you with a grain of salt. Don't read into what they said. As hard as it might be, try to just let it go.
Find the Good:
Surround yourself with what you know you love. Exercise, read a good book, draw, spend time with people you love and feel comfortable with, anything that makes you happy! Taking care of yourself is so important. Remind yourself of your blessings every single day and at some point those blessings will grow and you will remember how incredible your life is.
Come to Terms:
You have to come to terms with your problems. You have to accept what has happened, grieve, try to understand, and deal with them. Though having depression is the most frustrating thing and you want to shove your problems into the closet and lock the door, it doesn't work that way. You can be sad about what has happened. You can be devastated, heartbroken, shattered, what ever you want to be. But when you start to lose sight of who you are, you've let it control you. You have to start to deal and cope at some point. EVEN WHEN IT SEEMS IMPOSSIBLE. Even when it seems like there is nothing left for you, and that you will never be able to be happy.. You have convinced yourself of it. You cannot do that. It will be okay. And even if the only thing that is keeping you going is you telling yourself that.. that is enough, until you're strong enough to live it, love it, and believe it.
No One Wants to be Sad:
This one applies a lot to people that know someone with depression. I have also been on the other side of all of this and thought.. "Come on.. seriously? Just be happy already." It is so important to remember that most times, we don't have control of these emotions. We don't wake up and think.. "Man, being sad today sounds like a blast." No one wants to be sad.. and if you are choosing that for attention or other unknown reasons, cut it out. Remember that we are all trying the very best that we can, and treating people like they are just being stupid, is really insensitive. Support others as best as you can and realize that if they could, they would be happy with you. Someday they will, just not now.
The Man Upstairs:
Control your anger. I know I've talked about emotions.. but I want you to remember who you are getting angry with. I found myself taking most of my anger out on the people I loved most, and God. I was so mad at him. I was mad at him for taking people I love, from me. I was mad at him for letting us experience this sadness. I was mad at him that I felt alone, and like no one understood. I was mad at him for everything. Remember that at the end of all the heartache, sadness, and depression, he will still be standing there. Always remember that what is holding you together is him and his love. Don't take it out on the person that loves you most. My relationship with the God and Higher Power I believe in became so much stronger, at the end of all this. If you turn to him, your relationship will grow. You will come to find out more and more each day that he wants what's best for you, even if it takes you experiencing this sadness to get there. It will be okay because he wants it to be. He wants you to learn from it and turn to him for strength.. and you have to do just that. Turn to him, even when it seems impossible.
If it seems as though there is nothing in your power to lift the pain, get help. Talk to your parents, your friends, me, who ever. If you can't trust your own thoughts or emotions, you need to get help. It's okay. It's okay to feel broken. You aren't broken, you just need help reminding yourself of that. There is nothing embarrassing about wanting to be happy again. You are doing what is best for you, and that is awesome. I know that for some ridiculous reason, we are taught to believe that these emotions or feelings are embarrassing. They aren't. There is nothing you need to be embarrassed or ashamed of. We just get scared that others won't understand, and even if they don't.. they don't need to. You and your happiness matter, so do what ever it takes to get to that.
I know this has been a lot of words and repetition.. but if anyone out there is still reading I want you to know two last things. YOU ARE LOVED AND IT IS GOING TO BE OKAY. Even when it doesn't seem like it will be okay, it will. I promise. I don't know how it all works out but it does. There was one morning in Moab, my friend and I were sitting in our kitchen talking about suicide, sadness, and really deep topics. Person after person walked in, joined the conversation, realized what we were talking about, and proceeded to turn around and walk out. One guy in particular walked in, joined the conversation, and proceeded to share his feelings. He told us that he too had felt these things. I was shocked. From what I knew about him, he was the happiest, most outgoing, lovable kid I had ever met. I couldn't believe that he had gone through such sadness and depression. After hearing these things from him I realized it was all going to be okay. If he got through it and can be as happy and at peace with his life as he was, so could I! And hey, here I am. No things aren't perfect, they never will be.. but it is all okay. Life keeps going and the happiness you wish for can and will be yours. I am standing here telling you this because I have been there. I have had that overwhelming, unknown, deep, painful, embarrassing, sadness... but I am okay now. And yeah, someday I will probably feel these things again, maybe even worse.. but I will get through that too.. because as humans we have this incredible power to overcome what ever we set our minds to. Have faith and hold on. I love you, who ever you are, and believe in you. You will be okay, I promise.
I'm always here to talk to. Message me and we'll talk. We'll get through what ever you've got weighing on you, together. (Annikaleighmadsen@gmail.com)