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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Keep on Keepin' On...

So, about another month since my last post.  I have to say, there has been a lot of self-reflection as well as reflection we have had as a couple since then.

I wrote last time about my depression and that I was getting back on meds.  Since then, things have opened up for me in a way they haven't in years.  Why do those of us who need these meds think that we can cope with life without them?  I suppose for myself, I thought my depression was mostly due to specific situations when I needed the additional help of medication.  Maybe that was true, maybe I was kidding myself.  Yes, I have triggers that make me more prone to the "super depression" that I feel, but I had to face the fact that I might just need them to keep my brain in line.

Since the last post, I have opened up to my spouse more than I ever have.  I have started to open up to other people too.  It's a bit scary at first, but what I've found is that the people I have struggled the most to connect with in the past are the people who I have started connecting with in a way I never have before.

What I have found is that the people who I have had the most conflict in my day to day life might be struggling with the same issues I am.  By that I mean that they might also be dealing with anxiety and depression.  The more I opened up about what I was going through, the more they opened up and started having more compassion for me and also revealing some of the same things about themselves.  It was really strange.  I really thought some of these people hated me, but what I realized is that we had such similar issues and maybe we fed off of the negativity of each other, possibly we were angry at what we recognized in each other.  By expressing my feelings and vulnerabilities, they seemed to react with genuine care that I didn't think they actually felt for me.  I found the same compassion for them in return.

I finally went back to my counselor a few weeks ago.  I didn't realize it had been about 5 years since I had been to counseling.  It helped me see how far I had come within myself and dealing with my co-dependence issues since I had last seen her.  Yes, I had made progress.  Yes, I did start revealing my feelings to people.  Yes, I had started recognizing patterns of behavior and started speaking up.  Just speaking to her about the things I had done since the last time I saw her made me realize that I really had been making progress over the past few years.  Sure, it's slow, but it's still progress.

One of the scariest things for me right now is actually feeling things.  Any feelings.  I wasn't able to express what I was feeling for a long time (before I got back on my meds) and there is a huge difference in what I feel now.  Starting meds again, the highs are so much higher, the low are so much lower.  When a person is in the midst of depression, it is so hard to explain to others the way you feel.  Basically, I felt numb to any type of feeling, good or bad.  It's confusing to get back to a place where you actually feel both the highs and lows of emotion.  That is one thing I'd like to stress to anyone dealing with someone who is going through depression.  It is confusing for everyone.  We don't know why we feel what we do any more that the people we love know what we're feeling.  Please just be patient and compassionate that we're trying to adjust.  

As much as I wish I could say that I understand or can be empathetic to what my spouse is going through and vice versa; none of us know the struggles other people have within their own minds.  We all have struggles.  I think what we have come to in our relationship is that neither of us will ever completely understand what the other is going through...but that's okay.  As long as we can really listen to one another and be compassionate and understanding, we are on the right path for a life-long relationship.

I was given an "assignment" to watch another TED Talks that dealt with vulnerability and happiness.  I watched it once, then asked my spouse to watch it with me.  She obliged and it opened up some great dialogue for us.  The central thesis was basically that in order to feel full joy and happiness, there needs to be a vulnerability of being hurt.  We need to be able to be open to all feelings, regardless of the outcome.  Then, and only then, we are able to feel the true joy and happiness we are longing for.  It's so scary to be vulnerable in that respect but without taking the risk, we won't be able to feel the full extent of our own feelings, nor anyone else's.  

I thank my counselor for opening my eyes (once again) to things that were right in front of me all along.  Fear of being hurt has closed me off to true joy.  I would like to let go of that fear in order to feel the joy, happiness and love I deserve.  No matter what happens in the future, I need to be able to feel and rejoice in the feelings I have at any moment in order to feel happy and fulfilled in life.  I have that right now within my spouse, my family, my friends.  I need to simply accept it and feel good about it.