Sharing Depression

I recently talked to my parents about the fact that I have a tendency towards depression. I admitted that I’ve had it since I was a teenager. It wasn’t something I could put a name to at that point but looking back after all of the experiences I’ve had living with it, it was there just waiting for me to fall into its pit. Somehow, even with these feelings constantly swirling around me, I managed to get all the way through my 20s before it became a major issue. And finally with all of the right elements in place, it did become a huge issue.

I couldn’t get out of bed on those days. Food wasn’t meaningful. Every day was such a huge struggle that life was beyond hard. I must have cried so much in that time frame. Because of the constant therapy and the fight I finally decided to put up against it, I did make it through.

Even though life was infinitely better and more well-rounded through my 30s, it would still linger in the background. For a while after having each of my children, post-partum depression definitely made a strong appearance. Luckily, for me, it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. Eventually, I even got to a point where my life was starting to feel good because I was getting more time to chase my dreams.

Then, covid hit. Everything went backwards. For a while, it was fine. It took almost a year and a half but then the little pieces of it added up. Somehow, without noticing it, it became bigger and bigger until just earlier this year, I realized that depression was back. Not just a hint or a faint scent but full-fledged back.

It’s not like I shut down. I didn’t. I couldn’t. I have a family to take care of. I have businesses to run. I can’t lay in bed for hours, eating candy, and hoping to feel better. I have to continue to function this time. So I did. I kept pushing forward. What choice do I have?

You know when I realized it was depression? When I realized I couldn’t feel excited about anything. When joy seemed to be nowhere in sight. I wasn’t laughing anymore. Things feel like they’ll never be better. Sometimes, you end up floating around in that black cloud that makes you question “what’s the point?”.

The best decision I made when covid hit was to get back into therapy. So now, I’ve been doing sessions throughout the last year which means I haven’t sunk as fully as I could have. I’m also aware and grateful for the support I do have around me because I know that they keep me afloat in what could have been that bottomless pit. Just a few moments of calm each week with people that love me keeps me holding on.

So I told my parents all of this. My parents have been pretty supportive with the whole mental health thing. They’ve tried to understand why and how I feel as I do. This isn’t always the case with South Asian Indian parents. Mental health is still a stigma. Depression is a stigma. Anxiety is a stigma. Everything that isn’t able to be physically seen is a stigma.

The biggest question that comes out of it is “How can you be depressed when you have everything?” I do have everything. I’m luckier than most. And the biggest blessing I have is the ability to communicate openly how I feel. I know I’m not alone.

So this is how I answered the question, “It’s because I had everything that it wasn’t or hasn’t been worse. I survived because I had the family support. I survive daily because I am able to talk about what I’m going through with my spouse, family, and friends. I get through each day knowing the next might be better because I don’t have to hide that I don’t feel okay.”

That’s it. Just being able to share that little piece, being able to cry when it’s not all okay, is enough to make sure I don’t drown when things are hard, when the world in general is hard. That’s how I know that one day I will get through it. It’s hard thing to consistently believe but I have had better days and for now, one day at a time is all I can do.

It’s Okay To Let Go

Today, I saw this article about letting go of toxic people to make room for more positivity in your life. It reminded me of all of the people I have slowly been walking away from because they aren’t good for me.

Let’s be honest. For me, it basically came down to unfriending them on Facebook. The fact that they were toxic already meant we weren’t socializing or in touch at all. But seeing their lives on Facebook just kept me connected to them. When I did have to deal with them in person, it┬ájust drove home the point that we weren’t meant to be friends.

It’s a difficult thing to do. Some of the people I have walked away from share so much history with me. There are friends I have had growing up, people on dance teams, old relationships, former best friends. How do you just let go of 10 plus years of friendship? How do you let go people who were there for you in the most difficult times? How do you walk away from people who were there through sweat, blood, and tears? And what happens that these are the people who become toxic?

I honestly believe a lot of it happened because I changed. I learned who I was and because I embraced that part of myself, it changed the relationship I had with whichever person was now toxic. Some friendships have the capability of adapting. But some definitely don’t. And when you believe you are making a change for the better, you can either trust yourself and those who support you or you can view yourself from an outside point of view that makes you feel less than you should. In my opinion, no one should ever make you feel that way.

If you are also Indian, you know that walking away from someone doesn’t mean you won’t ever see them again. Sometimes, I wish it did but let’s face it. We are all 2 degrees of separation from each other. Inevitably, we will run into someone who we have decided isn’t good for us. And we have to learn how to deal with it.

It’s also difficult to see everyone else’s lives go on without you because you chose to walk away. I see groups I used to be a part of living their lives and celebrating events, only now I am on the outside. It would be so easy to find a way back into the groups but I also know it wouldn’t be good for me to be around those people. Sometimes, it does suck to be on the outside.

This is the hard part for me. I would love people to see what I see and “be on my side” about the toxic person. Then, I have to remind myself that just because someone isn’t good for me doesn’t mean that person isn’t good for someone else. And honestly, I can see where I might be toxic for other people. So I have to learn to let it be because everyone has the right to live the way he or she wants as well and I walk away, unfriend, or shield myself from them.

All I can do is what is best for my life and keep positive, supportive people around my family.