I haven't written in about a month...
I didn't notice that before.
Things have been up, and I think it's time we talked.
Starting about a month ago, I found that I had taken a really long break from my journal keeping. Months and months had been lost, or only written in oddly specific and brief statements. Sometimes it was one word -'Suffering'- or it was a quote from Pinterest or a book that I was reading about how I was feeling.
I tried a new idea of writing to this Alter-ego of mine.
Her name is Leigh.
If you've read my past blog entries, you probably know by now that I struggle a bit with anxiety. Not severely, but enough to make it sometimes really difficult to want to go out, meet new people, try new things, socialise. I often run and hide in bathrooms when I do talk myself up to going out, and clutching to my books or phone quite often.
I thought maybe I was being simply self conscious, worrying too much what other people thought of me and that it reality it wasn't a big problem. I really tried to explain this to myself, and having those around me telling me this continually, I felt that it was actually me making this issue that I have even worse.
So I tried to push it into the back of my mind. I tried to busy myself so heavily that I wouldn't have even a second to have these anxious thoughts creep back into my mind. To let it eat at me like a parasite, o a ghost of an itch that couldn't be scratched away.
After about 6 months of trying this process, I noticed changes in my diary. I noticed changes within myself in the moments at 3:30am, when I was the only one awake and the numbness was coaxing me to go for a walk and never come back.
For the past 6 months, I have not been happy. I don't mean me being this sour-face everywhere I went, never laughing, always giving a numb look on my face. I mean that, after all the get-togethers, the long chats with friends, and the laughing, I felt the silence swallowing me up. I felt hopeless, and honestly not wanting to do anything anymore. No more friends, family, breathing, living, doing the same thing every day for the rest of this life. I just didn't want to be be anymore.
For the past 2 months, I've been crying more than I have ever cried during the whole course of being a teen. Some days, after coming home, I cry whilst falling asleep. There are periods during my crying where I'll ask myself in my head, 'What are you even crying for? You don't even have a reason for crying..." which, of course, makes me cry harder. I didn't really tell anyone, but I believe that pretty much my parents knew from my puffy panda eyes all the time. I didn't want to tell them, to bother them, to make them worry about me or anything that would go out of their way. I just continued trucking on and only keeping these things to myself.
For the past month, I have been having thoughts, dreams, and ideas that scare me. When in the middle of the night, all I want to do is get into the car and go driving until I find a nice bed of water, I find myself trying to hug my mum closer, try to think about funny conversations I've had with my close friends, and reluctantly making a list of why I want to still be here.
When I finally told my parents that I'm worried for myself, and my mental health, they were very supportive of me. Offering help, watching me out of the corner of their eyes, and trying to make me laugh helped me to feel the inklings that I had made the right choice of opening up to someone. When I had finally opened up lightly to my friends that when I responded, 'I'm fine, and yourself?' I was actually lying. They were loving, supportive, and sometimes making light of what I felt made it easier for me to talk about it without feeling like they already had their phones out to call for someone to come and get me. A few suggested that I do some researching on Depression, and all the different types there is. Websites like Beyondblue popped into conversation, and I found myself deviating from my usual surfing time on the internet on Pinterest and Youtube to reading more on Beyondblue. Familiar words of depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, and hopelessness were etched into my mind as the more I researched, the more I felt something coming alive inside me. Something within that numbness. Finally, after flicking through the different types of depression, it dawned on me that I may be experiencing mild depression. I tried ushering that idea away...I wasn't depressed. No. I couldn't be. Maybe I was just a bit sad for a little longer than usual, but certainly not depressed. Depression was out of the question. I knew people who are depressed, but I was not one. I went to forums, I went to chat sites about it, and I finally let myself admit that maybe I was experiencing a mild case of depression.
Discussions about possible counselling flew around me, from family and friends, but the more I tried to get myself into the idea, I realised that I struggle to even talk to those who I trust the most...how would I be able to talk to a man or woman that I barely know about things that make me burst into tears at the very idea of it?
Deciding that that wasn't the best course for me, that's when the idea of journal writing to my Alter-ego, Leigh, came into mind. Maybe if I couldn't talk to someone real about these struggles, I could talk to someone I could will to life.
Progress has been little, but it's a beginning. I found that as soon as I began writing to Leigh, more and more feelings flooded to the surface and I was writing 5+ page journal entries which felt like my heart was exploding while writing. It's definitely rejuvenated something within me that I haven't had spark to life in the past 6 months, and it's a feeling I welcome with open arms.
Of course, as with life, there is opposition in all things. Telling people that you aren't happy, that you're trying to distract yourself from life every single day otherwise you start thinking things that most people don't want to hear, as an eighteen year old girl...you tend to get told quite frequently that it's 'normal' and that it's just a 'phase', that you're too young to understand yourself and that I don't even know what depression or anxiety is, I'm just experiencing 'sadness' and 'stress'. You get told that it's not depression, maybe you're just throwing yourself a pity party.
I want those to know, who are reading this (If there are any...), that you don't tell someone else what they are or aren't feeling. If they say they are feeling like crap, they are feeling like crap. If someone says that they don't want to do something, don't force them to do it by explaining all the reasons of why they don't understand themselves, and that you simply know better. Nobody wants somebody coming up to them when they are experiencing something they don't even understand themselves yet just to tell them that what they are feeling or going through is either not real or not a big deal. Something I've learned in Childcare that helped me to further understand this, is that if a child is crying...it's normally for a good reason. Sometimes you get crocodile tears, but those tears are for something. Feelings are real. People are real. You don't just dismiss it because you don't feel it yourself. I don't need a broken leg to understand that that person who is crying on the ground and clutching their leg has a broken leg.
Anyway, I'm coping. I don't want this to come off as whining, or seeking for attention, because it's not that. If that were the case, I'd done a better job throwing myself on the ground dramatically and continually use the word 'vexing' for everything just to drive that point home.
I'm learning that I'm in a transitional period in my life, from a carefree and responsibility free teenager, to a hard-working and patient adult. All I've known and done for the past 18 years is done and over with, and that I'm starting a very brand new chapter. I haven't done that since I was 14, and I was absolutely pooping-my-pants scared when I did that. I almost turned back just because of that fear, but I did it because I felt it in my heart to be right.
Now I'm learning to be patient with myself, and to stop bullying myself over things that either won't be changed in this life, or will take a lifetime of experiences to do the best in. While I may not be dealing with it in the best way that I could (Depressingly laying in bed and crying while I try to distract myself with reading 20 books in two weeks), I'm taking one step at a time and learning how to trust in My Father in Heaven who wants me to learn from this and to grow even stronger from it. It's hard, but everything worthwhile in life is.
And for those who are struggling with disorders, either mild or severe, I want you to seek help. Either your parents, friends, extended family, teachers, counsellors, ANYONE. Don't let this stuff eat you up from the inside and lead you to do something as a last resort. Don't let the silence and pain drive you to hurt yourself, either mentally, emotionally, or physically. Do something about it. Don't let it affect you without your consent. You are not something to be acted upon, but to act.
And while some may tell you what you're feeling isn't real or try to to diminish you and your thoughts, realise that they aren't you and you know what you feel. Trust yourself and God, who loves you. It's okay to fall sometimes, to take a break and to evaluate where you are going and what you are or aren't doing that brings you sadness or joy. It's okay to ask Heavenly Father to take a seat with you and have a deep long discussion about everything. It's perfectly okay for you to slip, tumble, crash, fail, make a mistake, and change from it.
While I'm dealing with a current sickness, I've been working on goals and ways to keep me focused on my happiness, and progressing. I have an obsessive nature, and of late my obsession has been books and book-reading. The Book Blog that I have with some friends probably doesn't help, but it is a great way to practice my writing which is something close to me and that I love to do. Removing distractions in my life is also a current painful, but necessary part, of this whole process.
Until next time,
Thanks for listening/reading to me,
PS. This is a cool picture I found. While it may not be scientifically true, I found from personal experience that it is (*Toots my own horn that I'm super smart and super empathetic.....tooot tooot*)