We’ve all heard that old saying, “The sun will come out tomorrow” but we never feel like tomorrow comes soon enough. Depression is a thing that a majority of people will go through at some point in their lives and it can be mentally and physically draining. Waking up each day while in a depressed rut can be one of the toughest daily tasks one can deal with on a daily basis. Stress in my life is the main cause of depression which can be caused by even the simplest things such as our job, our significant other, debt, or even the type of food you ingest. It can be a lot to deal with especially on your own.
There are ways to deal with depression and I don’t mean going to a specialist and spending a ton of money on multiple visits a month because that solution doesn’t work for everyone. It’s always good to find someone who can bring out the best part of you and can motivate you to try. Trying is the key to starting on a happier life but you have to be willing to do it because your life won’t change unless you do. There are different ways to “try.” It can be as simple as getting out of bed with a smile. No matter what you “try” to change, you need to know that you have to believe in yourself more than anything and that will lead to others believing in you.
Like the name of this post, every storm runs out of rain but it does take time. It’s not going to be an over night change but you’ll notice one day when you’re walking down the sidewalk looking up at the sun that you’re smiling on your own for no reason. Maybe someday you could be the reason for someone else’s smile and even the reason they themselves aren’t suffering from depression. Keep your head up and remember that if nobody else does, I believe in you.
Yep…that’s right. I’m going there. When I started this blog that I have been neglecting due to well – life – I mentioned briefly becoming a stripper when I was in the middle of my breakdown. Now I am here to elaborate.
First I will tell you I am not ashamed of being a stripper. The other ladies there were just that – other ladies. Women trying to make a living. They had kids, lives, and it wasn’t a place where breaking the rules was tolerated even by the strippers themselves. The majority didn’t drink, didn’t do drugs, went home to their families and maybe even worked a day job. Feet were tired and in rough shape from hours of being on them in those famous “stripper heels” that everyone now wears to their day job cubicle. So don’t judge..really.
Now I was working for an ambulance service doing billing and accounting. At this time I was taking Prozac and didn’t “feel” anything but still had LOTS of crazy running through my head. I was just numb to it which brought its very own type of fear. The fear of just not giving a damn. I was a temp and they decided to hire me on full time with a promotion. That was just too much – so I never went back. I had played with the idea of being a “dancer”. I wanted to do something completely, utterly different. No desks, no real responsibilities – dancing and “easy money”. So my friend and I went to one of the nicest clubs in town – lied about our previous experience (which was the norm) and they put us on the day shift.
Now one would think with all the partying and drinking I was doing that I would HAVE to be drunk every time I danced. Nope -I decided I wasn’t going to be taken advantage of nor was I going to fear what I was doing. It not only was against club rules but against mine. I was done being afraid. I was always straight and sober. My first run on the catwalk was like I had been doing it for years. I was fearless. And it felt good.
No I am not suggesting everyone become a stripper or the like. However what I realized is that every night I was working out – really hard. I danced and loved it. I was drinking lots of water, wasn’t drinking alcohol or doing any other types of drugs. It was helping me to get physically healthier. Now what I hated was “asking for a dance” and I just couldn’t pretend very well to be someone that I’m not. But when I was on stage I felt good, sexy, defiant. I never felt in danger – the club owners made sure of that and the girls were all really tight. So basically I was working out, drinking and eating healthier, resting more, got some self esteem back without giving away everything to everyone and I made a lot of good friends. I started feeling better.
I could go home and my anxiety levels were cut in half – less thoughts – less crazy – more in control. So after about a year I felt more like myself and after watching a new girl accidentally OD I decided it was time for me to get out.
So again – you never know who you are judging when you do – so just don’t. I was a scared, hurting woman – I was a stripper – and those stripper heels helped me to save my life.
It starts really small…just a thought even. Then without even realizing it gets bigger and bigger. You keep just pushing along making it larger and larger but what you don’t realize is the huge, steep hill just below you. Everything is so white, so big, these little pushes can’t amount to anything – but then it drops and the snowball is accumulating more speed, more snow and debris and becomes huge, almost unstoppable. You are left at the top of the hill screaming for everyone to get out of the way and for the snowball to just stop before it crushes everything in its path…everything that you love…every piece of who you are.
That for me is the easiest and most precise description of a “break down”. Yes there is that “trigger” that may set the whole thing in motion…but I promise..there were little steps to get there…little flakes of “crazy” that were at the time easy to ignore. Once it all hits that final hill, and no one is there to slow it down…it rolls down faster and faster getting crazier and crazier.
You see life choices, DNA, environment all played into my breakdown. Yes, my family has a STRONG history of mental illness – but the choices I was making – i.e. the bad ones…didn’t help. I didn’t have a healthy way to communicate pain, disappointment, sadness. I bottled it up…then drank the bottle. No I wasn’t an alcoholic – that would be way to easy to explain away. I was just miserable and lonely. Then add some major hormonal changes and BAM! Off to the races of hating myself and being too afraid of what was happening to get help. I was afraid to be around my daughter – the one person in my life that I loved unconditionally. Then instead of making better choices…I did everything I could to run away from it. Hoping that if I did something daring enough that I could “shock” it away.
I didn’t talk about what was really in my head. It was terrifying. Thoughts that I didn’t want – they weren’t mine. So on the outside it just looked like I was shirking my responsibilities as a mother and “partying”. I can’t blame them…that is what I was doing, but only because I was scared and wanted to protect my little girl from me…or whatever was happening to me. You see I didn’t realize it was a severe form of OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) or that Zoloft would make it stop. Nope…just kept wishing the snowball would melt. They take a REALLY long time to melt…so what you need is something to stop it in its tracks and bust it open.
So before you judge someone just realize that there may be things they are going through that you don’t know. Does it make it right that I wasn’t there for her like I needed to be for that 2 years? No. But I have asked for her forgiveness and explained it to her. I have fought to get better and have fought to help others do the same. I can’t get back those years…but damn it…I will do everything possible to make sure that every year that I have matter. And I am so blessed that my baby girl and I have the best relationship that a mother could ever wish for. Just keep in mind…I had to FIGHT for it. I love you Lydia!
I got up that night crying and praying. I was so sick of thinking about the same thing over and over. I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t make it stop. I thought maybe I’m just weak, or crazy, or making a big deal out of
nothing. At 14 years old I didn’t know who to really ask if it was normal – thinking about the same thought from morning till night. When I thought of something going good…it would come. “It” was its own entity. Creeping in to steal any joy from the day. I prayed – even hoping that my Aunt Sue could hear my dilemma from heaven (at least that is where I hoped she was). I finally broke down and told my mom about it – well some of it. I didn’t let her know how long or how often – just that it was bothering me. She could only give me advice based on what I told her…”just think of something else and pray about it.” Oh God if it had only been that easy! The thought…for the past year…everyday…was DEATH. I couldn’t escape it. If I thought to myself…”Wow I did a really great job on _______” the next thought that intruded was “But you are going to die one day so it really doesn’t matter.” Yes all day, everyday. I was so tired of it.
It hit me one day while talking to my boyfriend about dying. AIDS had really just started scaring the pants off people (no pun intended) and it made me think, really think about dying. From that day – us standing in the sun after church – the thought got “stuck”. I kept waiting for it to fade…go away…something. But no – it just built a little nest in the back of my good thoughts and I hated it. This was far from counting to 8 when the refrigerator door shut.
Two years prior to that my Aunt Sue had died very suddenly. I remember her vibrant, red hair. Her wonderful smile and her petite hands. She had fire in her belly and she would take me and walk with me as often as she could. Sometimes confiding in me things she shouldn’t but I’m now glad she did. I had no idea up to that point she had suffered from severe depression her entire life, threatening here and there to take her own life with aspirin. When we got the news…then it was very clear that she had struggled alone with much of it. She shot herself…in her home after lighting fire to the kitchen. I was and am still devastated. I will elaborate on this much more in depth later…but I feel this was a trigger for me to an already fragile mind because of self esteem, past family history, and current living conditions with my alcoholic father. So…I had hoped she could give me wisdom…from wherever she was – she always did.
So…I dealt with it, I cried over it, and finally it really just faded away over the next few months. Its like a storm had come and passed. I didn’t speak of it anymore…but what a warning it was for events to come. I was just happy it stopped so I didn’t think too much on it after that. No one knew that they should think about it for me…