When Depression Leaves You More Than Sad
The New Year Is Not Always Happiness And Positivity
For most, today is a day of reflecting upon a new year and what you hope to accomplish. It's a day of setting goals and hoping to achieve them by this time next year. For others, like myself, it's a day of sadness mixed with confusion about almost everything in your life.
I'm someone who has suffered with depression and anxiety for the majority of my life, but only was diagnosed a few years ago when I found out that I had been living with multiple chronic illnesses. It was a life altering thing for me to be thrown different names of diseases and not told that they could never be cured. For four years, I've been trying to cope and grieve my old self while trying to accept who I am now.
Each year, around this time, I find that the holiday's make me very depressed instead of merry and happy. I believe it's partly from loneliness and also because I don't know what purpose I have in life anymore. While I reflect back on my year, I have nothing to be proud of and nothing that I can say that I did to massively impact society in a positive way.
It's important for me to tell you that I am unable to work due to my illnesses. It seems as though who we are is judged by what we do career wise, and I no longer have an answer to that question. This, in turn, makes me feel like I have no purpose. My goal in 2019 is to dig deeply within myself to try and figure out how I contribute in some way to life for others and how I can once again be proud of myself. Long gone are the days where people really cared about who you were and determined their opinion of you based on that. Or, maybe this just never existed.
I used to feel like I was helping people in some way. I was in no way a doctor or scientist, but I did work one on one with the public in various customer service positions, and I did feel like I was making a small difference. I felt most needed when I worked in a public library. I was there working when Hurricane Sandy hit and devastated all of the nearby towns. People used our space to charge their phones, get some warmth, and they even relied on the library to just be a listening ear in their times of suffering. Patrons would tell me that I was so nice and that I made their day by smiling at them. If you ever hear that libraries will be dissipating soon due to the surge of e-books, please know that libraries are still so significant and important to many people out there, but I digress.
This past year should have been the one that made me turn to the positive side. I got married and went on a honeymoon. There was the day I asked my bridesmaids to be in my wedding, followed by my bridal shower and bachelorette party. I had many people in my life that were so happy for me, and while I felt the love, I only felt the happiness for my wedding day. I will forever be endlessly grateful to my husband for not running away once I became sick and could no longer work. He knew that the next few years were going to be extremely tough, but he stepped up instead, and I am so very lucky.
The day of our wedding, I felt the most happy that I had been in three years. All of the pictures from my wedding day show me smiling, and it was an amazing feeling to know that I had that happiness, if even for only a day. I definitely suffered through the day, having to take breaks and go outside to get some fresh air and relax for a few minutes here and there. My recovery time for one day of fun took an entire week. It wiped every ounce of energy out of me and caused me so much pain. My honeymoon should have also brought some type of joy into my life, but my medical issues deterred me from being able to let loose and fully be in the moment.
My point is that I know I should be happy. I want to be happy. I take medicine to chemically alter my brain to help make me happy and less anxious, but for those of us who have mental issues, we cannot force ourselves to be happy even when it's clear that our year was our best yet. We, so often, are pretending to put a smile on our faces just to make others feel comfortable around us because there is such a stigma out there regarding mental illness.
On New Year's I sit here just questioning how I can feel like even the smallest part of who I used to be. What can I do to find purpose? I'm lost and empty with ideas. The only thing that I can remotely feel proud of is that the website The Mighty published a couple of pieces that I wrote this year, and it reached so many more people than I ever thought it would. I wrote things because it was an outlet for me; I never thought they would actually get published. It was a way for me to purge all of these negative feelings inside.
So, it's the first day of 2019, and I'm here blogging, hoping that this may be a way for me to feel like I matter and am more than just a sick person.
I don't have expert advice, but I have my story.
© 2019 Jamie