My best friend just told me that he no longer wants to be friends with me.
Family. Almost everyone has a family, whether they want one or not. Family is usually there for you. They stick by you no matter what and often times they get on your nerves with their constant advice. They always have some sort of input on your life whether you want it or not. Families are there for each other and support each other.
So what happens when you are diagnosed with depression and your family has no clue what to do or even what that means? Oftentimes they try their best to help, but sometimes their ‘help’ consists of platitudes, cliches, or questions that don’t help the situation. This can be frustrating at best and at it’s worst, can actually worsen your depression.
Lately, all I’ve been hearing from my family is you need to stop doing this or start doing that. I want to tell them that all I really need is support not advice. You are not living my life nor are you standing in my shoes, you have no idea what I’m going through. Why is it that my two friends are better support than you are? Instead, I get asked when I’m going to go back to school or when am I going to get a better job. I just want to scream at them “I’m doing the best I can with what I’ve got right now, is that not good enough?”
It’s bad enough that I haven’t been able to succeed at following my own life plan, I don’t need you to force yours on to me. Maybe I won’t complete school. Maybe I’ll never get a college degree, is that such a bad thing? Which is silly because I do want to go back to school and get a degree, I just want everyone to stop asking me these questions, because right now I don’t have the answers. Right now, I’m living day to day, just trying to make it through.
So I’m sure you’re asking yourself, as family, what can I do? Sometimes silent support is the best support. And as tempting as it may seem, giving advice isn’t going to help. Oftentimes, it only makes us feel worse. The best question you can ask is “How are you doing?”, followed by “Is there anything I can do to help you?”. These two questions show your support of the person and allows them to respond in a manner most comfortable for them.
These are the two questions I wish my family would ask me without judgement or criticism. I wish they would stop trying to give me advice, platitudes or asking me questions that I don’t know the answers to. I’m trying my best at the moment, why can’t that be enough?
Week 3, Day 1
Yesterday I hung out with the BF. We had fun visiting local downtown areas having lunch and then hitting up the mall. I was looking for a new swimsuit top for the summer. Now, I’m a slightly bigger girl, with a pretty large bust so it can be difficult for me to find tops that fit. So, after visiting the first of the 2 stores we were going to look at, I had a minor meltdown. I knew that anything I was going to find was going to have to be altered and that was if I found something in the first place. My BF dragged me over to some couches where we just sat and talked and cried. Well, I cried but he was so kind and understanding. He sees me in such a different light than I see myself and it’s amazing.
In the end, we didn’t find any swimsuit top that would work, so I decided an old bra and tank top would work for now, but the bonding experience we had was definitely worth the struggle we went through just in looking. I can’t believe I’ve found this amazing guy who is willing to deal with my ups and my downs and it’s amazing that he wants to be with me. I can’t wait to see where things go from here.
PS: Don’t teach BF any more coping skills!!! He knows way too much about rumination, and is consistently reminding me of when I do it already!! 🙂
I’m heading to vacation this week. I’m so excited to have a couple of days to relax and help my grandparents. I still haven’t found a swimsuit but that’s ok. I’ll just wear a bra and tank top. It’s not very warm out anyway so maybe the extra layers will help. I’m excited to get away from life for even just three days and spend some time out on the water. It always helps me relax and I always feel better afterward.
I only feel important, like I’m a priority when I’m needed/wanted for help with something. At least within my family, I feel like they only want me around when they need me to do something for them. Otherwise, I just feel like I’m in the way or I get the feeling that they want me to go away. I know that they don’t always like that I’m so open about my depression and my life on this blog but I just never understood hiding things. And I’m hoping that being more open about my struggle will help others with depression and promote understanding to those without it.
“You cannot live with expectations because life has no obligation to fulfill your desires. You can live with an open heart, but you cannot live with expectations.” ~Osho
Preferences not expectations. This has been my mantra lately. I need to learn to have preferences over having expectations. My expectations are only letting me down. In the end, they aren’t helping me, they are only hurting.
Expectations are defined as the act or state of looking forward or anticipating or to regard as likely to happen. It’s good to have high expectations regarding certain events or people, but having consistently high expectations can leave you upset and saddened when they are unfulfilled. Rather, I have been told that it is better to have preferences because they aren’t as set in stone as expectations.
Preferences are defined as a greater liking for one alternative over another or others. Having preferences means that you are less likely to be disappointed when things don’t go the way you plan because you have no expectations for it to follow your plans. It is also good to have a solid grasp on reality. If reality is lower than we expect our lives to be, we tend to be discontent and unhappy.
I guess you could say I have high expectations for my life that have gone unfulfilled, which has led to the unhappiness I feel today. I need to let go of these expectations or at least make them more realistic so that I’m not so disappointed when my life doesn’t go as I planned. I am trying to learn that having preferences is better than having expectations because I won’t regard preferences as likely to happen as expectations. It’s one of the many changes I need to make to bring more happiness into my life.
By having preferences, I will be more in touch with reality and hopefully not as disappointed that my life has not gone as planned. I need to learn to live in the moment, being in touch with reality rather than living in the past or worrying about the future. I can’t change the past and the future will be what I make of it, and if I live in the present, I will be a better person for my future.
A couple of days ago my boyfriend and I decided to go hiking. I knew of a pretty spot near a popular local tourist location that was just enough off track to be good for a quiet hike and picnic. We started out early, with our picnic, blankets and drinks, excited to spend the day together and in relative peace and quiet.
We parked and hiked down to the first waterfall. The trail followed the river and was gorgeous, but you were guaranteed to get slightly wet. We rolled up our pants, took off our shoes and started right in. We were having a blast. There was no one there, it was a wonderful day and we were excited to explore the area.
Things continued on nicely until we got to a fork. The path wasn’t very well marked but we could see another couple across the river so we thought that was the way to go. Unfortunately the only way to cross was a couple of tree branches that were clogging the riverbend. I decided to forge ahead. I was doing really well until 3/4 of the way across when I lost my balance and fell in, butt first. I felt like I struggled to for minutes to get out but my BF said it was probably only 30 seconds.
When my BF walked across and joined me, we decided to take a break for a few minutes. I was soaking wet from the butt down and was feeling rather shaky. As soon as we pulled out a blanket, I sat down and pulled out my phone. I immediately felt like crying. It worked, but the screen had been shattered. My BF sat down next to me and we just sat and talked for awhile. For me, this had definitely put a damper on my nice day. Now, I was worried about money and paying for at least a screen repair if not a completely new phone.
The rest of the day spent hiking went very well. And when we got home I showered and started a load of laundry. Then we started on our errands which now included a phone repair. After stopping at the local store, they said I wasn’t eligible for an upgrade but to check out a kiosk at the local mall for screen repair. After talking to the guy at the screen repair kiosk, I didn’t feel comfortable with leaving my phone with him or even having him find me a new phone, all of which would cost more than I spent to buy the phone in the first place.
My BF, being the resourceful guy that he is, looked up the price of my old phone at a local Target. Needing to run other errands as well, we headed to Target where we ran into the local business representative for my phone company. Talking to her for even a couple of minutes, she gave us advice to go to walmart where my old phone would cost $40 or the upgrade would be $70. She also gave me advice for the auto-pay setup and perks.
I ended up spending the extra $30 for the upgrade which was still cheaper than when I originally bought my old phone. We ended the day with a visit to my parent’s house and a fabulous spaghetti dinner.
In this one day, I experienced an emotional rollercoaster. My emotions and moods ranged from up to down so quickly it was almost difficult to follow and I’m sure it was difficult for my BF to watch. He handled it like a pro though, and was extremely supportive of me and the entire day. I’m extremely glad that I had him with me. All in all, I’m determined to look at it as a good day because I got a new phone, and I got to spend quality time with my BF. Also, I’ve decided that the next time I go hiking, I’m going to leave my phone in the car.
When I was little, I didn’t have very many friends. I usually had the one requisite best friend and that is who I would hang out with. For some reason though, eventually this best friend would move and I would spend time in limbo before finding a new friend. This happened many times from 1st grade all the way through high school.
I was always on the fringe of any groups. Now that I’m older, I feel like I spent my childhood chasing after the other kids on the playground. I would invite girls to my birthday parties and they would attend but I wasn’t always include in outside events. As we got older, it became even more apparent to me that I didn’t belong.
My middle school years, 5th and 6th grade, I felt like even more of an outsider. In 5th grade, I became the teacher’s pet just so I could go back to my classroom instead of going out to recess. The few times I remember going to recess, I recall sitting in front of an old tree stump that was disintegrating and picking at it, watching all of the other kids. I tried joining in a couple of times but I honestly felt like I wasn’t wanted.
By high school the differences were even more pronounced. I wasn’t into fashion and I wasn’t ‘boy-crazy’. I was a musical nerd who enjoyed her classes and joined every extracurricular choral group possible. After I turned 16, I got a job but I still didn’t feel like I fit in. Looking back at pictures of myself from high school, I feel like I’m on the edges; on the outside looking in.
I’ve felt this way my entire life. I’ve often been told it’s because I’m more mature than others my age or that I ‘had an old soul’. But while that is great advice, as a kid, I just wanted to fit in. I just wanted to be part of the group; to feel wanted and involved.
Today, I don’t have many friends, but I cherish the ones I do. They are important to me because I know how much it sucks to not be invited or to be forgotten or ignored. I want my friends to know that I appreciate that they are willing to be there for me, especially on days when my depression attempts to get the best of me. My friends are my support and for that, I thank them.
If change was easy, it wouldn’t be worth it.
This is the tagline for my future non-profit, ADAPT. I feel that change and adapt are synonymous because to make a change, you have to adapt. Whether it’s adapting your behaviors, your emotions, or your way of thinking, adapting is a part of change.
Change isn’t easy. I’ve found that it’s difficult to change behaviors and ways of thinking that have taken years to develop. I have to be mindful. I have to actively maintain new behaviors and put effort into the changes I need or want to make. Sometimes, I feel like this effort could be better spent. Why put effort into something when you’re not sure of the outcome? It might not come to anything. It could be a waste of time and energy. But if I’m going to ‘what if’ the negatives, I would benefit more from also ‘what ifing’ the positives. I consider this to be one of the changes I’m making to my life. So, what if the change does work? What if this change makes the difference in my life?
My depression causes me to think negatively and because of this, I have grown accustomed to thinking of worst case scenarios. So I’m trying to change and at least make the effort to think more positively, or at least not as negatively. Change has to be taken in steps. You can’t automatically convince yourself to think differently.
I am struggling with change. My depression is an old friend and I know exactly what to expect from it, but if I don’t change, I will never be happy. And I want to be happy; everyone deserves to be happy, don’t they? In this situation, change is the only way to achieve happiness. So I will change. I will take those steps forwards and backwards, and I will start all over again if I have to. Change isn’t easy, but it can be worth it to change bad habits and become a better person.
Week 1; Day 1:
I’m still struggling to find a therapist. i feel better and don’t necessarily want to find someone new. It’s hard finding someone. I’ve gotten lonely and I clicked with my last three therapists but now that I’m feeling better, I don’t necessarily want to find a new one.
And I know that one of the reasons I’m feeling better is because of the new guy in my life. For some reason, he think’s I’m absolutely amazing and gorgeous. I don’t completely agree with him. I can be amazing but I definitely don’t think that I’m gorgeous. Of course, hearing all of these things is very good for my ego and self-esteem but I need to feel these things for myself. I can’t rely on someone else for how I feel about myself.
I had an interesting dream that left me waking up feeling hurt. I’ve posted about this dream and the emotions I experienced because of it here.
I need to remember that I can have preferences but not expectations.
I’m reading this ‘self-help’ book, which is a little ironic because I’ve never really liked self-help books. But I found these two quotes which I really related to.
“I feel like I must earn my self-esteem. I think I must be very ‘special’ or intelligent or successful to be loved and accepted by others” (p. 176, Burns)
“I am terrified by failure. If I do not achieve an important goal, i feel like a failure as a human being” (p. 176, Burns)
That awesome guy asked me out ‘officially’ last night. & I’m here at his concert tonight. On the drive up here, I realized that I’m scared. I’m what ifing the whole thing and I’m worried that I’m going to come out of this worse for the wear. Honestly, I feel like crying. I realize that I just have to live in the moment and let things happen the way they will.
I’m looking forward to the new bf coming out and staying the night. It’s exciting. I don’t know what he sees in me, but I’m glad he sees it. He makes me feel better about myself which is potentially a problem. I need to bring this up with my therapist, when I find a new one.
I’m struggling today. It was awesome spending time with the bf, it was also sad to see him go. I know I’ll get to see him again, but now I’m feeling lonely and alone and parts of me are thinking ‘what if I never hear from him again? Why would he ever want me?’ I know this is the IBSC talking and I really wish they would shut up but their illogic is sounding mighty logical to me right now. I hate my mind!!!
To My Boyfriend:
I’m sorry. I know that it is difficult for you to understand my depression and what it can do to me. And I love that you want to understand and that you are making an effort to see past my depression to me. I don’t know what you see in me that you insist is so amazing and great and I might never see it but I’m glad that you do.
I love that you’re uplifting even when I’m at my worst. You refuse to let me begin my destructive circular thinking and you want me to succeed. You believe in me when I can’t.
You’re a good man. You have so much going for you and I often think that you can do so much better than a mess like me, but you insist that I’m the one who is out of your league.
I can be myself around you and not worry that you’re going to walk away. I miss you when we’re not together and I look forward to every time I get to see you. I’m looking forward to see what life has in-store for us. I’m hopeful, which is saying something for me.
I’m grateful that you’re there for me when I’m down and when I’m not. You’re a wonderful person, and I hope that we can grow together. Hopefully, one day I’ll be better and my good days will outnumber the bad. Until then, all I ask is patience.
Please understand that I am fighting. I want to get better and sometimes I can’t see that light at the end of the tunnel, but you say that it’s there and I’m willing to believe you. Hopefully we can reach that light together.
Thank you for everything you’ve done so far and everything that I’m sure you’re going to do. I appreciate it more than I can say. Thank you.
I’ve recently realized that I’m still holding onto the expectations that I had for myself before the depression took hold. Those expectations weren’t a bad thing until I became unable to fulfill them. I’m mad and frustrated with myself for not being able to do what I was once very capable of doing. The loss of motivation, energy, and commitment has really eroded my self-esteem. I’ll admit my self-esteem regarding my physical appearance was never very high, I never struggled with it when it came to who I was and what I could do.
When my depression came along, it knocked me sideways. It completely ran me off the path I had placed ahead of myself and while I wasn’t exactly happy with the path that had been “chosen” for me, it was still a path I had planned around. I was taking a major just to have something to major in, but I didn’t like it. It was just a general degree so that at least I’d have a bachelor’s degree when it came to job searching after college; a degree I could do virtually anything with. Before the depression, I was on track to graduate a semester early with a double major, possible minor and a concentration. I was ambitious and driven, although not thriving socially in college as many people thought I would, most profoundly my parents. I was thriving in my academics.
How easily that all fell apart. I’m not sure if it was one special event that triggered it or if I was a depressive time bomb just waiting to explode; and explode I did. I stopped going to classes, I stopped eating, I stopped caring about anything. It had all fallen apart and I couldn’t seem to find the effort to care. What did it matter anymore? I wasn’t going to graduate early and I definitely wasn’t going to be graduating with a double major anymore, let alone a minor or concentration. Surprisingly, the fact that I didn’t care about everything going to pieces, didn’t surprise me. I didn’t want to be studying that major. I didn’t even know what I wanted to do after college. Sure, I had college all mapped out, but the future after that was a blur.
I have to forgive myself though. I feel like I let myself down. I’m 24 years old and I don’t have a bachelor’s degree. In fact, I’m nowhere near ready to even consider going back to school. But at least I know what I want now. At least I know what I want to major in and what I want to do with my life. My depression, despite it’s blackness and carelessness, has given me the push I needed to find my passion. And I’m planning on pursuing that passion for as long as I possibly can. I can’t and I won’t allow my depression to get in my way again.
This first time, I’d say my depression was a blessing in disguise. Now, I’m going to make it be the passion that drives me forward. My depression is no longer going to be allowed to hold me back. I’m going to fight it with everything I have in me and I’m going to live my dream. And I’m going to pass on hope to others suffering from this disease. It’s the only thing I can do now.