I struggle with depression and anxiety. I’ve been on medication for years now. This isn’t my confession because I don’t really hide it—in fact I joke about my happy pills all the time. But it’s also something I’ve never really talked much about. I’m not ashamed of it—I know it’s the way my brain is wired and that I’m definitely not alone.
Lately I’ve been frustrated with the fact that I’ve been on these meds for so long, I work out and read books and surround myself with things that I love as much as I can…and it doesn’t seem to change. The anxiety level has definitely gone down–I can get on a plane now, which is a wonderful thing. Not every day is hard, but I still have some where it’s a struggle just to put one foot in front of the other. Honestly, I’ve come to terms with it all and have just learned to live with it.
My depression presents as overwhelm. I can get so overwhelmed by life in general that I can’t and don’t want to do anything. It makes me shut down. If I am hurt by something, it’s gone. I ain’t got time for that shit. This includes people. Sometimes it comes from a place of strength and taking care of myself—but often it comes from the fact that I just can’t go there anymore. I can’t be disappointed or let down one. more. time.
I can definitely point out reasons that contribute to feeling the way that I do:
- But of course, Childhood. No one’s is perfect, and I actually do look fondly back at my younger years with my mom, siblings, friends and involvement in music at school, but I do remember a distinct feeling of not loving myself and feeling alone no matter how many people I was surrounded by.
2. An Overly-Creative Mind. I am grateful to be so creative and I’ve had many fabulous experiences, but it does set one up for a life of struggle. Nothing is set in stone, you can’t just go out and get a job in Creative. For all the days I love doing so many different things, there are many where I’m just exhausted and long to just feel satisfied doing some kind of ‘normal’ and conventional career-type-thing. Yes, the suffering artist thing is real!!
3. A Child With Special Needs. We are very very fortunate that our 17 year old son is as high functioning as he is, but he does have Asperger’s Syndrome which definitely comes with its own unique challenges.
I deal with not only the challenges for him as to how he’s going to get along in the world as he nears graduation, but to be perfectly and selfishly honest, the challenge it is for ME.
My son is incredibly smart–he just scored a 31 on his ACT, first try!!– but there are everyday life things that he struggles with, things most of us naturally absorb, and he is very much a loner. As far as I can tell, he’s perfectly happy that way. It is SO opposite of who I am, so it’s hard for me to relate to. As a worrisome parent, there is always a part of me that wonders if he really is lonely and doesn’t know how to express it.
I see all of the Facebook photos of other kids attending proms and Homecomings. Kids getting their driver’s licenses. Posts of parents lamenting about their kids making too much noise and stinking up the basement with their teenage sweat sock feet. How they are so over driving their kids here and there for this and that. I would LOVE to have those problems. And I know deep down that all of this sadness I feel is my OWN business, not his. I’m feeling how I would feel in these situations, as a lonely child, when more than likely he does not feel that way at all. But as a parent it is SO hard to remove yourself from the situation—to not project your own feelings and insecurities on them, and what YOU view as the perfect high school life. I wonder if that’s even possible??
Because my son is truly amazing, I’m sure he will eventually do great things and have the relationships that he needs. But because I am a parent, I worry about my son and how he will make it out in this scary world.
4. This Scary World. Oh my god, this world. Being an empathic, overly-sensitive person, the way of the world right now is enough to make me never want to get out of bed again. My overwhelming need for justice and authenticity is squashed again and again as I see the hypocrisy that is our so-called president, that is our government and country as a whole. My Pollyanna eyes have been opened to what the world really is, and just how many assholes it’s really made up of, and my squishy heart can barely take it. WHY DO YOU CARE if someone is different than you, I want to yell at the top of my voice. If they have different colored skin, believe in a different god or religion, want to have sex with someone of the same gender, what to BE a different gender? WHY THE FUCK DO YOU CARE??? And I know why they care. Because they are afraid. And I will never understand why someone is afraid of someone else being different than them. To be so threatened by what someone else does or is is beyond me. I just want everyone to get along. I try so hard not to live a life of fear, and I’m surrounded by people who fear. It’s suffocating.
5. A Husband With Cancer. Aak, the dreaded ‘C’ word! First off, I’m VERY grateful that my husband’s Multiple Myeloma diagnosis is only in what they call the ‘smoldering’ stage. This means he has all of the signs, but it’s not active yet. Eventually it will be, but we don’t know when. Fortunately, his doctor has no reason to believe that it won’t be years and years before it presents itself. My hubby has no side effects and feels no differently than he ever has, so it’s easy to forget that we are even dealing with it. But every 3 months he goes in to get his levels checked, and of course there is always that chance that something will change. Something like this does tend to hover like a little black cloud.
I also have a sneaking suspicion that reaching that half of a century mark has a lot to do with these feelings coming to a head right now….I’ve noticed that many other women my age (and probably men, but none of them have told me) I know are feeling the same way. Maybe it’s a mortality thing—but wanting to simplify. Getting tired of the struggle. Life really is getting shorter and shouldn’t we know what we want and be done struggling by now?? Good grief!
None of these things I just mentioned are anything more than what other people deal with every day…and many people deal with a lot worse. I have a lot to be thankful for, so telling you all of this definitely is not a cry for help or an excuse for feeling down.
But remember how I just mentioned that being authentic is really important to me? Here’s my confession:
While I know in my heart that advice I give and ideas that I write about are solid and true, here’s me admitting that I don’t always follow through on my own advice. I’ve done everything I’ve suggested that you do, but I still struggle to find my place in this world. I’m not always the ultimate Badass and I struggle with that role that I’ve somehow given myself, every goddamn day.
Look, I’ve worked through all of this shit enough to know that being a flawed person and even a flawed coach is actually ok—in fact, it’s good in some ways. It’s more relatable. Lord knows I can relate to others that feel this way. But when I’m struggling with ‘what do I do now???’ for the umpteenth time, I definitely don’t feel like a Badass, and it’s hard to feel like I have the authority to suggest to others how to succeed in their own lives.
I’m going to go with the fact that sometimes admitting your faults and flaws and how you aren’t perfect is Badass. Because I know it is. I tell other people that all the time, and I believe it.
I will continue to write my planner every year I am contracted to (yay, 2020 is almost done!) because, by Glob, even feeling the way I do I get out there and slash around wildly with my sword regardless. Every Fucking Day. Sometimes that’s all we can do. Try to get by and do the best we can, in the moment where we are RIGHT NOW. Right now I’m writing this out and it feels really good. Whether anyone reads this or not, it feels good to get it out, to come clean. And that’s Badass.
So! There it is! I’ve done great things, I have a lot of courage to get out there and try new things, I follow my heart and fall in love with things over and over again. I laugh a lot, make time for rest and play—hell, I probably play more than I should! I have and will continue to battle with my badly wired brain. In so many ways I am the luckiest girl in the world.
But —right now—struggling and needing so badly to have and be something real, something solid, needing to have and be unadulterated authenticity, I feel the need to be authentic with you.
I also have the sneaking suspicion that many of you feel like frauds at any given time in your lives, and if this indeed speaks to you at this particular moment, I’m hoping that my confession gives you some relief as well. Can we all just plop down on our asses, let out the air we’ve been holding uncomfortably in our lungs, relax our scrunched up shoulders and be okay with not having to fix it all or have it all figured out????
If you are still here, than let’s get through this shit together. Let’s be our fucking-flawed selves, faking it ‘till we make it, struggling through and sharing our victories and defeats. We can still call ourselves Badasses, one day at a time.
Do you struggle with any of this same stuff? How can I help? How can we help each other?