I AM NOT OKAY

And that’s okay. I haven’t really been myself for over a month now. Or maybe this has been going on much longer than I realized. Either way, I’m here to say, I’m alive and I’m working on it.

Depression is a finicky thing. Not all days are bad, some are not so bad, some are even better than bad.  Some may even feel like life is back to normal.  But with a lingering darkness that hasn’t been entirely “worked on”, it’s difficult to navigate life through depression.  And this depression is far more challenging than I’ve ever dealt with in the past.  This time, pain isn’t at the root of it, it may have some part in it, but it’s something else entirely.  And quite frankly, it’s overwhelming.  It’s all that bottled up emotions from the past 15 years or so being released like Pandora’s Box.  It’s the chaotic thoughts running wild in my head filling me with lies and me believing in them.  It’s the weight of the darkness sitting heavily on my shoulders, pulling me in deeper.  It’s the fact that I’m fantasizing about death and I know I shouldn’t.  I’m tired of living, yet I know I have so much life to live.  I have these boosts of energy I have no idea where it came from making me think – okay, I’m good now.  Then I have moments where I’m alone and I slip back into it.  I find myself feeling the urge to burst into tears for no reason.  Always on the verge of wailing like an infant.  Every little thought and every little emotion triggers me into a sort of frenzy.  I’m irritable, annoyed, angry, sad, overwhelmed, out of breath, and so very lost.  It’s exhausting. And I’m so so tired.

I know suicide is never the answer.  But I can also understand why people actually go through with it.  Suicide is almost too easy.  It’s an impulse decision really.  I’m assuming the people who planned it out have had their fair share of struggles – to do it or not to – maybe they waited to get their affairs in order first, I will never know that reason, and unfortunately neither will the loved ones of the deceased.  But in the end, it’s too easy to give into that voice of reason.  A very dark voice of reason and another lie one cannot see clearly when fogged by their own personal demons. It’s too easy to end it all and no longer be alive.  The temptation is just too high.  No longer feeling those heartbreaking emotions.  No longer drowned by the fears and the troubling thoughts wreaking havoc in the mind and soul. Sometimes the impulse is far more aggressive than remembering a moment is only temporary.  The hardest part is choosing a path that nearly feels impossible – the path to heal yourself.   Learning to love life again. Learning that there is more to life than the darkest moment you’re in. Learning to chase life and pursue it not for others, but for yourself.

Life can be so intimidating, especially when you put pressure on yourself to be somebody.  And in this day and age, it’s far too easy to open up Instagram and instantly feel shitty about your life.  Comparison is a real thing and is so detrimental to anybody’s mental health and self-esteem.  I have been steering clear of social media because every time I open it, I feel a sinking feeling and every time I close it I feel a little lighter. I’m sure being a model has only contributed to this depression.

Modeling has opened doors for me in ways I never would have imagined.  It brought out the very best of me, but also the very worst in me and I hate that side of me.  Most importantly, I hate how it’s made me feel about myself.  I think a part of me will always love modeling and honestly, I’m not ready to let it go just yet, but I am pulling back from it and taking a break from castings while I focus on my day to day, still keeping that door open for potential direct bookings. It has been taking a huge toll on me, though, as of late – even being on hold feels like I’m exerting too much energy only for it to fall through and not be booked at all.

I have my own personal triggers that sets off a whole chain of fears that I will not elaborate on because they are far too many and it’s not my place to bore you with my problems as I’m sure each and every one of you have your own battles to overcome.  The importance is more than just my vulnerability and much bigger than my own personal problems.  The importance of healing and learning how to heal yourself.  There’s no right way or wrong way of doing things.  Every single person is individualized and unique to your own struggles, vices, and truthfully the way you heal yourself.

But the struggle is:

How can you heal yourself without allowing yourself to feel?

I don’t have any tricks up my sleeve.  I don’t have any tips to share because even I am trying to find my way to a better, healthier, and happier me. One where depression no longer haunts me and suicide no longer my go-to escape.  It’s hard to face emotions.  It’s especially hard when you know the only way through is to face them, yet if you don’t allocate the time to do so, it will only get harder to dig yourself out.

In my case, my vices are high.  I do anything and everything, but face my emotions.  I don’t deal with them in a healthy manner.  I binge watch TV. I binge eat on junk food and wayyyy too many sweets. Which honestly, are not very good for inflammation and physical pain or health for that matter. Or I end up shopping – spending money on things I don’t necessarily need . . . all to fill a void. I’ve felt pretty dead inside for quite a while and I’m not even sure how long.  I’ve hid my emotions from others and have mastered the art of masking to the point where I even fooled myself.  But the truth is: I’m sad all the time, even when I’m around people and the problem with masking my depression to make it seem like I have it all together is getting harder to maintain – I’m becoming mean because of irritability and anger and frustration and just plain exhaustion.

I’m slowly crawling myself out.  Trying, at least.  I’m journaling a little more than I have.  Trying to understand my feelings and make sense of it all. And I’m choosing to open up and share my journey with all of you. My fellow WordPress Bloggers and readers out there. Mostly, this is for me.  I’m trying to take my therapist’s advice on doing things I once loved. I used to love blogging until the pressure of becoming a blogger started creeping in. Who knows, though, maybe one lonely reader out there can relate or if I could help one person realize suicide isn’t the answer, maybe there’s hope for me yet.

My therapist did say, depression is a soul-sucking experience, the worst thing you can do while depressed is isolate yourself and stop doing all the things you love to do.  It’s hard to return to things I once loved.  I somehow feel like it’s tainted, like I’m unworthy to do the things I love to do. Like somehow I have to be happy in order to do the things I love.  I haven’t prayed in a long time either.  Whenever something bad happens, I always end up praying and whenever something is going well for me and I’m feeling good, I usually pray as well. But for some reason, when I hit the darkest of all darkness, I isolate myself more, hide myself, and don’t cry out in prayer.  I almost feel ashamed – maybe that’s why I don’t show it as much when I’m around people. I know it’s so backwards.  God is always there for us. But I always end up distancing myself further. I know in order for myself to heal, as a believer of Christ, I must be willing to be vulnerable in front of the Lord and let Him guide me out of this depression because honestly, I can’t do this alone.

In the physical world, I knew I needed help.  Spiritual guidance can only go so far.  I needed to be able to converse with someone about my problems and receive the help I need verbally.  So on impulse, tears flooding my vision and everything – instead of choosing death to escape, I somehow mustered up the courage to email my therapist from six years ago.  The only downside is, she may be closing her practice within a year.  I don’t know if I’ll need long term care. I’m hoping for something quick, but I know there’s no such thing as a quick fix.  Nurturing your mental and emotional health takes time. But not just time, it requires availability. It takes your willingness to do the work to move forward and move past the depression. To understand what triggers you and to learn how to cope with it.  In order to overcome depression, it requires a lot of work and I have to be willing, present, and make time for myself and this healing process.  Forgiveness and giving yourself grace is important too. Nothing will change overnight.  There is no magical cure.  There is only time, patience, and love you give yourself.

The exercises my therapist recommended have been helping, as far as what I can control or choose to do. Life is made up of choices.  Every decision you make leads you down a certain path, which can be particularly difficult when hitting a fork in the road and you’re quite indecisive or you have emotions and untruthful thoughts swaying you towards a downward spiral. So, even though I don’t have tips myself, I’ll share the exercises that have helped me find my way back to the present, since my depression has always been surrounded by what I should’ve done or should do:

Diffuse
“I’m having the thought that . . .”
“Is this thought helping me or freaking me out?”
Verbally remind self that thought is not truthful

Grounding Techniques AKA Present Moment Awareness
List 5 Things:
            I See
            I Smell
            I Taste
            I Hear
            I Feel (Physically) – “I feel the grass between my toes.”

Gratitude
It doesn’t have to be first thing in the morning or last thing before bed, practice throughout the day at random times. It could be as simple as stopping yourself mid-action or mid-thought and say either aloud or to yourself something you’re grateful for. No pressure too, it could be something really small.
“I’m grateful for stepping outside today, the sun hitting my face fills me with warmth.”
“I really love this ring my mother-in-law gave me, I’m so grateful to be loved by my husband’s family.”

Asking yourself what you feel like or want to do is tricky because you can feel like not wanting to do something even though it’s something you need to do.  And another thing, “Needing to do something” and “Should be doing something” are also finicky. For me, I have tendency to binge watch TV to avoid my problems and distract myself from both the chronic pain when it’s high and from my own scary emotions. And what I want to do is die, but I know that’s not an option.  And what I should do is suck it up and face the world . . . so really, it’s not what you feel like or want to do or the pressure of the “should do”, it’s what you choose to do next.  Another exercise she gave me was watch television for 2 episodes, then take a 20 minute break doing anything or nothing at all – literally stare at the wall for 20 minutes – and after the break is up, make another choice.  Do you want to go back to watching another 2 episodes or 1 movie and repeat the 20 minute break later or do you want to do something else? Taking those small simple 20 minute breaks from the TV is all I need to take my eyes off of a moving screen of distractions and avoidance.  For me, it’s all about not falling on this vice as a source of escape.  For me, it’s about rewiring my brain so the “what I want to do or should do” doesn’t add pressure associated with guilt, grief, and pain into my life.

Slowly, I know with these exercises and each choice I make is a step in the direction to growth and healing. It may not be easy, but I am prepared to take my time. I may not be okay right now, but I will be.

much love, rebeccanne

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