Love Yourself Harder

So this picture represents my last few weeks. Just when you think you are strong enough, capable enough, simply enough to handle a valley of low times, you are mistaken.

I hurt. I don’t even know where I hurt sometimes but it’s there. A painful, dull, ache, weighing heavily on every part of my mind and body. My depression hit me like a train the past few weeks. I know I can be a strong person, but every once in a while I would like someone to hold my hand and tell me things are going to be ok. Everything these days seems to make me cry. The past few weeks I have sobbed myself to a bleak and mediocre sleep too many times. The part that people who don’t suffer or relate can’t understand is that there is no reason for it. It just returned. Like an old friend, who is far to familiar. Trying to stay positive when you don’t feel happy means that hard days become harder. Laying in bed at night wishing away thoughts that you have little control over is exhausting. Going to work the next day after you didn’t sleep and battled demons all night is terrifying. I think the worst part is trying to explain how this illness works to someone is almost impossible and so it makes me retreat and keep it all to myself.  Trying to explain why working only part-time is a challenge in itself is almost pointless.  There is a vicious cycle of stress, then worry, then lack of sleep, thoughts of inadequacy, the return of poor coping strategies that can drag you down so unexpectedly. You think you’re ok, you think it will not return, but it always does.  Sometimes it stays away for weeks, months, who knows. But when it comes back it feels like you are drowning in a pool of all of the worst thoughts that you’ve ever had. When the people that you love see you happy for an extended period of time they get used to it. And when you cave, and get hit with the storm again they don’t understand because they can’t see it. All they see is someone who has been happy before and so therefore you must be all better. And then comes the guilt of being the person in the relationship who ruins all the progress.  Some of the most powerful words you can say to someone with an invisible illness is. I believe you. Never give up on someone with a mental illness. It is one of our biggest fears and sadly something that happens, which only adds to the stigma.

Who you were, who you are, and who you will be are three different people; but when you can’t answer the latter, or for that matter, any of them, man that takes a toll on you.

So the day I said I’m “so over this” and put my somewhat funny, yet very truthful shirt on, I went out for a run that meant many things. Perseverance. Survival. Freedom. Everything.

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