it's ok to not be ok

As someone who had known depression on and off, I wasn’t necessarily surprised to feel the weight of depression coming on – but what did surprise me 10 years ago is that it was hitting me during what should have been one of the happiest times of my own life…
I had an amazing community of friends, I had given birth to my youngest son that previous year (a hard fought for pregnancy), and our little family of 6 was finally complete, I had a strong marriage, and I knew I was very loved. I had even lost all 35 pounds I’d gained since having babies! I was back in my highschool pants size (and once upon a time I was SURE that that was truly the key to happiness – right?! … yeah… we will save that one for another day). Really truly I had every single reason to be “happy”… but yet, I was not all happy.
The truth about mental health is that it is not always directly related to some current event in our lives. Sometimes it lays dormant and comes to life when you are doing just fine. Sometimes it isn’t the pain of right now but the internalized trauma of years ago…
I think this is one of the things that makes everything harder to talk about. When I have a beautiful home and a beautiful family and more friends than I can count, how can I possibly answer that question of “What’s wrong?”… quite frankly I couldn’t, I had no idea. There was nothing to point to, no problems in my life to blame, I knew that I had every reason not to feel depressed, so when I did, started to feel pretty clear, the answer to that question was: ME.
I am all wrong.
Man, I feel all the chills and all the tears when I put that to words because I can remember that feeling like it was yesterday. In my bones I feel the way it resonated like the truest thing I had ever know. I know exactly what it feels like to feel wrong. To be sure that I was the only thing in the equation of my life that was messed up… It was ME.
This was not the truth of course, but it felt more true than anything else. It became my answer, the thing that sat in my brain and held fast to my soul. It became a reason to withdraw, to pretend everything was fine, to avoid anything that might make me feel. It became everything in a lot of ways.
Now that I have been there, anytime someone I know someone is struggling there is something I want to tell them, and this is something I still have to come back to, and tell myself when I feel that feeling of “wrongness” creeping back in….  I want to say this to the me of then, to the me of now, and to each of you:
This is the truth:
You are good.
You are doing good things.
You aren’t all wrong.
You are enough.
The depression is a sickness, but it isn’t YOU.
YOU are beautiful and strong and able.
You WILL make it through.
It is not an easy journey, from the believing the wrongness to finding a way to believe the actual truth. It is a battle hard fought, and it took me years, and medical intervention, and therapy upon therapy. It took a WHOLE lot of work and I’m still working. But I can tell you this friend, it is WORTH IT. And on the other side of this darkness is more light than you can believe. There is hope, there is connection, there is love… and there is pride too actually. Because you will fight and you will win, and that is when you will know you are a WARRIOR.
But before you get there, you go through the night, and it is always darkest right before the dawn. So stay strong my friend. Stay strong.
*Please remember: if you are in trouble, and thinking about suicide, don’t wait, reach out. Here call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 or go to their website here.