Welcome to my digital writing journal, or mydigitalclutter. What started as a family blog almost two years ago has morphed into my writing therapy. This is where I do a lot of free writing, mostly about my life with my family and the things that catch my interest. While nowhere even close to perfect, in each post I like to see how my writing is changing with time and practice. Most posts are left unedited for this reason, so if you don't mind, take the journey with me.
Friday, June 11, 2010
I saw a sign on the side of the road once, an ad for depression awareness. It said, "You don't tell someone with diabetes to snap out of it." I can't tell you the number of times over my life I've heard this particular analogy, and sorry in advance to anyone it may offend, I hate it! Don't ask me why, but I do. It seems to equate my moodiness to a serious health condition. I've known people with diabetes, and it is a daily struggle to keep their bodies in sync. For some reason, I never saw depression as something similar. It has taken me years to get into a state of mind to accept that there may be some similarities, even if it isn't the impression the sign meant to evoke.
Let's be honest....we all deal with the blues, or a bout of depression once in a while. Some of us, me included, struggle on a daily basis with demons that others can't comprehend. I hit a breaking point a couple of years ago, scaring myself, my family, and most of all, my husband. I think for the first time in my life, I realized that what I was dealing with wasn't normal, and it was something that I needed help to "snap out of". I had my own journey of discovery, and many key players both medically, emotionally, helped me along the way. Here are some of my observations, though I don't credit to following my own advice very often:
1. You can prevent problems with your diabetes and depression with diet and exercise. It seems to be the standard answer these days, and I struggle with motivation to get up and go to the gym along with just about the entire human population, but I have to admit my days are better when I have taken the time to work on my body and mind. Of course, this realization isn't so clear at 5:30 am when my alarm goes off. If I eat better, I feel better. That said, I still don't eat lunch on a busy day and then, I'm out of synch with life.
2. It's embarrassing to feel as though I'm drowning. My normal isn't your normal, and it certainly isn't the normal for my neighbor. The fact is that there is a stigma attached to depression, and to some extent diabetes. I feel as though I have to hide all my emotions behind my front door and not ever let them out into the world. I have to keep up a brave front in order to disguise my weakness. Truth is, every time I've needed help, it's been there when I've been either brave enough to ask for it, or too far gone to see that my feelings are leaking into everyday life. What makes us so scared to ask for help? I know that I'm ready to be there for someone at the drop of a hat if they are emotionally or physically in need. Goodness, I spent a week at the hospital with my Mom, to offer what little emotional support I could. What makes me think she wouldn't do the same for me were the situation reversed?
3. Live a grateful life. I always feel better when I have a spirit of gratitude about me. Truth is, when the sky is dark, it is hard to be grateful for the sun. I'm never good at keeping a gratitude journal, and if I were, perhaps looking back on it during tough times, I would be keener at realizing what I have to be grateful for. Right now, the thing that makes me realize how much I have to be thankful for is when I listen to my children pray. That Nigel is thankful for his plastic army men pulls me back to home and I know that there is always something to be grateful for.
I have a plethora of other observations about myself. It's taken a long time to see them. Much like the time in college where a friend observed I always ordered lemonade to drink, and I suddenly realized that it was my favorite drink at the time, it took someone to point out to me that my blues weren't normal, and that was okay.