I remember as a child being sad pretty frequently. I didn’t know why, I just felt unhappy. There was nothing particularly wrong with my life. Happy loving family, a nice house in the woods with a big yard to play in, a nice group of friends. All things which I was fortunate enough to have.
But mental illness doesn’t care how good you have it, how blessed you are. It will strip you of feeling life fully and enjoying the wonderful things already have.
You can count your blessings and “practice gratitude” all you want, but in my experience it is not going to fix anything.
I was diagnosed at 17. Bipolar disorder. Generalized anxiety. Depression. Sometimes still I think, “Why me? It’s not fair!” But I’ve come to learn that the universe doesn’t give a crap and that life is indeed unfair, and this must be accepted.
All I can do is fight.
Winter is the worst time of the year. I’ve managed my mental health very well the past few years. Things were at their worst when I was first diagnosed and began treatment. I’ve often thought, “I’m better now!”
Mental illness follows. It doesn’t just go away. There are lapses of good times, but then come the bad times, which I’ve found to be in winter. It makes sense, many people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder.
I thought I could escape it this year. I had this fantastic life altering plan.
If you’ve read my blog before you may have followed my adventures in the Caribbean. Part of why I went was because I didn’t want to suffer the cold, dark, depressing days that often come in the winter months.
It seemed like a great way to sort of restart my life. I quit my job, spent two months there learning, growing, experiencing, and contemplating. I’d come home to a fresh start. Find an awesome new job, focus on school, and start trying to get my life together.
Over there on that beautiful island, I still had bad days. I still had symptoms of depression. I learned that you really can’t escape your mental illness, you can only continually work on combating it.
I thought I would solve my problems by going away on what I considered a mental health retreat. I thought I would feel happy and refreshed. But returning home my reality has never been bleaker.
I felt unstoppable, brave, and free in Grenada. I had my own place, I had a moped, I formed some very nice friendships, and together we had many adventures. The ocean was always right there, so close to me. I even had a good routine going.
Though I felt depressed when I first got there, overwhelmed by all the change, I overcame it for the most part. I suppose I am dealing with the same thing. Once again overwhelmed and just trying to get readjusted to this life.
It’s been hard. Finding a job is more challenging than I expected, and the jobs I applied to that I really liked are not getting back to me. I find myself with so much time on my hands, yet so little inspiration or motivation. I find that I am lonely quite often because all my friends have day jobs, and school, and boyfriends.
Being alone for so long gets me thinking, well, overthinking…
Then it’s just a downward spiral from there.
I sit alone far too much, thinking about the things I miss that I had in Grenada. Longing to go back, but knowing life can’t all be a fun magical adventure. That simply isn’t reality.
Life isn’t all fun and games, but there is a time and place for fun and games.
I wanted something inspirational to come from this post, but it’s really just me venting. Explaining why I haven’t posted in over a month. But it’s also me deciding not to give up on blogging. It’s also me deciding I want to use my voice as a platform for mental health awareness. I want to educate and inspire. Connect with other people going through the same thing, or maybe even use it as a coping mechanism.
I need to tap into that fearlessness that I felt on my trip, that drive to do cool things and enjoy life, that mindset of perseverance that I came to adopt after going through some trials.
This confusing and depressing time for me is just another trial life has thrown at me. You know what, life? BRING IT ON.