i’ll just come right out and say it: i’ve been battling depression since 2009.
and i’ve had higher than normal levels of anxiety all my life.
yes, my life is great most of the time. and it looks even better than that online! but living with depression and anxiety is unfortunately–and undeniably–a huge part of my journey. so, i started to feel dishonest and even a bit slimy at hiding it so well.
the truth is, i am more organized and productive and ambitious and mindful and creative than a lot of people i know. at the same time though, i’m often a nervous wreck and a puddle of tears that breaks down at the mere thought of deciding what to have for breakfast or what shoes match this dress.
and planning my wedding!? FUGGEDABOUTIT!
so, my friends, it’s time you got the whole package! here is the first installment of a new series on this blog: self-care sundays.
today’s lesson: it’s okay to cry, even at the beach.
i recently interviewed for a teaching job i REALLY wanted. i made it to the final round, and even my grad school mentor had “a good feeling about this one.”
but alas. not two hours had passed since my interview when the department chair called to let me know the president had unfortunately decided to “go in a different direction.” my husband listened to my side of the conversation with bated breath until he heard me say, “i appreciate the kind words, and i hope we get to work together in the future.”
what i really wanted to say was, “DAMN, gina! i haven’t even changed out of my ann taylor outfit yet!” i felt awful and stupid because my hopes were high.
the beach was supposed to be a fun distraction.
my husband had taken the afternoon off to take me to the beach so we could celebrate being done with the interview process and take my mind off of it while the committee deliberated. little did we know when we planned this outing that the committee would need virtually no time to decide they could do way better than me. i couldn’t bare to look at my husband.
EVERYTHING is harder with depression.
it’s REALLY difficult for someone battling depression to get excited about ANYTHING. and to pull yourself together enough to impress a hiring committee through a grueling interview process is quite a feat on its own let alone with depression.
but when your default state of mind is to feel like an utter waste of carbon, a blow like this is even harder to take.
so, i refused to meet my husband’s eye. i knew that if i did i would cry. and if i cried i would crawl into bed. and if i crawled into bed, i’d be in there all day, and it was still early in the afternoon.
i took advantage of the shock (or denial?) i was still in and went through the motions of getting ready for the beach. i rushed into my bedroom, threw off my blazer, and wiggled out of my blouse and slacks. i rummaged through drawers to find a swim suit top and bottom that matched, and pulled them on along with a cotton dress. i stepped into flip-flops and headed for the door.
i cried a little in the car. silent, hopeless tears as i stared out my window to avoid eye contact. we talked about it a little bit and i recovered enough to order some food to-go at lemonade to take with us down to the sand. we applied sunscreen, ate lunch, watched some teenage girls practice choreography as their boyfriends made fun of them, and then i cried a little more.
what’s my point? first, it’s okay to cry.
if you’re fighting severe anxiety or depression, you may cry for days on end. i’ve even called in sick to work because i can’t stop crying! that’s how bad it gets.
at the same time though, i hate holing up in our tiny apartment. even though an entire army couldn’t drag me out some days, i usually feel better when i get out.
so, my second point is to say screw it and do your crying at the beach. while at the beach with my husband, i still felt pretty sorry for myself for most of the time. but i also felt flickers of distraction and, dare i say, hope.
at the very least, i got to dig my feet into the warm sand.
i’d love to hear from you, especially after telling a story like this! have you experienced any setbacks lately? and what helps you feel better? let me know in the comments below!