A Personal Share – My battle with depression

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I need to call and make an appointment to get my car services. I keep forgetting to make a doctor’s appointment. I should have called the school to confirm my son’s story. Truth is, I can’t muster up the energy to do any of it. It feels hard. The simplest of task take more than I have to give.

Today, the depression is winning. For me, it’s a constant uphill battle. On days when I am the victor, I could run a marathon, take on Conor McGregor in the cage, or better yet, get some writing completed. (I am actually writing this the next day.) This day, the only thing I plan to accomplish is crawling into my bed and hiding.

For 20+ years, this has been my battle. I’ve been on antidepressants, gone to therapy, and been my own therapist. I have told myself over and over, I know how to fix me. We all know that is not true. That includes me on my worst days. Nothing can make me happy when I hit a low.

It does not help that on top of the depression I am a perfectionist. I can’t be seen falling apart. I don’t want others to see my B side. I paint on my smile, put on my best dress and say all the things that make people around me comfortable. I want to be the super woman that I portray. However, this day, I have reached, as my mother put it, my limit.

I was two hours into my workday when I could feel myself begin to break. I could no longer hide from the world that inside, I was a hot mess. And, as much as I don’t want to share, I realized I needed to. I could not hold the tears in. The nurse had a ten minute conversation with me and realized I needed a timeout. Five to ten days at home before I  bring myself to a point where I could hurt myself. Hearing that scared me.

The strong black woman is but a myth. The only way to be a strong black woman, or strong person, no matter gender or race, is to have a community of people backing you up and cheering you on. Going at it alone all these years has brought me to this point. I am truly understanding the phrase no person is an island.

We need relationships. We need one another. As an author, I need readers. As a help desk technician, I need people that don’t know how to fix their HP printer. As a mother, I need my kids. As a daughter, I need my mom.

When you encourages others on the path of transitioning from point A to B, it is important to remind them that they have to reach out to others. When building your community, don’t forget to add a business or career coach, a mentor, a fellow blogger (or which ever career field you are in), and a friend. And not just for accountability, but sometimes just to check in. You might just want to call them and say, hey, today was not a good day. Then ask them, how do you bounce back from a day like today?

When I was a weight loss counselor, I would help my clients to plan for a bad day. I would have them imagine worst case scenarios before they happened and plan how they would cope. Will they go to the gym and take it out on a spin cycle? If they did not plan ahead, they would find themselves at the bottom of a family size bag of BBQ potato chips.

It’s the same if it’s just a bad day. Who are you going to reach out to? Who is that person you can be vulnerable with? In our digital world, we need an offline, in-person friend. And, male of female, a good, long ugly-cry. However, don’t just open up to anyone. It has to be a person you truly trust.

For me, I know this will be a life-long battle. Suicide is a constant companion. I don’t look forward to that part, but I know it is my own war to fight. I need to reach out to my friend and I need my friend to reach out to me. I have to have my plan in place ahead of time for my worst day. I have to make sure I stay in tuned to my intuition. I have to keep my tribe strong so they keep me strong. And most importantly, I have to ask for help and be willing to share. To show my B side.

When you come from behind the screen, there is a real human on the other side. If you are the person someone is reaching out to, I ask that you don’t be judgmental, but be open. It takes a lot to ask for help. My son’s response when I came home was, “ah, mom.” You don’t want to make someone feel like being depressed is a bad thing. Show empathy.

And don’t forget to tell them, “You are so worth it!”

-Portia

 

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