Too often, like, since I can remember, I struggle comparing myself to other.
I haven’t been writing a lot recently because I’ve been reading a lot and it seems like so many others write it better, so it’s easier to just re-share their words, while I put mine away silently into a box. They’re not good enough, you see.
But Robin Williams committed suicide and people that I highly respect, admire, and appreciate started talking about depression. They retold their stories and shared resources. They started the conversation about depression again.
You are not alone. Depression Lies. There is Help. There is Hope. There is light. This too shall pass. You are loved. The suicide hotline saved my life, and they can save yours too.
I am really really upset about Robin Williams, not in the typical celebrity death sort of way (I can write a whole other post about my thoughts on celebrity deaths– but that is not for today) but in the “Someone who thousands, maybe even millions, of people think was amazing, funny, talented, kind, and <insert positive feedback here> committed suicide, after long bouts of depression– and I don’t think he even knew how important/amazing/special he was.”
So I started talking. I started posting, sharing, and I saw my therapist. The conversation largely centered around my tanked self esteem. How low of an opinion I had of myself.
This next bit is a lengthy, and detailed description of my life for the last 15 years, and if you’re not interested and want to just read about my lack of self confidence, scroll down past the picture of the cat.
I guess that’s not really new, or unique, but somewhere in high school I gained a wealth of confidence that led me into college. I still had times I was nervous, unsure, but overall I was a fucking bad ass, just ask me. I ditched a crap relationship with a passive aggressive-clingy-emotional vampire and explored new relationships. Played with makeup, tried no makeup Laurel, and experimented with the two months where I decided that bras were overrated (my poor mastodonic boobs just couldn’t beat gravity). I cut and dyed my own hair. My nickname by a coworker was “Pinky” because it was my favorite default color. I wasn’t concerned about my weight. I pierced my eyebrow because it was too expensive to pierce my ears and the piercing guy was SO HOT. I took a surfing class to meet my Physical Exercise college requirement and went once. I got an “A” anyway. My bipolar disorder had not been treated, or diagnosed, nor had my depression and anxiety even been addressed. My emotions ran rampant as did my energy levels. I took a full load of classes, worked at least one job and sometimes two, and would stay up all night at times, creating, being with friends, living my life. I’d sleep all the time other days. My emotional ups were far fewer than my lows but I didn’t realize that wasn’t normal.
I graduated. I taught elementary school for a few years. I got horribly injured, had to have surgery and then
As the years went on, I got treatment for anxiety and depression. I moved through jobs and graduate school. I had a breakdown in grad school, and found the wrong medication. I got help and found the right medication. I had to ask for a lot of people for a lot of help. It was utterly embarrassing. I had to defer some classes which meant I had to retake them if the professors agreed to let me finish the work later. I quite some of my 5 jobs and I reduced my class load. I found my dream job teaching people to use computers at Apple in my last year of school and transitioned into a world of being an Apple, inc fangirl professionally. I couldn’t finish school. Partially because it would cost me an additional 10k and an entire year, and partially because I didn’t have the confidence anymore. I didn’t know if I wanted to teach English. I didn’t know what my position on the best strategies to teach English to non native speakers was. I didn’t feel like I could write an entire position paper (read: dissertation) on it, much less defend it. I was in a serious relationship and was in the process of preparing to move across country. Not finishing was the right choice. An embarrassing -I feel like I’ve given up – choice, but a huge relief. It was the right one. I flourished at Apple. I was so, so, so, in my element.
I married and moved far away from the places and people I loved the most. Depression kicked in in the first year of our Georgia stay. I got a job at the local Apple store, but it wasn’t the right job for me and there wasn’t room for me to move into the position I needed, despite what I was led to believe upon my accepting the retail job. I worked part time in retail, which I was terrible at, so I couldn’t be promoted to the job I *was* good at, because I wasn’t good at the job I had. There was a vicious cycle there. I got more and more frustrated with being in a place I hated, with a job I only got negative feedback from. I cried a lot. I was angry a lot. And then the second year I was pregnant. I stopped working just when my pregnancy complications increased, and then I had a baby. It was an amazing and crazy journey at the same time. Equally full of anxiety and joy, followed closely by sleeplessness and postpartum depression. During the third year I was diagnosed bipolar. Meds started to change and life got a bit better. Then we moved to Korea, which wasn’t part of the plan. Korea was an adventure. At first it was amazing, and then quickly, very quickly became not at all amazing. Depression set in the first year. (Pattern much?) We are just now moving through the second year, and hopefully finding out soon where we go next. ]
I just spent the last 45 minutes trying to find an old post to link to, and then ended up finding several old journals online I forgot about – and then some posts which ended up being triggers for my anxiety and depression that I didn’t realize. So I stopped reading them. However, now I’m not in the same space mentally…
This post was headed on detailing why my self confidence is so low… and the real answer is “I don’t know” and “It’s a lot of small things over the last half of my life that led to it” and “depression lies”
So I’m trying to challenge the lies my brain tells me.
I looked up this website which I had been meaning to: To Write Love on Her Arms and they had the best graphic… it was a post it note on a school locker with the word HOPE as an acronym…
—– This is incredibly, incredibly powerful and simple. I love it. I’m feeling kind of on the wire now, a lot of my research is bringing up triggers. (Trying to find a good definition of what I mean by “trigger” in this case but basically “Shit that makes your brain issues worse” is a good summation). Today was a good day. Today I have hope. I know that I am not replaceable.