A Little Girl Heals – A Woman is Empowered
Sunday June 2, 2013 – Post to my supporters
One week ago today I presented one brief part of my journey through living with depression and anxiety at the Defeat Depression Walk. I raised over 600$ and my goal was 200$ in 10 days! Thank you all. That was amazing!
I can only comment now since that talk was only my second time speaking and in the past 2 weeks, to a group about my experience. I have hidden that part of me for a lifetime until recently. It was difficult and mentally exhausting. It took me the rest of the week to recuperate. I call it going in my alcove to re-energize like Seven of Nine on Deep Space Nine:)
This is the beginning of a new point in recovery for me.
I believe my recovery began May 6, 2009 at 6:12pm, upon the birth of my little boy who captured my heart and loved me for being his mommy. I felt love deeper than myself and everything changed.
I have struggled my whole life and thought I was displaced, that something was wrong with me, that I was just a bad person. I tried to commit suicide as a young teen because I cried every day and did not know what was wrong. I ended up in some bad, abusive relationships and did not know why. Even when I dated a nice guy, I turned it into a bad situation. So while I longed for happiness, a feeling of peace and love, I did not feel it and thought I would never feel it.
I created my education and professional life as the successful story to show and share. I never felt successful. I created activity, outdoor fieldtrips with my students and friends to maintain manageable endorphin levels to function through most days. I started drinking wine to calm my head down and sleep at night. I only started sleeping through the night before Christmas 2012. I learned to perform and hide, so my work side could come out and run through the motions and my underdeveloped sad, hurt, depressed, anxious, alone little girl stayed inside. When the little girl tried to get out, I got sick and I got sick a lot. So I often took time off to survive the episodes. I have been doing this over and over since I can remember and worked for 16 years as a Junior High French Immersion Teacher doing this. My doctor agreed that the physical activity kept me afloat without either of us knowing how deep the depression and anxiety really hid within my every cell. I was in denial since I thought if I had depression, I would be on the couch asleep, so I fought this image too and I powered through every day.
I got tired, so tired of it all especially as a new mom at 40. I wanted more happiness.
I could not handle my previous hyperactive schedule at work that allowed me to survive teaching all those years. I could not be a good mom with energy and happiness to enjoy the best thing that ever happened to me. I was not sleeping. I started to shut down physically, mentally emotionally. I thought I was dying, my hair fell out and my head hurt so badly with pressure and tension. I started to make little changes during stress leave that led to much bigger changes where I started my own fitness & nutrition business. I thought I was losing my mind, when I had actually hit the wall and took responsibility to make positive life decisions for me, my little boy and my husband. I could no longer repeat this cycle and have my little boy learn it. I could not live with passing this on. I had to break the chain.
I left work when I experienced a moment that scared me and haunted me with guilt and shame as everything seemed to be doing in my life. I remember throwing something across the room out of frustration and Ethan started to cry. He had done nothing but I was hit with the scariest thought of my life. IF I do not fix this thing going on with me, I will teach this sweet, innocent child negative reactions to life. That thought started a huge chain reaction to get better. I couldn’t tell anyone about it and I couldn’t continue it.
Thankfully, my husband is an honest, caring, logical and pro-active person who took the time to help me with all of my hidden shame. He made it safe for me to come out with the truth and even then it has taken us 4 years. I call this fast though since I was 30 years or more living in the dark. It has been and still is very much a family effort to keep me healthy. It is difficult on my husband and he needs support too to understand me and know that I love him even when I’m down.
I lead a life in the public and I can make a difference to people who live like I have. I perform often in a physical nature through my business, FarOut Fitness. Even in my junior high teaching career, I often organized wellness and fitness performances. It undoubtedly helped me with stress and any mental challenges we may have. It is the way that I could start healing inside. I left my teaching career to teach health and fitness and make a real difference in my community while creating a flexible healthy lifestyle for myself.
Most importantly, I struggled to find the balance I needed in my life and was ashamed to admit what I needed. I speak now to show others that depression and anxiety does not always look like the perception and that there are support systems to help with positive strategies, to meet the challenge with strength and know that sometimes, we need more support than others from family and friends to get through the day, week, month and years.
I speak up to help people change what they can, take responsibility to take action and empower themselves with their own decisions. Our happiness is worth it.
Here is my 2nd talk on Depression & Anxiety. It is still very difficult to show the little girl, but she grows strong with love and acceptance from herself and her family.