When we created this blog we vowed to make it a place of honesty. Which is why I’ve decided to share with you a part of myself I’ve been hiding from well, most everyone in my life. My words are coming from a place of hope for myself and anyone reading who may need it.
Ever since I can remember I’ve been battling Persistent Depressive Disorder and General Anxiety Disorder. Although, I didn’t know them by those names until a year ago when I finally reached out for help. This may come as a surprise to many of my friends and people who have met me because it’s something I have fought very hard to hide. I become embarrassed and ashamed during episodes as I feel it contradicts the person I want to be or feel I truly am inside. So when it happens I do things like hide myself in a room, disappear from a social gathering, ignore texts, move to a new place or whatever I feel is necessary to keep people from seeing through to the “bad parts” of me. I’ve become overwhelmed with this idea that I HAVE to be the happy person people can rely on, not the depressed girl who needs to be cheered up all the time. So I have desperately tried to filter myself to only show the version I want people to know. But dammit, i’m exhausted and this is my white flag. I am going to try my best to share all parts of me from now on. I know it won’t be easy but here I am. It’s honesty hour folks.
I began taking medication 1 year ago which has helped some but what has truly aided my journey is coming to understand vulnerability – getting over my fears of losing people and opportunities because of “the way I really am”. I am slowly but surely opening myself up to people, new ideas, and new habits.
I owe this realization entirely to a young adult book called “Every Last Word“. After reading it, I knew I needed to find a therapist (if you read it you’ll understand). I had hunted for one before but every person I sat down with just didn’t feel right. They didn’t understand my feelings or goals. It kind of felt like a discouraging round of speed dating. That was until I found Hillary.
As much as I was hoping she’d hand over a magic potion that would strip away all the darkness, I knew it wasn’t reality. I have learned that i cannot be “fixed” per say. Depression isn’t a matter of refusing to look at the glass half full. It’s not something a person can simply outthink. It shows itself in many forms and can come for different reasons, like genetics, chemical imbalances, tragic events, ect. For me it’s felt like 15 years of a creepy villain dude appearing at his will, covering me with a 200 lb blanket, and taping my mouth shut. Meaning it’s nearly impossible some days to get out of bed, get words out of my mouth, or concentrate on the task at hand. Paired with anxiety, I’ve battled nightmares, panic attacks and extreme muscle tension. I literally wake up from sleep with swollen fingers from squeezing my hands into fists all night. Like what the heck is that about? Haha. Not cool hands! But in all seriousness, what Hillary has helped me understand is that the most damaging part of my condition turns out to be the part I CAN control. The self judgment. The self hatred. THE SHOULD-ING.
I’ve made it a habit to turn to these things when the creepy villain dude shows up. I begin should-ing all over myself. Attacking myself with thoughts like:
“I SHOULD be more productive”
“I SHOULD be more successful by now”
“I SHOULD look more like her”
“I SHOULD be happier”
“I SHOULD be a better friend”
“I SHOULD, I SHOULD, I SHOULD, I SHOULD”
I get so hung up on everything I’m NOT that I lock myself into the bad feelings, letting them consume me, taking me down to my darkest place surrounded by SHOULDS. And when I’m there, I do things I’m not proud of. I say things I don’t mean. I’m just really not nice to myself or considerate of the people around me. :(
So how the heck do I stop should-ing and what will happen if I do? Well… honestly I haven’t quite mastered it yet BUT I’m giving it my all and feeling optimistic.
I believe that if I can quiet down the “shoulds” I will have a clearer mind, allowing myself to use tools shared with me by my therapist to shorten the length of my episodes. Meaning I’ll spend more of my time loving myself, loving people and doing things I love. Just so much love guys! And that’s all I want! I want to help make the world a better place but before I can fully do that, I need to help myself. And that’s okay.
It will take practice, it will take time but I know I can get there. And I know I don’t have to do it alone.
So here I am humans of planet earth.
Just a girl with big big dreams, a lot of love to give and Persistent Depressive Disorder/GAD. I’m okay with it. And I’m going to learn to not let these things cripple me. I can be successful with them, because I am much more than my diagnosis. I am Madeline. The ups and downs, all of it. Take it or leave it.
Love you all. Thanks for listening.
P.S. for anyone reading this who faces similar struggles, you are so very loved. And as hard as it may be to hear, you are only as alone in it as you let yourself be. There are people with open arms just waiting to love you and help you. Let them help you. You deserve it.
You pull me in with your never ceasing brightness
Reach me with each breathless sound
You offer me freedom but you drown me in choices
You are a mystery but I understand you
Because through every bit of chaos you are predictable
Your billboard smile distracts from your sleepless eyes
Making tomorrow seem brighter and more hopeful than the last
but enough days in the city can wring anyone dry
I loved you New York but
But it was always goodbye
NEW YORK CITY, AN EX LOVE STORY 9.17.15
BLAZER: KATIE WALTMAN
“There is a saying that every nice piece of work needs the right person in the right place at the right time.”- Benoit Mandelbrot
When my plane to New York began landing, the young lady next to me burst into tears. She frantically looked out every window she could exclaiming “I can’t believe it. New York City. Wow.” I had never seen any one happy cry so hard before, I had to ask. After speaking with her I learned she received an opportunity to walk in fashion week. She had never been to the states before and NYC was a dream she never thought she would obtain. This was such a humbling experience for me. I smiled and looked out the windows with her with new eyes. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in my daily routines and write off blessings as normalcy. I am grateful for the lady in seat 34C for reminding me how special life is. We are blessed my friends.
I’m singing the songs as you’re strumming the chords
You’re shaking your thoughts as I’m speaking the words
We kneel down to the bed to say prayers from our heads
from our hearts
from our dreams
and you come to my mind as I come to your mind but we’re far
out of reach
out of touch
out of speech
there’s a love that I know that you know is unsaid
but the problem outweighs us, the land line is dead
the static between us is screaming for air
but the truth names us parallel
Forever in tune, forever aware
But faltered by fate, forever impaired
From the crossing of paths, intersection of truths
That’s just it,
two souls too obtuse,
for the sharing of lives
for the echoes of youth
too far to say yes
too close to call truce
our congenial lives will
linger inside until
I shoot down my deep pride
And accept the cold whispers
Of footseps will say
“Out of reach,
Out of touch,
Parallel we must stay.”
Here are 4 different lenses we’ve all looked through & can (hopefully) learn from:
I’M IN LOVE LENS:
You know that scene in 500 Days of Summer where Joseph Gordon-Levitt realizes he is completely in love and strangers sing and dance with him in the street? This is the “I’m In Love Lens”. These are the times you whip out the dance moves you usually reserve for red lights, sing the high notes you practice in the shower, and make friends with the lady ringing you up at Chic-Fil-A. I think we can all agree that those are the best days… and they aren’t random. It’s a lens you can look through every day if you want. I can’t promise a cartoon bird is going to land on your shoulder BUT there is truth to that goofy 500 Days of Summer scene. He left his house peering through a new lens. He saw happiness, good and love in everything because it was on his mind and he was looking for it. Look for love and joy and you will surely find it.
NOTHING NEW HERE LENS:
This lens usually falls into two categories, either “I Know It All” or “I’m Bored”. The “I Know It All” hits when you scroll through instagram while your mom is giving you heartfelt advice or when you’re working on a group project and you stop listening to everyone else’s ideas because you’ve already made up your mind. We’ve all done it, and it happens when we think we’re already experienced in that area or have heard all there is to hear. FALSE (read in Dwight from The Office’s voice). Have you ever heard the quote; “Never be the smartest man in the room.”? Thinking you know all there is to know will trap you in forever only knowing what you already know. THERE IS ALWAYS MORE TO LEARN. Approaching life with a ready for more, open mind will take you far (and probably make your mom happy).
Boredom is similar. If you tell yourself there is nothing new to do you are probably going to spend 5 more hours on your couch watching Netflix again. Snap out of it and take on a new perspective. Simply put, there is no such thing as a shortage of things to do or learn. Boredom is self-derived and quite frankly, a byproduct of laziness. The world is way too big and full of way too many interesting people to meet. We’ve just got to suck it up and get on our feet.
I’M GOING TO FAIL LENS:
Sadly we all know what this looks like. You feel unprepared for something and you tell yourself you can’t do it. You say “when it rains, it pours” and the downpour rolls in. Seriously, if you expect failure, failure will deliver and Hall & Oates will not play “You Make My Dreams” for you. And that’s too good of a song to miss out on. Drop that lens and trade it for the….
I’M GOING TO SUCCEED LENS:
You have tasted success before. Think of how you felt before and after. When you’ve gone into something confidently and nailed it, you glowed for hours, maybe days after. It felt GOOD. It gave you the confidence to keep going, to do even bigger and better things. People who look through the lens of success generally find it and if they don’t right away, they don’t give up. They are optimistic and even if they land in a different place than they were aiming for, they can find purpose in it.
I could list lenses forever but I think you get the point. Reality isn’t defined by what’s happening, it’s defined by what you’re looking for.