My Daily Battle With Depression
Never Alone Stories
This cheerleader has major demons:
I’ve been fighting these monsters for about 120-180 days a year for the last thirty years. In other words, I’ve been cycling through depression and hypomania since I was 15 years old. When I’m up, I’m fearless, unstoppable and ready to fight- I’m cheer captain, and NOTHING will break my spirit.
"When I'm down, I'm shivering with fright, cowering in the face of self-doubt, insecurity and hesitation.."
I do work on getting better. I’m continually researching and trying out new modes of dragging myself out of the darkness. But it’s a lot of work piled on top of the basics of waking up and facing the normal pressures of day-to-day.
Getting up to face the day is a struggle when you’re mentally unwell. Sometimes it appears as laziness to those unaware of depressive symptoms, but to me, it’s submerged underwater without the ability to swim.
I try to change how I feel about myself despite the dips into irrational thought and sadness. Each year I have learned a bit more about how to combat this mental affliction. I’ve accepted that I’m wired differently, and with this understanding, I’m a little less cruel to myself.
It’s a lot of work re-wiring a structure which short-circuits.
In this dysfunction, my thoughts are conditioned to be defeatist, and the voices in my head tell me I’m not good enough. Despite this knowledge and understanding, it’s an internal war with myself at least 3 – 6 months out of the year. I’ve come close to surrendering and ending it more than once.
Even though it's viewed as cowardice when every day starts with thoughts of "what's the point of living," and "it'd be easier if I was gone," these thoughts become perceived reality.
I try not to talk about my depression because I’m a cheer captain; I work to build people up, unearth potential and light up a room with positivity. That’s my brand, and people rely on me to bring fun, laughter and excitement.
Over the years, I’ve discovered I’m the person who bolsters others to make them feel good. As such, when I’m unhappy, I retreat like a sick animal. I don’t want my humans to see me suffer. I’d rather hide because I don’t want to see them sad due to my pain.
This past weekend, I was inconsolable. I wanted to stay in bed and cry until I passed out, but then I saw a message flash on my phone, confirming whether I’d be in class later. Typically I would resign to my sadness and excuse myself. Yet, this time around, I was able to talk myself into showing up.
The people I’d be seeing love me – we brighten each other’s day.
"I cried the whole 45 minutes drive there, burst into tears intermittently throughout the class, weeping in front of my people afterwards."
The lesson here was I got through it – I didn’t want my sadness to disconnect me from who I love. That was a huge win, and wins, no matter how big or small, are wins nonetheless.
Despite being in a current depressive state, as with many in the world- thank you, global pandemic – I know this episode shall pass.
And knowing is half the battle.
The other part is realizing that you’re never alone , and there is hope that others’ cheer could help.