Why do I celebrate happy? Because I know the dark. I know its words and whispers and fetid breath. But I also know the light. Maybe I see it a little bit brighter because I know what it contrasts so sharply against.
So I share what I can back out into the world. For a smile. For a laugh. For a shift in thought that frees you from yourself…from the grips of darkness.
In the wake of two celebrity suicides this week and an increasing suicide rate in the US, it’s evident that this darkness is as prevalent as its lies.
The biggest lie darkness has told me (and it’s told me a lot of them) is YOU ARE ALONE YOU ARE ALONE YOU ARE COMPLETELY ALONE.
In actuality, I might be by myself in those moments of deceit, but I am not alone. YOU are not alone. You ARE NOT alone. You’re not alone.
I’ve only experienced darkness’ grips once in my life, not quite three years ago. Don’t get me wrong, it’s toyed with me many times over the years, but it’s only knocked me completely over once. When I made it up from my bed that day, I called my doctor. Got an appointment the next day. Got the mediation prescription. Filled it. But didn’t take it.
I had been on medication prior to getting pregnant with Miller. But I had to go off of it for the sake of family planning. Once I went off, I wanted so badly to stay off. I’d seen a lot of posts out there about #meditate don’t #medicate – posts that, even though well-meaning, left me feeling drenched in shame.
I did everything in my power to avoid going back on meds. I continued working out – hard workouts for good measure. I started journaling regularly. I started meditating. I got out in nature more. I hired a life coach. I did a few sessions with intuitives. I started writing outside of my journal. I started blogging. I joined a writing group and made an effort to see girlfriends more. I joined a dance class – something that once brought me great joy. I watched a lot of Oprah’s Super Soul Sessions.
One year after darkness bowled me over, Mark took Miller to Notre Dame for three nights, and I stayed home. Miller was 2.5 at the time. It was the first time since he’d been born that I slept in our house without him. It also felt like the first time I was able to actually take a full breath.
On the third afternoon, Mark and Miller arrived home. Within minutes – minutes – my chest tightened, my breathing shallowed, my tension spots flared. It’s no secret that being a stay at home mom hasn’t been easy for me. I knew that at the time, but my physical reaction to their return was surprising.
I sort of rose above myself in that instance – kind of like a hovering – and checked in. This is exactly where I want to be in my life. These are the people I want to be with. This is the house I want to live in. This is the town I want to live in. I’m doing exactly what I want to be doing.
With all of those truths in place, one year after having gone to my physician about depression and anxiety, I got up, got that bottle of prescription meds, and took a pill.
I knew in that moment that I’d done everything I could do, barring medication, to help myself. I’d analyzed every aspect of my life and was happy with all of my choices. There was nothing I’d have changed…except for the depression and anxiety that danced around me and within me 24/7. That was my cue. My cue that I’d done the work. I’d done the work, and still needed help.
For me, prescription meds help. I’ve been – unshamefully – back on them ever since.
My life is outstanding. Truly, I love my life. I’m proof that depression and anxiety can exist even when everything is great.
Some folks don’t understand how – how a person can be sad. How a person can consider taking their life, or actually take it for that matter. I understand. I get it. I get that monster called darkness that takes up residence wherever and whenever it chooses.
In a post by Glennon Doyle, she says that darkness is scarier, but we are stronger. I am stronger. I am.
And so are you.