*These are my experiences and in no way a comparison to the day-to-day struggles others face when trying to manage their own mental health.*
Hi, my name is Shellymarie and I have Major Depressive order, and a case of high functioning depression. Sounds like an “anonymous” meeting doesn’t it? I struggled with how to open this blog, but that’s how it feels, like I have to hold myself accountable for the struggles of my brain. I have known about my MDD for just over two decades now, but because of the stigma being much thicker twenty years ago than it is now, it is only in recent years that I have come to terms with the way my brain works in its beautiful, but also rebellious, way.
It’s not for the faint of heart, at least that is what I tell people that open the dialog with me, but I am also no longer ashamed of it. I feel like I have been all over the place with my mental health, from being afraid of it, to being in your face about it, to mellowing out and trying to find a way to live with this affliction that sometimes feel like it is in charge of my life. I’m not going to lie, sometimes on Twitter I find people who struggle so much more than I feel I do, and for a moment I feel ashamed talking about my own dinged up mental health, but I do it anyway, because again, no two mental health issues are the same, yet they have the ability to co-mingle.
This last weekend I could feel the battle raging in my head, since last Thursday honestly. To look at me, no one would notice, unless asked how I was doing, to which I replied twice, “I don’t know”. This is far more honest than I used to be when I would just say, “I’m fine”, but part of me knows that in those “I’m fine” days, I really thought I was. I can’t really say though, because that is how my brain works, if I don’t write it down in the moment, it becomes a fleeting memory of just one more mental obstacle I have had to hurdle in my life, or one I just want to forget.
I think the “in your face” phase of my mental health was when I coming to terms with it and being open and honest about it, sometimes my filter would fail, and I would just say whatever came out of my mouth. It wasn’t to be rude to who I was conversing with at the time, it was because in my head there was this battle raging with acceptance and denial and acceptance knew it would have to win so I could get a handle on my mental health, but I am quite the resister. I would have made an excellent operative in the Rebel Alliance in George Lucas’s Star Wars Universe, or at least my brain would have, but before I left that particular phase I had to hit bottom so hard that I found I kept digging.
It was an ugly time in my life. Accurately enough, as I listen to music, ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ just started playing. I think that is the perfect description for that time in my not so distant past. Now ‘Crazy Train’ is playing. I can’t help but giggle. You see the theme here. I love all sorts of music, it is therapy for me, but this past weekend I flashed back to my teens and the fond memories of blasting my “bladdy loud music,” as my mom called it (Wtf is ‘Bladdy’?), and being told to turn it down. Most times my mom would come in and turn it down, because it would knock me out, but I realized a lot of times I would blast that music when my brain was spinning like a tilt-a-whirl on breakneck speed.
We didn’t talk about depression back then, in fact I didn’t have a proper understanding of it, I just always associated it with suicide, the two went hand in hand in my understanding of the mental disorder, but obviously I was wrong, and as time marched on, new variations of “mental illness”, a term I can’t stand, but an accurate term, have been discovered, and some people have found ways to manage it into “remission”. I think this term is also accurate because there is always that chance that it will poke its ginormous head over the hedge of one’s mental stability and yell “surprise!”. I am not sure I will ever reach that state of being, but today, during the “Live” The Aloha Perspective, I think I came to terms with that idea.
It really is going to have to be a day by day, moment by moment thing. It’s not that I choose to hang onto it, trust me, I think some people think a person with a dinged up mental health can just get over it, but it doesn’t work that way. High Functioning Depression to means that on my good days I have learned to handle it so well that I don’t realize I am falling apart, until I do. That’s when the darkness feels so real, even in a room filled with daylight.
I am learning though, I am learning how to not ignore these moments and to live through them, feel it, grow with it and so on, but the important thing is, is that I accept the fact that this is who I am, what I deal with and that I am still Me. I am still Shellymarie who has bad days, doozy days, topped with a large helping of good days, because I am no longer ashamed of the fact that this is something I have to handle, and handling it I am. It may not be easy every day, but I have equipped myself with the tools for those “not so fresh” days, and when they happen, I will deal with them the best that I can.
*If you struggle with mental health and need someone to talk to, please click on the ‘Help Sites’ link. A friend helped me compile a list of numbers, including numbers for the LGBTQ+ community. Someone to listen is just a phone call away*