Celebrating My Independence

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I have a lot to celebrate this July 4th.

I realized last week just how depressed I've been over the last several years. And now much better I am feeling now.

It is so hard to really see depression when you are in it--it just becomes a reality. I knew that I was sad, I knew that things were really different in me and I had changed a lot, but those things were my normal.

I stopped performing.
I stopped hanging out with my friends.
I stopped thinking there was anything to ever look forward to.
I stopped thinking that I was worth anything.

All I was seeing was disease, death, illness, disappointment, and I thought that even when things are going well on the surface they are actually falling apart and miserable so there was no reason to ever get excited.

I am happy to say that I no longer feel this way. And I can look back and see how bad things were.

It's been a process. Therapy has been tremendous help for me, as has been acupuncture and now exercise. I LIKE to feel good, and exercise is giving me that feeling of pushing myself and achieving things I never thought possible. Therapy has given me a place to say the things I've been scared to say and a way to look at myself and things and really PROCESS everything that has happened and is happening in my life. Acupuncture has gotten to a deeper part in my mind and body that I am not always able to reach.

There have also been a number of things that have happened of late that have contributed to this lift in mood--certainly moving mom into her apartment has been a huge factor in that she is able to truly rebuild her life now, and the talks that we had about our relationship and my life have helped too--I feel so much less burdened now that I am not dealing with a crisis 5 times a day. I am happy that she is happy and I am able to focus on my life instead of someone else's. I hope she continues to heal and to thrive, but if something happens and she takes another turn, I can't fall in after her--I have to keep my life going and keep my distance; it's the only way to keep my life going, and I can only hope that that is what Mom and Dad would want--for me to have my own life that makes me happy.

That's just it. My life is my life now. I am not living for anyone else. I am not making decisions for anyone else. I am not responsible for anyone else. Just me. I can't make anyone else happy. I can make myself happy. And I have every right to be happy. That is exactly what I am doing now, and it feels GOOD. I can just be me and spend time with my husband and not care what anyone else wants me to do or thinks I should be doing. This is my time, dammit.

My therapist asked me yesterday if, being out of my depression, I am feeling more like I used to feel, or if this is an all new thing for me. I thought about it, and determined that this is brand new. The first time I've felt this way. In school I was always so stressed. When I moved to Chicago, I had some mental wellness issues that took a while to conquer (and hell, I might never have gotten over), plus I was going out a lot, looking for love, working my ass off for shows and to pay the bills. It was fun, but pretty reckless. Plus, I was still a kid! Flying home a lot, depending on my parents, not knowing what it was truly like to be an adult. When Dad's cancer was diagnosed, I was 25, and that caused me to grow up fast, but also was the start of the depression. Now, I am 31, madly in love and in a wonderful marriage to an utterly incredible man who is my best friend in the whole world, have a great job, amazing friends, and am able to stand on my own two feet. I can make my own decisions, I don't have to answer to anyone. It is a new sensation, and I like it. No, I love it. I keep going back to that phrase--I am an adult--a lot lately, and it means a lot to me.

I can honestly say I've never felt better.

I've been finding my happiness creeping back in. I've been smiling a LOT lately, sometimes for no reason at all. I've not felt completely inadequate in conversations with people I don't know. I've been listening to myself and expressing my opinions without feeling the need to justify or apologize for it. Listening to myself and following my heart and doing what I feel inclined to do, and not doing things out of obligation. Listening to myself and what I need. And last week, finally seeing just how badly things have been, and celebrating how good things are now.

So this Independence Day, I am celebrating my freedom from depression. I am better than ever. I know how blessed I am. It's taken a long time and some shitty things to get here, but I know that God was watching out for me, and I am so grateful to Him for leading me to enlightenment. I don't know where the road is going to lead me next, but I'm excited to find out. It is true that everything in your life makes you stronger and makes you more be the person that you were meant to be.

I know now that I AM worth something.
I DO have a lot to offer the world.
I AM special.

This July 4th, I hope that each of you are able to celebrate your Independence from something that's been holding you back as well.


1 Comment

This post pleases me.

Happy Independence day indeed!