Happy 22nd Birthday to my younger sister! This post is actually published two days after her birthday, which we celebrated with her friends at a Belgian beer café last weekend and celebrated with family tonight. My sister is a very rare type of person. Besides being so gorgeous that she literally gets complimented everywhere we go and compared to movie stars from Mila Kunis to one of the girls on Pretty Little Liars, she’s also incredibly intelligent, a fiercely loyal friend, and an amazingly talented writer. She’s undoubtedly been one of my biggest supporters and I love her more than anything.
Despite the fun I had at my sister’s birthday party this past weekend, which was actually the second of three birthdays I celebrated in the span of two days, I still feel the heaviness of depression that I really haven’t wanted to admit to on the blog. I often feel torn between wanting to reach out for help and then wanting to clam up because the people around me are doing one of two things: either making me “justify” my depression (i.e. “What do you have to be so upset about?”) or friends/family who try to “one-up” me by saying, “Oh yeah that sounds bad but look at what I’m going through…”
The frustrating thing is that I know my biggest problem right now is myself!!
I wish I could show up at my computer and tell you all great stories of what it’s like being on the other side of depression (preferably far, far away from it). In fact there were many times earlier this year that I was actually in a position to do that. My eating disorder was under control, I was on medications that made me feel stable, and I was still doing a lot of therapy that was helping me build an identity outside of my “patient persona.” But things happen. You graduate from college, your boyfriend leaves you, you move out of state to go back home, and you try to pick up the pieces and move on with your life.
The question remains: Why is it that happiness and emotional stability are hard to come by even when we have so much going for us? What is missing from our otherwise “perfect” lives that keeps us unhappy? What is preventing so many people like myself from loving themselves and creating a life that doesn’t include depression? This is what my new “Missing Link” Series is about.
I don’t know how long of a series this will be, but for my own sanity, I have to come up with some answers here. My life literally depends on it. Although October through December are the hardest months for me, I’m determined to not let them go to waste. I won’t even say that my main goal is to keep out of treatment centers because I might need them again, and that is OKAY. That was actually quite difficult for me to say out loud, but sometimes admitting that you need (or might need) more help is the best thing you can do for yourself.
Sometimes looking back at where you have been can actually help you decide where you want to go. In honor of this concept, I thought I’d take a trip down memory lane and revisit some of the better times of this year that I documented on the blog (including my favorite posts as well as most popular ones)….
Finishing My Last Day of My Last Treatment Program: This was one of the happiest days of my year as I had my “Goodbye Ceremony” at my Day Treatment program. It was my last day of any official treatment and I had successfully completed the step-down portion from residential. After my year of medical leave, I was so proud of myself for getting back to a healthy place, both in my body and mind and being ready to go back and finish college.
From Fear to Fighting: Learning to make my own rules in this “shitty and awesome world.” How shifting my perspective helped me stay in recovery and start to find happiness despite the harder times. This is my most viewed post to date!
Finishing My Senior Thesis: One of my biggest accomplishments for the year (and of my academic career thus far). After a year of medical leave, I was finally able to finish it and it was a HUGE weight off my shoulders. It meant I could graduate!
Adopting the Love of My Life: The day I met and adopted Angelina!! Angie has been the bright spot in the darker parts of this year and as she lays next to me while I type this, I can’t but feel overwhelmed with gratitude that she and I found each other. She is an amazing dog and such a loyal friend to me. I can’t get enough of her and I hope she and I will have many more adventures together as the years go by! (By the way, she saw snow for the first time today and SHE LOVED IT!!)
Every New Beginning: The day I graduated from college! Certainly a huge milestone for anyone to celebrate but for me it meant a lot more than passing my classes. It was a celebration and a symbol of keeping myself alive long enough (and being healthy enough) to go back to school, live alone, take care of a dog and myself, and finish my degree.
The birth of my Godson: I have been eagerly waiting for the day I could announce that my cousin and his wife made my sister and I godmothers to their son, Isaiah! I can’t wait to share with you the process of a Greek Orthodox baptism when it happens next month as well as my new role as godmother
Meeting Kris Carr at an Omega Institute Event: Attending this conference was my post-thesis present to myself. I was honored to hear the amazing Brené Brown speak and after hearing her, got up the courage to go introduce myself to Kris Carr. Very exciting stuff!!
I find it helpful to remind myself that even if the current moment isn’t how I want it to be, it doesn’t mean that a) I am completely powerless over the situation and b) things will be this way forever. My life may have changed a lot over the past ten months but maybe that’s not such a bad thing. Sometimes it’s the unexpected shifts that bring with them unexpected gifts.