It was National Mental Health Awareness Day on October 10th. I haven’t posted on The Happy Depressive in months. Occasionally, I upload a poem or two, but it’s inconsistent. I could lie to you and tell you I’ve just been busy, but authenticity–like the quote above–demands honesty and truth.
The real reasons I’ve been so aloof are because I haven’t felt inspired and my anxiety has been kicking my ass. You’d think I’d want to write about this when I’m down, that it’s important and necessary for me to show the darker sides of my mental illness. But because my anxiety has left me in a state of exhaustion, I sometimes find it impossible to come to my keyboard and give so much of myself when I’m near depletion.
A lot of energy’s been spent over these past few months. Summer ended and with that, so did my almost-3-year relationship with my now-ex. I’ve had growing pains for quite some time and made the heartfelt yet difficult decision to end things, because I just couldn’t invest any longer. I wasn’t sure about marriage. I didn’t know if I wanted kids. I tried convincing myself I wanted a home in suburbia with a white picket fence and the harder I tried to paint this image in my head, the more certain I became of how much I did not want this kind of life. In a way, I felt society and what I saw among friends pressured me into thinking I HAD to this lifestyle, but at what cost to my own truth? Would I find myself five years into a marriage and be happy or just complacent? Every time I asked myself this question, I would feel sick–not because I knew the answer was the latter, but because I was hurting someone else I cared about.
But sometimes, authenticity means being a little selfish. When we honor our own desires out of life, people tend to get their heart’s broken. We simply cannot make everyone happy. We do, however, have the power to create the kind of happiness we think we deserve.
Beyond the end of the relationship, everything else–from career to living situation to future plans to turning THIRTY–became a little turbulent. I ran into some metaphorical walls over the summer months and found myself at dead ends constantly asking what the f*ck I was doing. I grew antsy, impatient, overwhelmed by everything. I’d walk around with shoulders hunched up to my ears. Every morning, I’d sleep through my alarms dreading the work day and racking my brain for ways to stay motivated. Creatively, I was unsatisfied. Mentally, I was all over the board. Spiritually, I probably could’ve used some guidance. Physically, I honestly never looked better. The only thing holding me together was my workout routine of yoga, lifting, and running. Bless the endorphin gods, for real. When I look back on all of this, I know it’s because I was doing too much–teaching yoga, maintaining my own practice, taking on excess project work but then becoming overwhelmed that I’d miss deadlines or constantly asked for extensions. As soon as I’d get home, I’d plop myself into bed and have restless sleeps because I was so anxious.
The cycle repeated itself, unfortunately, until I had the courage to realize what I was doing to my body and my mind. Internally, I was screaming. Externally, I looked like I’d been run over, backed up into, and run over again multiplied by seven. Bags under eyes, wet hair from the shower, showing up to work late because I was exhausted. I needed to make changes and I needed to make them now. I made the decision to cut down on teaching yoga so I could focus on my salaried job for the time being. I changed up some medication. I learned to say “no” and mean it. I’m still getting the hang of things and trying to be mindful of how my energy is spent and where it goes to. That’s the thing with mental health, though. You can be on track doing so well for months and a switch flips that takes you back to square one.
Quite honestly, I’m done hiding behind the facade of being able to do it all, because I’m f*cking tired and that is not living authentically. So here is my truth for all of you:
I am not Superwoman. I cry and bleed and hurt just like everyone else, but I’m open about who I am and where I’m coming from. These last few months have been hellish, but I will continue to fight for this insane life because I know it’s worth it in the end. I refuse to live by anyone else’s standards, especially society’s. I’ve learned that staying quiet about what I want and what I need in life ultimately leads to unhappiness. Some of you will say I’m just being a rebel or you will call me selfish or I just haven’t met the right person yet and one day, this post will seem silly when I look back on it. I say it’s destructive to our well-being when we feel like we have to sacrifice things for the sake of whatever. That’s your opinion and we can agree to disagree because, once again, we all have the right to live our truths differently.
The other truth is, I have no idea what I’m doing. Career-wise, everything is exciting and I want to learn about everything, explore all the cities, meet all the people. But I cannot give you a definitive plan. That’s OK if you, too, are trying to figure it out. Don’t feel guilty about not having your sh*t together. Do show up, though. Show up and be real. Be open. Be honest about what you want, what you deserve, what sets your soul on fire. And don’t apologize for it. Stop saying “sorry” for your differences. Choose authenticity every single time. It means heartbreak and loss. It means closing doors and opening new ones for the sake of your happiness. It means listening to your gut, challenging the status quo, standing out in the crowd and proclaiming, “I AM ME.”