My Really Personal Personal Narrative

Today, I want to bring attention to an older post that I put out on the Undergraduate last April. Why? The subject matter is important and it means a lot and I promised personal narrative for you guys and this is it in SPADES. Actually, it’s probably my most personal personal narrative. 🙂
So take a look at this post first and then come on back!

Here’s an update as of December 30th:

I have been off medication now for about 2 months, but honestly I have felt better every single day since I figured out what was wrong. It is the eternal optimist in me but every day that I didn’t want to lounge in bed until 3 p.m. was a win…it was all about the little victories. So basically, things are wonderful and great!
I wanted to draw attention to this post again because I think the subject matter is important but also because it’s a big part of me, as a person. I’m guessing that others who have dealt with something similar – or gone through anything really – will understand my sentiment that struggle is a wonderful part of life and you learn so much and it all becomes some part of you but in the moment, it really sucks. We don’t schedule disasters onto our GCals, nor do we ever plan to deal with personal stuff more than we absolutely have to. Not a great practice, I think, but it’s just kind of a human thing we do.
It is always OK to feel “crazy” (not a great word but we use it) or off or not like ourselves. We need to own that feeling of madness and work to return to some kind of equilibrium. It is OK to talk to someone to help figure out how best to combat the off-ness, the anxiety, the bad breakup, the change in appetite, etc etc etc. And to anyone who is reading this…I really recommend going to get a checkup. It may not work out for you, it may not resonate, but it’s worth it. Think of it like taking a daily vitamin. You don’t take your daily vitamins just to combat illness. You do it to maintain a healthy lifestyle and supplement your wellness. I feel like therapy, even one session, is like a shit-ton of daily vitamins but for your brain. 🙂
My favorite thing about feeling better (I hesitate to use the word “normal” because it’s a word with a lot of cultural heaviness and I don’t love it) is that I have the ability to feel the full, unadulterated wave of human emotions again. With my depression and anxiety (of course it is so so different for everyone), I was afraid of being sad for prolonged periods of time. When I was sad it took me over and I was super tired and then when I was happy or joyful, it didn’t stick as long as it should and I was exhausted again. Now, I give sadness and happiness the weight they deserve without being scared of what could happen if I cry about a movie or laugh so hard my sides hurt (which happens even MORE now!) It’s amazing and everything and a luxury I didn’t appreciate until I went through all of this. Yep, I still have days where I feel a little groggy but they are just groggy days and nothing more than that. And that’s an incredible and beautiful thing. I feel like “myself” again, whatever that means. 🙂
One of my dear friends recently said that I always seemed happy, even when I was goin’ through it (he said that’s because joy is just kind of who I am) but now I seem more content too. To me, that is my mark of a good life: being sad and happy and angry and frustrated and feeling all of the emotions in the book but being permanently centered and grounded in our personhood and identity…an identity we feel absolutely safe and content in. I feel that way now more than ever.
I chose medication to help out but that is ABSOLUTELY a personal choice and not always the right one. I definitely didn’t choose it as a quick fix…it actually takes a while for meds to kick in and for you to notice any difference in your energy (it took mine maybe a month or two to really stabilize…you’re changin’ some serious body chemistry!). I chose meds as a supplement to other lifestyle practice changes.  I learned to be a bit more patient and I started walking every day, because exercise can be JUST as good or better than an antidepressant.
So my final note for you is that in this new year, I hope you take care of yourself before using your very valuable energy for anyone else. This is NOT SELFISH. I promise you. (I spent a lot of time thinking it was.)
It is just a really really good practice in living a life where self-care is a revolutionary act that gives you the ability to love fully, laugh harder, and feel empathy and care for others without hurting yourself beyond repair.
Hugs and kisses peace and blessings, all. xo.
Oh and feel free to share your own story with me at thewondergraduate@gmail.com. I’m a good reader/listener and you can be anonymous if you want!
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