Breaking The Stigma On Depression
*Before reading this, I want you to remember that an open wound does heal.
As I expose my wounds, please understand that I am not looking for sympathy, judgment, or a reminder later on, but rather- an open understanding that vulnerability is a part of the process I am taking to heal. And I will heal. You will too.
As a child, pointing out your ooey gooey wounds meant kisses and Neosporin; at some point that changed into makeup over bruises.
At what point did we start feeling the need to cover our hurt? At what point did we start smiling through gritted teeth? When did the switch go off in our heads that crying was to be done silently in your car?
The more you hold your pain secret, the more you believe it's too dark and ugly to be seen. At some point, you'll explode (like I did at Taco Tuesday where word vomit splashed on the table and ran out crying, begging to go home.)
I've resisted talking or even acknowledging any issues that has or may arise in my life. I am incredibly guilty of overwhelming myself daily to distract my brain from the dark corners of my mind I've caught myself crawling to. I allow very little time to look at my wounds, creating never-ending checklists to fill my time. I overload my plate like a little kid at a buffet, all knowing I won't be able to finish it all without making myself sick.
A few months ago, while sitting in my kitchen, my numb disintegrated.
Everything is calm. He's drinking coffee. The cat is playing. The sun is shining through the kitchen window. Yet I feel like I'm drowning. I can't breathe. My eyes are swelling. My hand is suffocating the other. I can't sit still. And yet, he's drinking coffee and the cat is playing. A scene from a movie in which they're displaying peace, yet I'm drowning in my own damn body.
Depression and anxiety. The asshole of words that just like to watch you squirm and the culprit to how I've been able to water a large garden with my eye sockets.
How can the girl who wrote a book on anxiety ask for help on anxiety? So I've looked to myself. I've read my own book daily, like a broken record, numb, voiceless, and drowning.
That's because others' struggles are like the sun.
You want to look, you want to help, but it's just too bright and too much, so you cover your face.
We all do it, at least to some degree. What do you say? Even if you're relating, how do you tell them without their view of you changing? How do you react? So, you just don't. You wait for the sun to set, and you admire the beauty that they were able to overcome it, once it does.
This isn't necessarily your fault. We, as a society, have developed a false tick in our mind that everyone else is perfect, so we have to be too. Guys, I'm telling you I'm not perfect; I'm struggling. I'm being vulnerable. Yet, did you answer yes to being uncomfortable?
Why am I telling you this? Because this is common. Struggling is normal. My hell, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 40 million Americans over the age of 18 are affected by anxiety and/or depression. 40. Freakin'. Million. Yet we're all under this false impression that we're alone; that we're too much; that they won't understand. We all have had those days, weeks, months and hell, even years. And if you haven't, you will. Life isn't supposed to be rainbows every day. But it's also not supposed to be silencing on days where you can't find them. Vulnerability is an opportunity to grow. It's uncomfortable and awkward, but it shouldn't be.
I don't have the answers and I haven't solved my problems. I'm in between train wreck and proudly showing off my battle scars; I'm healing. I'm ignoring my fears of harsh judgement and criticism to be vulnerable in hopes of being relatable during my struggle, as I wish someone had done for me.
This; this is why I'm creating The Grow Through Vulnerability Challenge. It hasn't been easy writing this, but so much healing has come from it. Imagine having a community of vulnerable, real and raw people allowing you in without judgement. That's what we're starting here.
Consider it a little ibuprofen for the soul.
I challenge you to share some of your truths, fears, + experiences that normally go unshared. Raw, unfiltered, vulnerable truths. Make sure to tag me (@heatherraeblue) and hashtag #growthroughvulnerability so we can all be a part of this new little community. Who wants shallow connections anyway- let's have something real. Let's get to really know each other.
The ooey gooey wound will heal, but there's no need to hide it until it does.
So here's to healing. Here's to #breakingthesilence. Here's to staying home and binge watching How I Met Your Mother and seven other netflix series. Here's to being vulnerable on the internet.