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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Letter To Myself About Depression

Dear Carissa...I know you are in there somewhere.  In the mist of the crazies of life, the day-to-day kayos, errands, chores and the endless to-do lists of things that must be accomplished...I know you are there.  That twenty-something person who was so independent, creative, courageous and strong.  Yes, you know her...the one that used to rock climb, write children's books and curriculum and take risks.  The one who didn't worry so much about life.  The one that wasn't overburdened by the weight of the world.  She's there...deep down...somewhere.

I want you to know that you are much too judgmental of yourself.  Your perfectionism is draining you.  It will be your greatest undoing.  You do not demand or expect perfection of anyone else...only yourself.  Truth...no one is perfect (not even you)...so STOP!  STOP IT! REALLY!  Stop setting impossible standards for yourself.  Remember to breathe, drop your shoulders, look people in the eye...heck just look up and smile more than you do now.  Except the fact that your house is never going to look like a magazine picture, the laundry is rarely going to be finished, and the bathrooms will not always be sparkly.  It's ok.  I give you permission to let baskets of dirty clothes sit in the laundry room, to not constantly wipe up sticky finger prints that mark the mirrors, and to leave some dishes in the sink yet to be done.  Life will continue. 

I get it.  I know you feel lost right now.  The world seems so mixed up and upside down.  You feel...dare I say it..."depressed" and it is difficult to accurately describe what it is that you are even depressed about.  And I know you...so I know that you feel ashamed that you are depressed.  Because you are supposed to be "perfect", and not have problems and look like you got it all together.  But the truth is you don't.  You feel that depression is a sign of weakness, or ungratefulness, or lack of faith.  It's taboo.  Talking about the "d" word with others is tough.  It's not a comfortable topic.  You wish they would hear you.  Really "hear" you.  You look around and feel trapped.  Wall surround you.  There are no easy answers or solutions or quick fixes.  You see the destination of where you want to go, but doubt if you will ever end up there. 

Sometimes you don't feel anything at all.  You stuff your emotions away deep inside.  If things are going badly, you are reminded to be thankful that you don't have it worse because others do.  And while you concur and recognize that fact, you feel invalidated that you aren't allowed to have any type of emotion because you are "blessed."  And I understand that your heart aches.  I see the frustration you feel.  I would just encourage you to "don't stop feeling."  Even if the feelings are sadness and hurt and dare I say the "d" word.  Because Carissa they are real.  What you feel is real, and valid and true.  You are the only one that can live your life...so have the courage to really live!  And part of life my dear is all the crazy emotions that go along with it.  And...I'll let you in on a little secret...those emotions don't make you weak or broken...they just make you human!

The voices you hear (and yes everyone has internal voices and dialog that bounce around in their brains)...the chatter around you...it's loud and distracting.  The voices that say you aren't good enough, you are a failure, you are nothing...they are never going to go away.  But...you have the power to STOP them.  To shut them up.  To be in control.  You have in in you to make choices for you!  And not choices to please anyone else.  Let the voices fade into the background.  Let them go!  Have the courage to follow you heart and your gut and anything else that is telling you something.  Listen to those feelings, because they are almost always right.  The decisions in your life that really matter...the ones that will be forever linked with you...you went against the crowd, and against what was popular and easy and YOU WERE RIGHT!  Because you trusted you.  You had faith.  You had courage to take a stand even if you stood by yourself.  And guess what? You have that same faith, and that same courage in you now!

Carissa...as Grandy would say "this too shall pass".  So today if you feel depressed, or tired, or weak, or sad...acknowledge the feeling, it's ok.  Your feelings do not define who you are.  You define who you are.  You won't feel this way forever.  You are processing and working it through.  Trust yourself.  Think outside the box, dare to live, laugh out loud, embrace you children,  love your husband.  You've wasted far too much time already worried about what others think.  You are able to think for yourself, and have confidence that you are capable and able to make the best decisions for you.  Love yourself a little or a whole lot because you are worthy of being loved.

Oh...and one more thing...raising kids is tough.  Raising typical developing kids is tough enough, but raising special needs kids is a whole other ball game.  Cut yourself some slack.  You do a very, very good job with your kids.  Remember...you can't ever be the "perfect" mother, it's not possible, so accept it and move on. You don't have a "manual" on how to do this and unfortunately you don't really have very many example of adoptive mom's raising special needs kids.  So you do the very best you can.  Accept the fact that sometime you are going to screw up, and keep walking forward.  Trust the process.  Love more, let more things go.   Remember... the days are long , but the years are short, and you will NEVER, NEVER, EVER get MORE TIME.  You have your allotment of time and that's it.  Make good use of it.  Slow down and watch, look and listen. There is wisdom in the depths of your children.  There is magic in childhood.  There will come a day he won't ask you to play cards anymore, you will be the one asking.  There will come a day where she won't stick play-doh in little glass flower vases, and then the day will come where there won't be any play doh at all.   There will come a day where there will not be any pretend dance shows...so remember that fact when you think about saying "not right now."  Instead say "YES".  You won't ever regret saying "YES".  Yes to them, yes to him, yes to life.

*I wrote this letter to myself as part of my assignment in therapy.  I've been in weekly therapy for several months to learn how to recognize and respond to anxiety and depression.  This one was difficult for me to share as there is a vulnerability to it.  But I really wanted to address that depression is real, should be talked about more and can happen to anyone. 

1 comment:

Mary said...

Thank you Carissa for being so brave to be vulnerable!! I admire you so very much!! You are an amazing woman, wife, mother and friend!! Full of gifts to be given to all who know you but most of all to be given to yourself!!

I love you��
Auntie Mary

See you soon!!

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