With the explosion of social media in the past few years, there is a rampant trend that public figures are creating an appearance of a picture perfect life and their fans/followers are left with a false sense of what reality should be. This leads to feelings of constant disappointment, anxiety, depression, etc. It is easy to “fake” perfection in photos but impossible to know what an individual may be struggling with emotionally and/or mentally. Now more than ever, we all need to be talking about mental health and how it is a much bigger problem than society realizes.
I have been struggling a lot mentally feeling completely overwhelmed; with work, life, and everything in between. The effects of a harsh cold winter are really getting me down and filling me with constant anxiety. It wasn’t until my husband said to me one day, “you are depressed” and immediately I retorted “I am not!”. In my mind he was way off base because none of my tell tale signs of depression were present. But in all honesty, it slowly crept up on me over the past few months as the depression manifested in ways I never experienced before. I found myself often angry, irritable, short, annoyed, ill-tempered, etc. which is definitely not me in the slightest. Before I met my husband 7.5 years ago, I suffered from bouts of severe depression for most of my life and I knew those obvious cues (becoming severely recluse, crying, loss of appetite, social anxiety, etc). Since 2010, those bouts disappeared and I thought maybe I had finally beat it. Then in 2015, I got really sick as some of you know and the feelings of depression returned. Obviously it never truly went away but it lay dormant until life took some unexpected turns.
It is hard to put into words, but it is a daily struggle trying to do normal every day things. From getting dressed for work or always reaching for loose fitting yoga clothes, to not tidying up after myself at home…I do not feel like putting any effort into myself or do much of anything these days. Doing the simplest of tasks feels like being asked to climb the tallest mountain…utterly impossible. On my days off, I often wake up already feeling defeated and have zero motivation to do anything. If my husband asks me one more time to go downstairs to work out together, I think the overwhelming feeling of anxiety will eat me alive. My biggest struggle is keeping all these emotions inside and not letting it show on the outside to those around me. I too am guilty of “faking it”; a shield used to not let people in and a double edged sword. The one thing that keeps me going is knowing in time it will pass but I have to push through each day no matter how futile it may seem to do so.
The only way to overcome the overwhelming sense of darkness is to keep pushing through and leaning on those who love us the most. We have to look after ourselves and focus on the little things which result in small victories. Recently as you all know, I signed up for weekly sewing classes, something I have wanted to do forever but I always let anxiety and stress hold me back. It is hard to find the motivation to go to class each week but once I am there, I find myself in very a happy place. Hopefully once I learn more about sewing, it will become a bigger pass time to keep me busy doing another endeavor that I really enjoy.
In an effort to alleviate some of these paralyzing emotions, I focused on performing a massive closet clean out in hopes of re-homing lots of vintage pretties that simply do not get enough love these days. It was an eye opening exercise to say the least. I had quickly amassed a huge pile of clothes to list, realizing many of them had been a part of my collection for several years already. It felt so amazing to find new homes for the vast majority right away and I do intend to continue pulling items in the weeks to come. It is a truly rewarding form of therapy to declutter our lives and find peace with letting go of the things that we no longer need.
I am sharing my story in hopes to end the stigma surrounding mental health and bring awareness to those who find themselves wishing they had a picture perfect life like they see on social media. Instead of just stepping in front of the camera to “fake it”, now you can see the real person and the conflicts she is battling on the inside as well. Each step forward is one in the right direction to winning the battle of depression.
PS. I am sorry if this post was a bit all over the place, I tried my best to collect my thoughts in an organized manner but felt it was rather difficult to write while controlling all the mixed emotions.