I have posted this quote before, but today it resonates with me on a much deeper level. Over this year, actually the last 5 years, I have been stripped bare emotionally, financially, spiritually, socially, and most notably, mentally.
Depression has always been there for as long as I can remember; My first major depressive episode happened when I was around 9 years old. Around 12 or 13, the school psychologist recommended psychotherapy for me after I put my bully’s head through a locker; I blacked out and put the girl in the hospital. In 2003, I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder and prescribed Elavil, but was still very much in disbelief about it and completely ignorant of the nature of the condition. I didn’t want to be seen as crazy or unfit. Plus, I was saved by the blood of Jesus at the time. I naively thought that he would fix it. He didn’t. Later, I thought metaphysics and meditation would cure me. It hasn’t
Recently, I had a major breakdown from which I’m still reeling, if I were to be completely honest. My momma was so worried that she almost called 911. I didn’t realize I had spiraled so low… but before I knew it, I was contemplating suicide every day… The thought creeping in like a hissing snake seeking to seduce me and separate me from my soul. At the same time, an earthquake hit my personal life and razed the immediate area. Those relationships in closest proximity to the blast did not survive. That was the bottom. That was the trigger. I had to accept the truth; there is no cure, no magic pill that makes it all better forever.
That’s why I now have no other option but to make my mental health my priority. All the gifts I possess, all the light and powerful energy that people have come to know and expect from me are now being called back into my own service. I have no choice. I either battle or I let it consume me.
Someone I know once said, “Pain demands to be felt.” I can no longer ignore the reality of depression and mental illness in my life. It has been silently shaping my reality for far too long, causing me to choose soulless relationships that reflected my own sense of emptiness. That’s all done now. Friendship, I’ve learned, is like soul food. If it ain’t fixed with love, it ain’t fit to serve.
I’ve been broken open and all my soul is poured out like so many sacrifices. And you know what? It’s liberating. I have depression. Every day. It never goes away. There’s a sense of hope in knowing that for me. I can stop trying to move beyond it and just accept it. This knowledge gives me space to breathe and be, without performing. I’ve been trying to master my life while ignoring its most prominent factor. I can’t ignore it anymore.
So if you choose to love me as a friend or as a lover, know that you are choosing to love a woman who struggles to do the same, a woman whose mind and emotions can betray her at any give moment, a vulnerable but strong woman, a warrior. She struggles, not because she’s afraid, but because she knows that if she stops fighting to love herself, she will succumb to despair.
My depression doesn’t go away. It has its ebbs and flows but it is always there, like a splinter in my mind. I know that now, and I am beginning to feel empowered to rebuild my life’s infrastructure to support the weight of it. Like Solange said, “Fall in your ways, so you won’t crumble.” That means allowing love to have its way with me, even when it feels like surgery (Depression doesn’t like real love… it rubs). That means letting go of old ideas about what it is to be me. That means acknowledging the truth when I see, feel, and hear it from myself and others. That means coming out of hiding and letting myself be seen by those who see me. That means protecting myself from those who don’t.
Life is changing for me. I am entering the second half of my existence here. My body’s chemistry is changing. My children are all but grown. What lies before me is a vast unknown, a wilderness that I am set to once again traverse. I’ve crossed paths with the unknown many times, and each time, she delivers me to a greater understanding of myself and the Universe. Each time, I am reborn.
So, here I go. Baring my soul and pulling no punches.
What was, was. What is, is. What will be, will be.
I’ve been introduced to my Shadow Self.
What dreams may come…