My relationship with depression

I wait for it’s arrival and welcome it like an old friend. Some days I barely notice it while other days it wraps me so tightly in it’s arms that I don’t ever want to leave. I use it as my excuse to crawl back into bed when I should be heading out. We cry together, eat cake together, but rarely do we clean together… or cook together. No, depression prefers to sleep. Yet our visits never leave me feeling well rested.

But that was then. These days our relationship is changing. Sometimes we still lay together, or hold hands with each other. Each visit gets shorter and every goodbye gets easier. I expect I will still see it around from time to time… Share a silent nod and keep on walking.

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Little pieces of reassurance/motivation/hope/whatever you want to call it:

“Stop breaking promises to yourself”

“We loved him because you did”

“You never have to tell anyone how smart you are, they already know.”

“You never have to do today again”

“I am so proud of you”

“You’re already pedaling, just learn how to steer”

Sleepless Nights

I write the best on sleepless nights. When my mind reimagines the past and tries to create the future.

A new thought comes in with every toss and turn. A new old memory. A new imagined conversation.

I have found forgiveness through made up moments on these nights. I have found motivation through imagining new possibilities for myself too.

Sleepless nights surround every big change in my life. One causing the other but not always in the same arrangement.

I wrote this post on a sleepless night.

My Sense of Control

A little while ago, I had about a week and a half off from School and Work. While most people might look forward to a break, it was a difficult week and a half for me. I felt unbalanced and a little out of control. I made a short, generic list to remind myself of what helps and what doesn’t.

Things that make me feel out of control:

  • Disorganization/Mess in my home.
  • Irregular sleep schedules.
  • Improper meals.
  • Consuming too much sugar. (Leads me to binge eating)
  • Frequent naps.
  • No reason to leave home (ex. No work, school, social gatherings…)

Things that help me feel in control:

  • Clean, organized home.
  • Sensible eating habits.
  • Waking up around the same time each day.
  • Exercising with my dog.
  • Having a sense of achievement each day. (No matter how big or small)
  • Maintaining some form of a schedule.
  • Making lists. (Just like this one!)

A letter to my sister.

To my older sister,

Growing up with you I only saw our differences. I used to say, “If we weren’t sisters, we would never be friends.” Which is true, because we probably never would have met in the first place. I remember trying to force secrets out of you but your mouth was a vault. I remember your deep breathes as I did anything I could to annoy you in an attempt to get your attention. I remember us having different interests, talents and very different social groups.

Now that we are older, I realize our differences aren’t that big after all. They are my favorite parts of us. What I thought kept us apart turned out to bring us together. The truth is I am lucky to have a sister who is so different from me. I have somebody to show me different points of views and introduce me to new ideas. Somebody with enough patience to sit with me while I cry. Somebody I can trust with my secrets. Somebody I can laugh with (and we sure do laugh a lot). Somebody to be my biggest cheerleader when I didn’t even realize there was anything to cheer for.

If we weren’t sisters, we would never be friends. But damn am I ever lucky that we are.

Love,

Your little sister.

(BSFL)

The Outside Pressures

I originally wrote this short piece for a Sociology assignment. It turns out this assignment might have cause another defining moment, when I started living more for myself and less for other people…

*lightly edited to be less sociological and more blogable.*

Towards the end of 2016 I was let go from my position as an Insurance Advisor. This turned out to be a defining moment in my life. I decided not to return to my previous career and to look for a new alternative. I quickly learned that there are limited opportunities without some form of post-secondary education, ultimately leading to my decision to return to school.

Right away I applied to the Bachelor of Science in Nursing.  My rejection letter arrived quickly stating that I did not have the pre-requisites needed for this program. My high school diploma is from an American International School and my high school courses are not recognized here in Canada. I was forced to “upgrade” to attain a Canadian high school equivalent, despite already having the grades needed.

As my “upgrading” came to an end and I was looking to apply for programs I was faced with new concerns. I was more concerned with program length, the career title, and salary than ever before. Spending two years upgrading and dealing with other people’s assumptions had taken a toll on my self-esteem and self-worth. I was looking for a way to rebuild this and it came down to how impressive I thought others might find my new job title. As it is outside of Canadian society’s norms to be in school beyond your late teens and early twenties and I was concerned how being in school well into my late twenties would affect people’s view of me. I no longer looked at programs out of personal interest but instead based solely on how I thought it would affect other people’s opinion of me.

I realized through my internal battle of choosing a program that very few of our decisions are based solely on what we want; there are often outside influences that we may not even be aware of at the time. My initial decision to return to school was influenced by Canadian society today and the need for higher education in order to gain employment in most fields. My decision to choose a program was a fight between listening to my own preconceived ideas of what the outside world would think and what I wanted to do.

Tonight I began writing a post that briefly mentioned my sexual assault. As soon as I typed the first sentence concerning it I froze. I hit the delete button and stared blankly at my kitchen floor.

Sexual assault sadly is not a rare experience but it still gets brushed under the rug. I know there are so many men and women out there who are just as scared as I am to speak out. Scared because of all the responses I’ve already received from the people I was close to. Scared of the words that won’t be said to me but about me. Scared because I’ve already felt so much guilt for something I was a victim of. Scared because of the infamous question “why didn’t you report it?”… Scared because I didn’t expect one sentence to have such an affect on me.

I’m not ready to share the few details of my sexual assault that I can recall. I might not ever be and that’s okay. I’m writing this for myself. I hope that one day the memories of that night won’t have such a hold over me and maybe this is the first step in getting there.