Reflecting

I think Disney should make a film where the princess is cursed with depression. It would make for a compelling film and one that a lot of people, sadly, would be able to relate to.

I’ve suffered with depression for longer than I care to remember and the process of being ‘someone with depression’ is one that’s never ending. When you have good days the world seems like a beautiful place but when the bad days strike, suddenly everything seems bleak and you think nothing will ever be OK again.

Over the years I’ve become tuned-in to my depression and have the ability to realise when it’s about to strike again. And it’s trying its very best now. So, I do what I always do when depression strikes – I write about it. I try and tease every single last piece of the depression out onto paper so I can see that actually, what I’m feeling isn’t really all that disastrous and things CAN be done to make myself feel better.

This latest bout of depression seems to be stemming from a few notable events in my life recently, which, to some people may seem minuscule, but, to someone like me, can be incredibly tough.

I’ve been feeling rotten for nearly a week now with bouts of nausea and dizziness which has rendered me pretty much bed bound most days, only surfacing to get something to eat or go to the toilet. I’m beginning to think it’s an ear infection after my ears started to ache dully a few evenings ago. So, I think I’ll be off to the doctors tomorrow!

But those days and hours spent in bed have had more of an effect that I could have predicted. It has given me time (when I haven’t been sleeping) to really assess where I am in my life right now. And that’s always a scary place to be.

I’ve realised I’m actually quite unhappy at the moment and this has led to me feeling quite tearful and, on occasions, angry at myself. Why am I letting myself be in an unhappy place? I need to do whatever I can to change my life to make it happy again.

I have a lovely partner, a loving family, a close network of friends and a job that a lot of people could envy but it just doesn’t feel right at the moment. The balance in my life is just off.

Becoming an adult is never an easy transition for anyone and it can be increasingly harder to make the transition when you’re plagued with mental illness and self-doubt. I made such humongous steps in the past year to seek employment, find a partner and become more independent and it has been such an overwhelming change that it’s only now the dust is starting to settle and I’m finding aspects of the way my life is at the moment a struggle.

Take for example the commute to work – for some the chance to get work done, apply makeup, make important phone calls, catch up on TV or listen to music. However, for me, commutes are one of the worst parts of my day. A short journey of twenty five minutes into the local city turns into over an hour when walking time, waiting at the station time and walking on the other side time, is taken into account. It turns from a means of getting from A to B into an almost hellish experience that is something I never thought I would grow to dislike.

And even a small thing like this – a small part of my day – has hampered the enjoyment I feel in my day to day life. I grow to dread the days I wake up for work, wishing I could just skip down the road to a job and not have to worry about the cost and time taken up by commuting.

To some people this is just part of life – it’s a thing you just have to get on and deal with as an adult. I fully appreciate that. Life isn’t a non-stop happiness party full of sunshine and roses and smiles but I have to remember that I have the power to change the situation I am unhappy with. Only I can change the course of my life and, it is only a decision I can make.

I’m so lucky to be in a positon where I have parents happy to support me as I attempt to navigate my way through my early twenties and lucky enough to be in a position where I can keep working and searching to find my true happiness.

In an ideal world I’d live with my partner on a little farm in the middle of nowhere. He’d have a job doing everything in life that made him happy and I’d have a small independent bookshop in a local town and be a writer in my spare time. We’d eat our own home-grown food and spend evenings wrapped up in blankets, sitting under the stars and realising just how beautiful life could be.

stars

Yeah, in an ideal world.

Sadly, in this rather less idyllic world and realistic one, I need to find what I can do to make myself feel as happy as I would be living on that farm. Whether it’s getting a new job, taking time out to just ‘be’ and to really reflect on what I want from life, finding a new hobby, learning a new skill…anything! Anything that will give me the feeling of happiness.

I wish life came with a road-map; a set of instructions one could follow to achieve what one wants. When I was younger I used to imagine that as soon as I became 20 I would be married, living in my own home with an awesome job and an awesome little chocolate Labrador and be really damn happy. And it hasn’t worked out that way at all, mainly because little Laura was a bit optimistic.

But I feel like I’m still in limbo. I’m still in that phase where my childhood has ended but my ‘real’ adult life hasn’t started. I don’t feel like I’m achieving anything with my life because I haven’t reached that end goal of being ‘settled’. Life is so much harder now than it was when my parents were growing up – they married and bought their own house before they were 25. In fact, my mum had given birth to me by the age of 24. To imagine that I would be married and buying my own house before 25 is laughable – how can I even begin to do adult things like marry and buy a house when I don’t even have a full time job?!

I feel like a failure when I put things down like this – it makes me feel that I’m just never going to become the person I want to be, which, ultimately, is a happy one.

However, that’s the curse of depression. It makes you feel worthless and like a failure. It makes you compare yourself to others and feel completely demotivated about all aspects of life. It strips away even the smallest pieces of happiness you can find in each day and leaves a horrid sense of dread hanging over each day, as if it could just turn out to be worse than the last.

I don’t want to let it take over. I want to make it run away and hide for the rest of time! And the only way I can do that is by making choices that make me happy. By changing the parts of my life that make me unhappy and by using the life I have to achieve what I want.

And, who knows, maybe one day I will be sitting on a farm with the man I love, staring up at the stars and reflecting on the beauty of life. Because, if you’ve got a dream, you should never ever let it go to waste. Don’t let yourself or anyone else tell you that it’s unachievable. You can do whatever you want, you can achieve whatever you want and, most importantly, you have the power to decide who you want to be.

depression

Never let depression or anyone else steal the happiness from your life. Just because you’ve had a few bad days, it doesn’t mean there are more bad days to come. Change what makes you unhappy and you are one step closer to having the life you dream of. Be brave and have the courage to chase your dreams and don’t be afraid to knock down the people that stand in your way. It is your life. You have one chance to make it what you want it to be.

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