The Depression Thaw Out

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Poster by Paul Price, Leeds College of Art & Design

Depression has so many faces and it lingers for no set amount of time. It may hit you for a few seconds, a few days, for some a few years. They say the human psyche is so fragile that the smallest change can alter it completely. So what happens when everything changes? When your entire base has come undone?

It’s been a year and 4 months since my life changed or since losing my father and then my grandmother only 3 weeks later. Every day after November 30, 2015 has been one long day. In this time, I’ve managed to quit 2 very promising yet overly stressful jobs making almost 70k a year and shooting up my career ladder faster than I could imagine. I quit my 23year love for smoking cigarettes. I gained about 25 pounds (which is a lot considering I was already a good 40lbs over weight to begin with). I got rid of my bachelorette pad and moved into a home with my pho-husband. I went from wild, independent, secure, 401-k having business woman- to an overly domesticated emotional mess.

Everyone who was affected by the November 30th, and the quickly following December 20th tragedies of 2015, handled things very differently. One thing that we ALL did though, was disappear just a little bit.

It’s like Jenga. Two of the most important pieces, the pieces that kept the Jenga puzzle whole, were removed and the whole thing just fell apart.

Jenga_distorted
Jenga

See any other pieces could have been taken and the puzzle still would’ve been intact. It would’ve been different, no doubt about that, but it still would’ve been intact. These two pieces however, were the base. Now all that is left is random pieces that look alike scattered across the floor with no idea how to get itself back together. Somethings just can’t be fixed or at least they can’t go back to the way they were.

This place or phase that I’m in, hopefully temporary, has sent me on the most disruptive of life journeys. I am no longer what my family made me. That me is gone. It fell across the floor like all the other Jenga pieces. It’s time for me to make my own puzzle. To form my own base. I have a good blue print and good leaders to follow. That doesn’t mean it makes any of it any easier. Without someone else to be your base, to tell you who you are and what you are good at and what your meant to be- you only have yourself to look to.

The problem with depression is that you get… frozen. The second you start to thaw out and start to make moves a huge ice boulder smacks you and BAM your frozen again. You fall 20 steps back and you have to find the courage all over again to believe in yourself, to move forward. The hardest part is doing it by yourself. It doesn’t matter who is in your corner- depression has a way of leaving you all by yourself even when you are surrounded. It feels easier to stay frozen and sad and without possibility then to fill yourself with hope again.

Depression will force you to see what is wrong. The trick is not getting stuck on the change or the despair of that “something wrong”. The trick is to see it, face it and then— this is the hard part—leave it behind you. Focusing on the change- on how everything is different- won’t pick you up. It won’t move you forward. You have to embrace the unknown and the insecurity and maybe for the first time- trust yourself and make yourself the base to your life’s Jenga. So that if any other piece of your life were to fall out—you would still stay intact.

My partner, my pho-husband, is a unique kind of man. I was confused by him a lot in the beginning and at times I still am. He is not the kind of man who is going to tell me who I am or what I am meant to be. He agrees and is excited to be a part of my puzzle but he is not going to tell me how to put it together or how to make him fit in it. He will not be my base. That is up to me.

It’s an impossible task, really, since we really have no idea what affect people have on us until they are gone. All I can think is to take time to ask myself if the decisions in my life are truly my own or has someone else been making them for me? Are my life choices making someone else happier than they are making me? They are questions you can never stop asking yourself if you truly want to keep your base solid.

I’m not quite there, but at least I can see the goal. As for the other scattered Jenga pieces in my life, I’m excited to see how see how they will restructure their puzzles and how I will fit in them.

Life is amazing—but never easy- but then again nothing amazing ever is.

Depressed? Know someone who is? Find toll-free help lines in my National & Local Resources

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