About a month ago, I found myself in a bit of funk. Things weren’t necessarily going badly but emotionally, I wasn’t feeling great. Instead of doing what I normally do, I threw myself into fun experiences. I spent money on a few projects in the crib and went on a few spontaneous dates. I thought if I kept myself busy, I wouldn’t have time to be alone with my thoughts. However, the more preoccupied I was, the more jumbled my mind became.
One thing I’ve always maintained is that I don’t like to be a burden to people. When I start to feel this way, it’s just easier to keep things to myself. I wrote about this a few days ago on Medium – which to my surprise, a lot of people can relate to.
Two weeks ago, after a date, I spent the night over the young lady’s house. Before this, we hadn’t talked for maybe a week. So after settling on the couch to watch Netflix, she flat out asked what my deal was. I didn’t know how to coherently say what was going on in my head because I didn’t fully understand most of the time. More importantly though, I didn’t want to be judged. I didn’t want to be analyzed. I didn’t want her to think differently about me.
Society has become more comfortable talking about depression. We have open dialogue and healthy forums dedicated to people sharing their experiences. But when it comes to actually disclosing it between two people in private spaces, that’s an entirely different beast.
What a lot of people don’t understand is that depression, anxiety, and mental illnesses that aren’t on the severe end of the spectrum don’t all look the same. I think people associate sadness and withdrawals and have a general picture of what it looks like. So they’re prepared to respond to those exclusive signs. It’s easy to step into action to help them. However, many of us don’t manifest that way.
I can say firsthand that depressive episodes manifest themselves outwardly instead of inward. Guys tend to lash out, get irritable, and have mood swings. I particularly get extremely short with people. But I also have had times, like recently, where I suck it up and put on a happy face.
I got through most days by exhausting all of my energy pretending I was okay and not making those around me feel uncomfortable. I’d go to work, get off some tweets, maybe get in an extra session after work. Then, I’d collapsed on my couch feeling depleted and angry that I had no one I could be the real me with.
Life is challenging. The one thing I’ve realized is the way you get through your hardest days is accepting that no one has it better or worst than you. You can’t compare your struggles to the next person because you haven’t live their life and they haven’t lived yours. Do I wish that I could have grown up in a suburban neighborhood and went to private schools? Do I wish that I could have never known what it was like to steal or borrow to eat? Of course. But that’s not my history. And that’s okay. I was bitter for a long time because of what I didn’t have and the fucked up things that had happened to me. However it’s by God’s grace only that I’m still here.
No matter how dark days get or how much the universe throws at me, I can look at the resume of my life and recount countless moments where God was with me-where He’s still with me.
Whenever I experience a panic attack and days of depression, I know that it’s time for me to tune out from the world and see what God is trying to tell me. I watched a few church services from Lakewood and recently my old pastor from Houston was in town. Not only were the words from God nurturing to my spirit, but I saw a couple tweets that helped immensely. One specifically helped as we start a new month.
- Surround yourself with people who give you what you need to be okay
- You will drown in a sea of feelings if there are no facts to hold on to
- Pain, happiness, disappointment, rejection, it’s all going to constantly happen. You have to learn how to react differently
- There’s purpose in the process
A lot of things will occur that are meant to break you. People come into your life that will rob you of your peace and joy. I don’t shy from my mistakes. I’ve got my demons. Everyone does. The beauty in the struggle is there’s always an end point. I discussed some of this in my blog about karma; people don’t get away with sin just as people can’t earn blessings. However, the hardships we face in life aren’t forever because nothing is. I think that’s the essence of free will.
As for me, I choose to get through by smiling at the little things. A text message asking if I ate or how I slept. A hilarious tweet. An inspirational IG post. A baby’s laughter. My dog running to greet me when I come home. I take comfort in these moments knowing that I’m not alone as long I never stay silent about my pain.