I’m an introvert.
So sue me.
I don’t wear my heart on my sleeve, my emotions bleeding out for everyone to see. The wounds from the griefs and stresses of my life are buried deep inside, and I won’t share them with you unless I can trust that you won’t intentionally inflict wounds of your own. That doesn’t mean I don’t have an amazing support system of family and friends willing, at a moment’s notice, to provide comfort and stability- I do. But how often can I vomit my sadness all over them before they just can’t hear it anymore? Why spread the poison? So I keep it inside, and sometimes the emotions build to the point they overwhelm my heart. I feel like at any moment they will swallow me whole, leaving nothing behind but the puddle of grief leaking out of my eyes. How can I relieve the pressure without hurting others?
I recently shared a social media post about depression (written by someone else) that I thought must be an accurate description of what it feels like to battle that demon daily. I hadn’t previously considered myself to be among those warriors. But the more I thought about my current emotional state, the more I realized that yes, that’s me. This year has been filled with much unresolved emotional stress, and the recent death of my father pushed me over the edge into full-blown depression. No motivation, no focus, disrupted sleep patterns, constant sadness about every part of my life, tears just barely contained every. single. day.
I know deep down that I have much to be grateful for, but gratitude is difficult in the midst of depression. I am torn: If I focus on the things I am grateful for and ignore what has caused me emotional pain, what message does it send to the one who has wounded me? Am I giving permission for the behavior to continue? Or if I allow the pain and depression to continue dominating my vision, will I eventually just stop seeing the good things in my life? Will I become like those high-profile individuals we’ve all read about, who had everything to live for, and chose an escape into death instead? That’s not the legacy I want to leave behind for my children and grandchildren, and others who care about me.
And so I write.
I pour out my feelings on the page, knowing it can take the assault. Anger. Sadness. Disillusion. Heartbreak. Tears.
I write to purge the poison, to relieve the pressure, hoping that if I can drain enough of the sadness into another container I will one day start to feel normal again, and when I look back at the words on those pages, I will see a stranger.
I write to try and make sense of my feelings, to see deeper meaning in the way life is unfolding. Why do I allow myself to be treated in a way that brings so much heartache and pain? Do I feel unworthy of love? Oh, that’s a BIG topic to be approached another time.
Several years ago I ran into a favorite teacher of mine, from a writing class.
“Are you still writing?” he asked.
“I’ve got a full-time job, a family, I’m just too busy. Life got in the way,” I hedged.
“It’s never too late to pick up the pen and start again,” came his response.
This is the year I pick up the pen.
I recently read an article about easing depression with only your pen. The writer urges me to have a written conversation with my depression, asking it why it has a right to be in my life, separating myself and labeling it as an identity of its own, so that it is not a part of who I am. She tells me to be present with my depression, observing, describing, writing down my emotions, taking it one day at a time. Most importantly, she says, don’t give up hope.
And so I write.Browse Front PageShare Your Idea
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