I've not posted in some time and I'm sure many of you are wondering about my silence. The truth is, I'm still here, but I've been reclusive for a reason. Some may know and some may not, but I've dealt with depression and anxiety nearly my entire life. Sometimes it's mild and I'm just bummed. Other times it's far easier to cry in bed until I fall asleep and wake again with a fresh start. This depression is often worse around the time that mother nature decides to turn my body into something from a horror movie...a buffet for vampires. After that, my mind is clearer and I feel like myself again for a few weeks and during that time I'll be posting, editing and working double-time to make up for lost time. When depression hits me the hardest, my motivation is totally gone. Wiped away like chalk on a sidewalk after a warm summer thunderstorm. In order to cope, I must distract myself and avoid anything that would make me feel worse such as drama, stress, negativity and of course Facebook...the worst place for depression. The hell for those with negative thoughts that scream "what if?" during even the simplest of tasks.
Facebook is filled with post after post of how horrible life is or how awesome someone else is compared to our crappy non-existence. So I go poof. I have to breath. I have to exist. I am a mother of two children, a menagerie of pets and of course I have my husband, my photography and blog. I can't surrender to the darkness so I stay hidden in the shadows until my eyes and mind again adjust to the light. It's hard. It's lonely. It's even worse when you have no one left in your life to help you fight the darkness.
My husband works two jobs and one is 3rd shift which he has been on nearly our entire marriage. A very challenging shift for a marriage when the other half does not have the option to convert their life to 3rds due to their children being in school. So obviously, a distance is forged that is difficult to bridge on days off. Most of the friends I had went 'poof' after high school or as soon as I had my first child and I was no longer 'cool' because I had responsibility. My family has never quite accepted me as I am or supported me during my darkest times. I've always been an epic failure even when I'm existing as expected and often misunderstood and not even allowed to explain. It's very discouraging. So during these times when my mind is weak, my natural instinct to encourage self-preservation is to just let it go. To take it easy, take a break and avoid unnecessary interaction and risk spiraling down into another deep episode of seclusion. Sometimes you must do what is best for yourself even if it means being alone when you want someone the most. When experiences in your past result in a lack of trust, then how can I be expected to depend upon anyone when I don't know who to trust? I am very much longing for a best friend to share my adventures and to help me life life again with the understanding that I need time to adapt to existing as expected of someone not yet 30. Of course, it's not easy to find someone who lusts for rugged hikes and swimming freely under the stars. Even harder to find someone who can understand the torrent of emotions and be able to encourage despite anxiety controlling every decision.
Over the last few weeks, I've made some substantial changes in my diet and activity level. I'm hoping to cure or at least better manage these darker days via natural ways before having no choice but to try mediation via medication. I am overweight so I'm sure it's not helping carrying around 30lbs daily. I've been minimizing my website and computer so I'm less distracted and also sitting for shorter periods of time so I can be outside with my family or working in my garden more often. I've cut out everything except that which is natural. I'm eating a more minimalistic diet while ensuring essential nutrients are provided. I've also started doing yoga again and dancing to the Bollywood movies and music that I adore so much for their vitality which makes me smile even during deep depression. Then on the weekends I've been going on a hiking adventure. The true happiness for me lies in exploration. To go a little farther into the rugged unknown of Kentucky and emerge triumphant. Or just walk a mile or two around a well known trail is fine too. The key is to ensure I am getting regular, antidepressant emulating exercise and enjoying nature without the distractions of life. I've been feeling better the last couple weeks, so if I can find some others with the same interests or just ensure I keep up at this pace then there is hope. Until then, when ever I'm away remember that I'm still here...