My Counsellor asked me recently “in the face of everything you’ve lived through, are living through, how did you turn out such a balanced, stable adult who grabs each day by the scruff of the neck and shakes the life out it?” Good question 😉
My Mum has been unhappy her entire adult life. Her Mum was also unhappy her entire adult life. And, if I’d had the chance to know her, maybe her Mum was also unhappy. Depression runs in the very DNA of the women in my family and having grown up amongst that I was determined that I was not going to succumb to the misery gene.
At the age of 18, I recognized that I was clinically depressed and in truth had been clinically depressed from about the age of 12. Trust me when I say I know how it feels to wake every day and wish you were dead because the emotional pain of living is too much to deal with. However, I couldn’t imagine going through my whole life waking each morning with a boulder the size of Colorado in my stomach and not knowing how I was going to get through the day, so I promised myself I wouldn’t.
I sat in my GP’s surgery, crying buckets and refusing to move until she’d done something to help me. I was given antidepressants and referred to a Psychologist, who I saw for nearly a year. I left home, so I didn’t have to live with my Mother’s unhappiness or my parents’ volatile relationship. I joined a dance aerobics class and loved it. I let go of some unhealthy relationships and gained some self-esteem. And slowly, slowly I started to be the person I was meant to be.
Of course, just when I had a nice life thank you very much at the age of 26 I developed M.E. and the cosy world I’d built up for myself disintegrated. It took some time, but after a few years of coming to terms with my situation I once again found some emotional peace, despite being horrendously ill and almost totally bedridden. Note I haven’t said I found joy in my situation, because who the fuck does that?! 😉
These days I might be still be sick and in pain but I can function, albeit in a limited way, and in this part of my life I have joy. I knew I’d get there eventually! My Mother annoys the bejaysus out of me and my Dad is a challenge but, although that situation is…….well, all sorts of misery……..it will not make me unhappy. Because I refuse to let it.
I cannot change my situation, but I can change my reaction to it. I know, for sure, that I am going to spend the whole of 2017 ill and in pain but that doesn’t make me depressed. It is what it is and I cannot alter it – I might as well rally against the sea being wet or the sky being blue. I only have one life and it’s zipping by with alarming speed. It may not be the life I’d planned but it still has purpose and meaning. This may not be the path I would have chosen but it’s the path I’m travelling and it’s going to be a fun road trip even if I end up throwing up out the car window. I may have the odd flat tire. I may constantly run out of petrol. I may encounter some really fucking annoying hitchhikers who I wish I’d never picked up. There will be times I am lost, and skint, and frightened. There will also be times I’ll stick my head out the window and revel in my hair blowing in the wind.
I have no idea where I will end up this time next year but I CHOOSE to enjoy the ride. And on the days I’m too nauseous to drive I choose to park up in a flower filled country lane, regroup and rest until I feel up to travelling on.