Depression. Sometimes we struggle with it. And it is always a struggle. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it. If you’re dealing with it, it’s a struggle. For some of us it’s a severe condition, for some of us it’s seasonal, for some of us it gets worse depending on the climate of our new homes, the list of circumstantial pieces goes on and on. Here is a little something that the Bestie recently sent to me from The Twelve-Step Program for Life.
“1. There will be some days when you close your eyes while crossing the street, maybe because you want to see what fate has in store for you, or maybe because your depression is running rampant again and you don’t know how to calm her. It’s okay. I will still love you.
2. There will be a year, or a series of years when your birthday doesn’t feel special. Celebrate anyway. Because people spent time baking you a cake and buying you cards and even if they’re your family and they’re obligated to, they still love you. Cherish that love. Revel in it. It is the best gift you will ever receive.
3. You will learn that the saddest word in the English language is stay. Whether it’s your mother’s voice whispering it before you leave for college, or your ex-lover’s desperate screams as you walk out of the house, it will always be a hard word to hear. Sometimes you should listen to it, other times you shouldn’t. Trust yourself. Go with your gut.
4. Along with hearing the word stay, you will also hear the word why from every person who is remotely related to you. Why did you get that tattoo? Why did you try to kill yourself? Why aren’t you married yet? You don’t have to answer them. Be selfish. Keep somethings to yourself.
5. Some nights you won’t be able to sleep. You will lie awake at 2 am and contemplate existentialism and wonder if the French had a point. Get up. Get out of your bed. Do something. Because even if there is no God, what you do matters, who you are matters. You matter to me.
6. Some days you will want to run away and never return. So go. Drive to a small town in the Northwest, maybe Oregon, and settle down there for a while. Tell people your name is Elizabeth, because you loved Jane Austen as a child and because this a town full of strangers and who’s to know the difference? Don’t be selfish. Call your mother each night and remind her that you love her. Come back home when you find yourself seeing your sadness painted in the shadows, and when you feel more at home in the arms of a stranger than on your own.
7. There will be several nights when you lose yourself in the medicine cabinet, because liquor and morphine seem like a faster cure than time. It’s okay. I will still love you in the morning.
8. One day, in the midst of work, you will learn to forgive. It will start out with a simple reminder of the past, maybe a facebook notification from an old schoolmate or a wedding announcement from an ex-lover. In that moment you will learn that yearning for the past isn’t romantic, it’s stupid, and that if Gatsby had just let go of the green light he would’ve lived. So forgive your past, it didn’t know any better, and move on.
9. Leaving home will hurt, but soon you will learn that home isn’t a place but a feeling, and that there is a compass on your heart that points directly to that feeling. Follow that compass. Don’t get sidetracked by boys who don’t care or alcohol that doesn’t forgive. If you follow that compass, no matter how lost you get, you will always have a home.
10. The hardest lesson you will ever learn will be to love yourself. But you can do it. There will always be days when you hate yourself, days when you wish you had never been born. But darling you are beautiful, and if Shakespeare had met you you would’ve inspired his 18th sonnet, and if Monet had known you he would’ve given up painting water lilies and chosen to paint you instead. I know it’s hard to love yourself, but sometimes it’s okay to be a little selfish with your love.
11. When you begin to feel worthless, remember that the stars died for you. You are made of elements that are thousands of years old, elements that make up every atom of your being. When you want to cut your wrists, remember that the souls of stars live in your veins. Don’t kill them. Don’t be selfish.
12. Some days will be beautiful. Live for those days. Live for the days when the sun shines on your soul and the smile on your face isn’t forced. Live for the days when you don’t give a fuck what anyone thinks because your scars are a part of your story and you don’t need someone else’s approval to wear them with pride.
Live for the life you always wanted but were too scared to pursue.
Live for you. Live for me. Live for every person who has ever loved you, for the people who have come before you so that you may be here today.
Live for the fire that burns in your soul, that tells you: keep going, you’re almost there, just a little farther. Because when Rome burned down the emperor didn’t run away, he stayed and he sang for his people. Stay. Sing for your people. Sing for us. Are you listening? Because this is your life, singing a siren song to capture your attention and steer away from the rocks, to guide you back home.”
-The Twelve-Step Program for Life, by M.K.
For more helpful everyday tips, here are some notes from a DIY blog I follow of a woman who deals with severe depression. She is great and I love her sharp, sometimes dry, wit. 🙂
This week, the last two nights to be specific, my dear friend, The Actor, celebrated the run of his senior show. Because he one of his majors is theater, his capstone project was to direct a play. His choice was the play by Bert V. Royal entitled “Dog Sees God.”
The show is an evocative piece that asks the viewer to challenge the way things are and make the world a better place. Dog Sees God takes the infamous Peanuts characters of our childhood and throws them into adolescence. This time, Charlie Brown and the gang are in high school and Snoopy has just died. The characters partake in all manner of vile behavior from using drugs and alcohol and using offensive language to bullying that wrenches at the gut of the viewer.
Fair warning, this show is not for the faint of heart. It forces the audience to step into the worst experiences a young person faces, perhaps on a daily basis, perhaps on rare occasions. Some of the toughest subjects that young people deal with are thrown into the mix. The point is to show just how far from butterflies and rainbows life is for some kids. Kids are faced with really difficult situations, asked to make tough decisions, tempted and pulled in multiple directions, forsaken by adults, and still asked to come out on top. This show really makes you think about how hard that is.
The show also makes you reflect on how many times you were the person who stood idly by while someone was bullied, how many times did you make a bad decision in order to fit in. What decisions have you made, or are making, in your life that could be devastating to you or to someone else? Yeah, you may leave the theater feeling really sh*tty about yourself, but that’s the point. We cannot make a change if we do not face how bad things have become.
Dog Sees God is difficult and offensive, but it is also beautiful and meaningful. It is a show that doesn’t suggest change, it outright demands it!
This show touched me in particular, because I was someone who was bullied relentlessly in school. So much so that by the time I reached the 3rd grade my parents had pulled me out of public school to be home-schooled, because my clothes were being torn to the point of indecency on the bus and I would come home bloodied and bruised. The first few years after I went back to public school in the 8th grade were not much better and like Beethoven I attempted to take my own life. I think God every day that I survived, but in the show, Beethoven doesn’t.
This show hit so close to home that I cried for at least the last 20 minutes of the show, through the talk-back, and for part of the ride back to campus. It saddens me to the deepest depths that we live in a society where the kind of behavior that can lead to a child’s death is thought of as “character building.” It sucks that it wasn’t just me. It’s a problem so basic within our culture that this play had to be written to make us question it.
And question it we did. This play faced an outbreak of controversy almost immediately after rehearsals began. A student on campus found the show to be offensive and so exercised her right to petition the ban of the show. To an extent, her goal was achieved. The compromise was that the show would not be allowed to be performed on campus. The Actor had to find a new performance space and ended up at the Berlin Cafe in CoMo. When The Roommate told me it was a small space, I could not have prepared myself for just how small. Last night when we arrived, there were 54 chairs in the house, the stage was practically in our laps, and we were finding spaces for people as they poured in.
In the end, I think it worked in The Actor’s favor. Being physically close to the actors helped me, as a viewer, to connect and feel like I was watching real life play out before my eyes. And, in reality, the controversy that lasted for so long was free publicity. By the time posters went up last week, everyone knew what the show was. Honestly, I think there was a better turn out, despite the conditions surrounding the performance, than there would have been if it had been performed on campus as scheduled.
The space also worked really well for the talk-back. At the end of the show, The Actor opened the floor for conversation between the actors and the audience members. This was exactly the kind of thing Royal was looking for, because it was the beginning of discourse on what was wrong about what happened in the show and why exactly it was wrong.
It is wrong to abandon young adults, teenagers, to make hard decisions alone, to feel unloved and unwanted, during the most influential and fragile years of their young lives. It is wrong to bully and torment another person and to become so immune to it that you truly believe it’s just all fun and games. It is wrong to idly watch as the people around you destroy the lives of themselves and their “friends.” And it is especially wrong that a child who is different than the rest of the crowd feels so alone and so hated that he took his own life.
I applaud the playwright and I applaud the cast and crew. Most of all, I applaud my friend, The Actor. Thank you for all you do, all you have done, and all you will continue to do through this beautiful and heart-wrenching work of art. Thank you for going through with this no matter how ugly and difficult it got. Thank you for making the choice to stand up for me and for many others after me. You can’t know what it means to me that people are beginning to take notice.
…Is to keep me in your thoughts and prayers, dear readers.
My mission, which I don’t have much of a choice but to accept, as laid out by my wonderful Bestie is this:
Each morning when I wake up, I must look in the mirror and say one thing I am excited about for the day. I must also decide on one thing I want to accomplish that day.
Today I was excited about going to work in the Library. I love my Library job, both because it’s a great job and because I love the people I work with.
Today’s task to accomplish is the writing of my rough draft for my cultural evaluation. I already have two pages done.
I am going to add this to my mission: At the end of each day, I am going to write down three things that went well that day.
It’s not the end of the day yet, but my three things are the two pages on my rough draft, my voice lesson(I successfully and repeatedly hit the high A in Little elegy), and my character analysis sheets for my voice lesson pieces(DJ said not only did I hit the nail on the head, but that I was the most creative and most detailed, and that he’d like to use them as references for how to do the worksheets for future students!).
Really, as you might be able to tell, so far my voice lesson was the high light of my day. This is rare and I’m glad it happened on today of all days. 🙂
A big shout out to my Bestie for all the advice and kind words she shared with me last night in the midst of my meltdown.
A few weeks ago she updated her facebook and I sent her a text message that said this, “Sometimes I think you’re silently communicating with me via your status update.” To which she replied, “That’s because I usually am.” Last night her status had this to say, “I will say it again, and as many times as I need to until you actually believe it: if you are feeling something it is a legitimate emotion and no one can tell you otherwise. You are the only one that feels it just like it is in your heart. I will never underestimate that. I love you forever and always.”
L.A. has also been really good to me lately. Not that he isn’t always wonderful, but lately he’ll just text me out of the blue. He tries to play it off as if he needs my advice, but I’m fairly certain it’s just because he knows I need someone to talk to. He’s been sending me memes from him collection and they really make me laugh.
I have the two best friends in the entire world. And they just love me through all my crap.
I think I can now begin moving forward through the crap and begin to at least figure out why I feel like my life is falling apart around me. I will pull my sh*t together. I will get good grades. I will graduate on time. And I will keep both of my majors. Until a time when I, and no one else, decides otherwise.
I can do this.
Well, Ladies and Gents, it has been a MINUTE since I posted last!
Last I left you, I was a sad, pathetic ball of mess on the floor.
Honestly, I don’t know how much better I’m doing, but I’ve resigned myself to just working through it. I have to push the feelings of inadequacy and fear and pain way down deep and move on with life.
As you may know, graduation is a mere 7 months away! That is both exciting and terrifying. Even more frightening, grad school applications are due beginning next month! I have my work cut out for me. This all makes me very nervous and puts me under a great deal of stress. The result is a mixture of sickness-I’m currently fighting off a bout of strep throat-, panic, and insomnia! Hooray!
“Where’s that good news you promised us?!” You ask?
WELL! I can reassure you that there are good things happening around here. I have found that there are still friends here that remain loyal through it all. Some were surprising candidates, I must admit, but some I should not have doubted. I’m more thankful for them than I can express, they help keep me out of my own headspace. And when I do get caught up in my thoughts, they let me say what I need to say, shed my tears, and be done with it. And the best part, they never bring it up again.
I’m also being constantly reminded of why I love my professors so dearly. They daily say and do things that put a smile on my face. They make me proud to be their student and they make me want to make them proud. Sometimes in life it is hard to find good role models, well I have plenty right here at my fingertips. They are kind and intelligent adults who look out for each other. They genuinely care about those who care about learning from them and they treat me like a mature individual who is going somewhere in this life. When I start to feel down, they are there to remind me that they have confidence of the utmost in my abilities, even before my friends are. I can’t wait to be their colleague!
I know that those who regularly read this are used to the rollercoaster of my life. Most of you probably wish I would just get used to the fact that life often throws me cruve balls that I am not at all prepared to deal with. I’m trying. I still don’t know what I’m supposed to learn from all this, but people I trust, people I look up to, keep telling me that I will be stronger and more able to fulfill my purpose because of the heartache, the sorrow, and the stress that this semester has brought. I can only hope and pray that they are right.
I love you all. Thank you for everything.
*While to that rock I’m clinging
No, I’m not in a particularly stormy season in my life, that song just happens to be stuck in my head. Ok, so it MIGHT have something to do with the fact that SAI is singing it at our American Music Recital in a few weeks, but that’s really beside the point. 😉
I’m doing quite well. Those of you who see me everyday at school, however, get to witness my every day frustrations. Yay for you! I’m really sorry about that, I need to work harder to keep those, sometimes aggressive, outbursts of frustration to myself.
I’ve just been getting a lot of lies and back-stabbing from people who I thought were good friends of mine. In one particular case, I think the individual is still upset over a misunderstanding had between the two of us. I’m not sorry for what I said, because it was in line and a part of my job, but I am sorry that it came across the way it did. What is most upsetting is that the individual then said some things that I believe were said just to hurt me. And initially they did, but then I found out that the things the individual had said… Well, they weren’t true…
That hurts. Especially since what was said is that another friend of mine was disappointed in me. That second friend said she never said that and was, in fact, quite proud of me.
I wish that people would stop lying to me, it’s been occurring with more frequency and it’s really starting to tick me off. I also wish that the people lying to me didn’t think I was stupid; if you’re going to lie, make sure your “backbone from a distance” isn’t someone I talk to regularly.
There’s a remarkable quote from The Kite Runner that has stuck with me since I first read the novel:
“There is only one sin, only one. And that is theft. Every other sin is a variation of theft… When you kill a man, you steal a life. You steal his wife’s right to a husband, rob his children of a father. When you tell a lie, you steal someone’s right to the truth. When you cheat, you steal the right to fairness.”
I’ll leave that tickle your brains for a while.
*A poem by Susan CoolidgeNo soul can be quite separate; however set aside by fate, however cold or dull or shy or shrinking from the public eye; the world is common to the race, and nowhere is a hiding place; behind, before, with rhythmic beat is heard the tread of marching feet; to left, to right, they urge, they fare, and touch us here, and touch us there. Hold back your garments as you will the crowding world will rub it still. Then since such contact needs must be, what shall it do for you and me? Shall it be cold and hard alone, as when a stone doth touch a stone– fruitless, unwelcome, and unmeant; put by as a dull accident– while we pass onward deaf and blind, with no relenting look behind? Or, as when two round drops of rain let fall upon a window pane, wander, divergent from their course, led by some blind, instinctive force, mingle and blend and interfuse– their separate shapes and being lose, made one thereafter and the same; identical in end and aim, nor brighter gleam, nor faster run. Because they are not tow, but one. Or shall we meet, in warring mood, the contact of the fire and flood, decreed by nature and by will, the one to warm, the one to chill; the one to burn, the one to slake, to Thwart and counteract and make each other’s wretchedness, and dwell with hate irreconcilable? Or, as when fierce fire meets frail straw, and carries out the fatal law which makes the weaker thing to be the prey of strength and tyranny; a careless touch, half scorn, half mirth, a brief resistance, little worth; a little blaze soon quenched and marred, and ashes ever afterward? No; let us meet, since meet we must, not shaking off the common dust, as if we feared our fellow men and fain would walk aloor from them not fruitlessly, as rain meets rain, and not to spoil and desolate. But, as we meet and touch eat day, the many travelers on our way, let every such brief contact be, a glorious, helpful ministry; the contact of the soil and seed, each giving to the other’s need each helping on the other’s best and blessing each, as we are blessed.
That’s how I feel. Mostly.
The events of the last few days have been… exciting. And not in a good way.
Shortly after my last post, and I mean within a few minutes, the WhiteKnight let me know that he was in the ER for what was either a flu bug that didn’t make him throw up, or appendicitis. (For those of you who don’t know, WK and are now on speaking terms again as good friends) It was the latter and they were going to take his appendix that night. When I talked to Mr. P. I asked if WK needed someone to sit with him at the hospital. I quickly amended my question to the more appropriate, “Do YOU need someone to sit with him at the hospital?” To which he firmly replied, “Yes.” So I went. And my lovely roommate went with.
Yesterday WK was released, he was up and moving(albeit slowly), and he had eaten solid food. Needless to say, after a much needed night of sleep, I woke up today feeling calm.
There’s another piece to my calm. I blogged on Wednesday about my unstable financial situation and the need to figure out the funding of this semester. Well, my wonderful friends are just that, wonderful. In the last 24 hours, I have received $155 in gifts from friends to put toward my education. It’s not a lot, no, but it’s a fantastic start and more than I could have asked for. There really are angels in my life, truly wonderful people looking out for me and helping me fulfill my calling. Thank you.