If you were to ask someone close to me, like my wife, where I was three months ago compared to where I am today, I’m confident she would tell you without a shred of doubt that I am leaps and bounds better than I was. If I look at the facts, if I look at this whole thing logically, I am mentally in a healthier place by far. Three months ago, I felt like I was stuck in that same familiar ditch I had been in many times before, except for some reason, this time I couldn’t see the light. I couldn’t see anything but darkness and that scared the shit out of me. I had always thought of myself as a fighter—confronting my depression and trying my best to kick it square in the teeth. When I lost that fight in me, I felt like I had completely lost myself. I think that scared me more than the depression—my desire to give up. Luckily for me, I can be reeeeeeeeallll stubborn and instead of surrendering, I asked for others to fight with me. I got help. That should feel like a victory in and of itself, right?
Anyone who suffers from depression knows that our mind can be a powerful SOB. For me, learning to recognize my thoughts, especially the irrational thoughts, has been hard. My mind tells me, all the time, that I should be better. I should be farther along on my journey than I am. After all, I did SEVEN days of intensive therapy, am on medication, am eating right, exercising—shouldn’t I be 100% cured? Yes, friends, that’s my illogical brain talking and she can be a manipulative bitch. Last week, I had one of the worst days I’ve had in a while. I was 10 days late for my period and was feeling the negative effects of my cycle being f*cked up. That coupled with a particularly stressful work week was like the perfect PMDD/depression shit storm. I was at work, hosting a company wide event, and had received a passive aggressive email that morning. Normally, I would mutter a curse under my breath, but I would let it go. But, my heightened emotions and hormones out of whack resulted in me turning into a sobbing, illogical, irrational mess. I unloaded on my boss, I cried in front of colleagues, and then for the rest of the day, I was so ashamed I didn’t even want to look anyone in the eye. Then the illogical B came and she was all “Everyone’s gonna think you’re crazy now! You’re probably going to get fired—might as well quit now and save them the trouble. You’re not better—you’ll always be like this.” Just like that, those thoughts threatened to erase all of the progress I’ve made.
I thought a lot about what happened last week over the weekend. I could easily listen to those thoughts and consider the PMDD episode as a setback—an inevitable failure. But, instead, I am choosing to take this as a lesson to reframe my thinking. Will I ever be ‘cured’? What does that even mean? I don’t think depression/PMDD is a curable disease. But, it’s treatable and I am working every single day of my life to learn to live with this. Will I have days that feel worse than others? Sure. But no day is ‘bad’ and no day is a setback. It’s part of my gorgeous, messy story—and I’m going to see it through to the end.