“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein
I thought I had overcome all of my traumas, that I had put all the pieces back together and allowed myself to be reborn. I thought I was doing things differently in every way that mattered so as not to repeat the same mistakes. I thought I was no longer repeating the same actions and therefore no longer insane. I was wrong.
I was hibernating and am now suddenly awakened. It was unplanned and unexpected. I feel like I’m still gasping for my first breath. It is also pretty ironic that it is happening now because it is close to the time of my almost-deathversary. I honestly wasn’t afraid to die then. My life flashed before my eyes but I didn’t feel scared of the end of this life. Surviving scared me more because that meant dealing with the slew of stressors that were to follow. After surviving a near fatal accident and then finding out who my real friends are in the aftermath of said accident, I abruptly gained a clarity on what really matters to me in life.
“The most precious things in life are not those you get for money.” – Albert Einstein
I had been in a place where all that really concerned me was my financial status and what some people I once loved like family thought of me. After almost dying, those things became really unimportant and petty. What mattered more, and continues to matter much more, is how I will be remembered, what I will have contributed to the world, and if I will be missed at all once I was gone. Would it be an out of sight, out of mind kind of thing? Would I be significant enough to one or two people in this world that they would remember me sometimes? If there were some people who continued to value me once I died, would they think of me as the hardass bitch I often seem to be or the generous soul that I also am? Or would they maybe remember me as the whole person I was? Would anyone even truly know who I was?
Life is full of things that give me great anxiety, often for no reason. The depression I thought I had defeated returned in full force recently. I am being forced to confront the worst parts of myself and my flawed past whether or not I want to. The ugliness I see in the mirror every morning is starting to effect my interactions with others and the relationships I highly value. No matter how much others have shown me that they care for me, are there for me, value me, think highly of me, or want me in their lives, my brain refuses to listen. I’ve fallen back into that pattern of self-hate with one pronounced difference – I am so sick and tired of it I am seeking help. I have an amazing support system in the form of friends and family but that’s no longer enough. I have recognized that my brain is lying to me over and over and that I am being self-destructive. I refuse to be defeated by my own dang self.
Apathy is also quite the foe in my world. I force myself to go through the motions but I have no real motivation. It’s effecting my work ethic and my productivity outside of work. I am also burdening several people with my emotional baggage (and they are being amazing about it). I absolutely hate being a burden and a bother so I am both extremely grateful for their patience and caring and extremely ashamed and sorry towards them that they are being forced into such an unhappy situation.
In a way, I believe all of my worst characteristics are resurfacing, and my worst memories with them, because I wasn’t truly alive for a long time. I was simply existing in an apathetic haze. Now, certain events have jolted me back into active interaction with the world and have incited a chain reaction of some kind. I am both extremely emotional and extremely apathetic. The dichotomy and dissonance of the two are tearing me apart. The high of being alive is being countered hard by the desire to remain unchanged. It may not be cell death but it certainly is brain death to comply with my brain’s desire to remain numb. In fact, complying with my brain leads me straight down the path to suicide and I simply have too much going for me and too much left to do to end the blessed life I have been given.
“Breathe, darling. You survived before, and you’ll do it again.” – Maxwell Diawuoh
In the midst of all this emotional upheaval, there is one thing I’ve been able to do this time around that I hadn’t been able to do before. Breathe. I realized on the basis of surviving this long that the trick is to simply keep breathing. I am a survivor, not a victim. Survivors have one thing in common – they keep going. I have, too. In the middle of a conversation with a friend, I reminded myself that what is important is not the destination I think I need to reach but the journey I make to get there. It is 90% of my life, I cannot live for the 10% that seems like the achievement of a goal.
“Remember, life is a journey. If you got everything you wanted all at once, there’d be no point to living. Enjoy the ride, and in the end you’ll see these ridiculous “setbacks” as giant leaps forward, only you couldn’t see the bigger picture in the moment. Remain calm, all is within reach; all you have to do is show up every day, stay true to your path and you will surely find the treasure you seek.” – Jackson Kiddard
I have also come to value and enjoy my own company, my own time. It is extremely liberating to genuinely relax and enjoy your own thoughts and maybe have a few adventures on your own. This is a distinct difference from the past where being by myself would have destroyed me. Now, I can rest and recharge in my own company. There are some great things about me I can genuinely declare with confidence where before I couldn’t find a single reason my existence could bring any value to the world.
I didn’t know why I was writing this article until this moment – I wanted to show myself how far I’ve come from the person I once was. I wanted to acknowledge my own accomplishments, no matter how small. I wanted to show myself I am a capable and contributing member of society as well as someone who not only is loved, but deserves to be loved. I wanted to remind myself that I can be imperfect, that’s okay. I can still try to love myself, just like I love the many amazing but flawed folks in my life.
Loving myself and my own company is my greatest weapon against this demon called depression. My support group is my biggest shield. My willpower is the strength that has kept me alive. I refuse to be defeated, especially when, thank Allah, I have everything in the world going for me. I feel His blessings on me and in my life. I feel His love for me. I feel His presence in my life. I refuse to let that goodness be eradicated by the demons within.
If anyone else out there is struggling with something similar, just remember, Breathe. You have survived everything life has thrown at you. You have succeeded in adversity. You have overcome all the challenges and hurdles fate has seen fit to place in your path. You can do this. You can put yourself first. You can love yourself. You can accomplish your dreams. You can allow yourself to hurt. You can allow yourself to heal. You can allow love into your life. Most importantly, you can decide to be happy.
Good luck to y’all in everything you are doing and thank you for reading this far. Until next time, Ciao.