I recently celebrated a birthday….44…meh. Admittedly, 40 was GREAT. I felt good in all aspects of my life. Hitting this milestone and feeling this good in my body and mind was an accomplishment and the comments of “just you wait”, were pshawed and met with an eye roll. My rationale was, as long as I take care of myself, I will endure the pitfalls of aging and nowhere within my radar was peri-menopause. Forward to a week ago, B-DAY. I taught an early morning yoga class and then realized I had to get the hell out of the studio. I wasn’t looking forward to well wishes, super smiles and all the happiness that a birthday brings. Do not misunderstand, I am super grateful for the community of people who I work with and teach, friends and family, far and near, the people that have my back and celebrate with me, for ME. This attitude was present because of darker reason, an embarrassing truth and something that has really produced a sense of shame and failure. While it may seem that I have my shit together, the truth is, I have been actively struggling with debilitating depression that has resulted in weight gain (20 lbs to be exact), anxiety and a general feeling that I am completely losing my shit. This isn’t the first time I have experienced depression and this isn’t the first time that I have had to go on medication for relief. However, for the past two years I have undergone medical and non-medical modalities to get consistent sleep, have a normal level of energy and eliminate all the negative and self-destructive thoughts that float in and out of my brain on a daily basis. When asked if I enjoyed my birthday, I was brief, but honest, “no, not really. I am not super stoked about 44.” The response, “well you look like you are killing it.” Smoke and mirrors, baby, smoke and mirrors.
Every individual has their private struggles while maintaining their daily routine and responsibilities. The moments of meh that are this human experience. The drive to remain positive, snap out of it and be courageous are not only encouraged, but expected. As a caregiver, you either shove the negativity aside or ignore it altogether, but the mess remains once those angel moments are over.
So here I am, 44, apparently killing it to the outside world, but barely able to get out of bed more days than not. Here I am, apparently living my best life, but unable to adequately express what the hell is happening with my state of mind. Here I am, apparently a positive inspiration to others, but barely able to inspire myself. Know that my motivation for writing this post is to not find validation or provide an excuse for my frequent isolation, but to shed some light on how complex mental health is and how complicated it is to find the right combination of treatments. I also believe there are more people who not only struggle with the ebbs of life, but are truly STRUGGLING with their state of mental health. What I have finally come to terms with is that whether my depression has been circumstantial or is part of a chronic condition, I know that I have done everything possible to live my best life. I search for resolution, not a quick fix, but a means of dealing with this without the shame and without a surrender.
I write this post to encourage those that are caring for others to put themselves FIRST, no matter what is sacrificed by making this space. This is the only action that rings true to resolving what I am currently experiencing. I write this post to say, keep moving forward. Find the space of self-worth within yourself to have faith in another day, another chance to have lovely, snapshot moments that allow a sense of gratitude to stoke that small belly fire of motivation in moving forward. Finally, if you find yourself in gratitude and a good space, cherish and connect on those days. I’ve been told that this won’t last forever…