My Life is GREAT, and I’m Depressed

Elisa A. Escalante/ LCSW/ 11-25-2022

“I find myself grieving everything before it’s gone, because I just know, that it will not last forever.” -EaE

There is a part of mental illness that is purely biological. And also, a part of mental illness that exists due to long sustaining injuries that have hit our brain, and failed to let up regardless of all attempts at healing. It’s the very nature of how someone can have ‘everything’ they ever thought they wanted/ needed, and still suffer from depression and/ or various other mental illnesses. How a person can be rich and famous, but then commit suicide. How a person can be in a safe home, safe community and surrounded by safe people, but still experience panic attacks. How a person can block out everyone that hurt them, but still have simmering rage that leads to anger outbursts.

I DO have a great life right now. And not because I always had a great life, but because I learned how to build a great life for myself through persistence, trial & error and a LOTTTTT of pain in my past. I have a great life, but I have major depression. I wake up sad and irritable almost every day. But now, I no longer question why. I already know. On one hand, mental illness runs on both sides of my family, and two, I sustained mental wounds from a very early age. It really does start with traumatic grief. I lost significant people at a young age, I underwent trauma young too. My brain decided a long time ago, that a part of it no longer wants to be here. But I also have a part of my brain that learned to be a fighter from a young age; this saves me day to day.

Mental Illness leads to Guilt

Mental illness already sucks, but one key thing I’ve noticed with the majority of clients I have worked with, is they are suffering for two main reasons. 1- The mental condition they have with all of the symptoms it entails and 2- The guilt they feel about not being able to ‘control’ their illness or find a ‘cure’. How their family persistently get’s upset that they are ‘not enough to snap them out of their depression’. How all the superficial things like gifts, adventures, excitement cannot give their brain the necessary fireworks/ endorphins to sustain happiness for very long. All of this proves over time that we can work to build a seemibly ‘perfect’ life, but we cannot ‘fix a broken brain’. Also, healing is not about what we can accomplish or attain. Healing, like mental wounds, is also invisible and very hard to decipher or gauge.

Healing Requires ‘Toxic’ Withdrawal symptoms

Since I have been focused more on healing now than any other time in my life (roughly almost 2 years) I have noticed and tuned into something very key. If we go from a toxic life, to a very peaceful and calm one, we will experience withdrawal side effects. Much like an addict that is trying to quit their drug of choice. Think about it, a toxic life leads people to go from extreme highs to extreme lows, and cycling through this over and over. A calm life is far from that lifestyle. A calm life is steady, peaceful, predictable. Your healing, on eggshells, waiting for the next high or low, but, it does not come. Why? You decided you wanted peace. You decided no more toxic intimate partners, no more toxic friendships, no more toxic choices that put you through episodes of panic. This is it. You are healing, TRUST IT.

Stop Making up Rules about how you are supposed to feel

With all of this being said, remember that ‘There is NO such thing is How you’re SUPPOSED to feel’ on any given day, and about any given situation. Those rules are all fabricated. If someone tells you ‘cheer up, it’s the Holidays’, they arent’ making any sense. If a stable home & having marriage and kids definitely equated to happiness, then why are divorces on the rise? We can’t buy our way out of depression. We cannot pay our way into permanent happiness. Stop trying, and stop making up rules about how you are supposed to feel, and hopefully then you can stop feeling guilty about an illness that is not always in your control. Being born was not a choice that you got to make for yourself, nor who birthed you, nor who influenced you. As an adult, we do get to start making our own decisions, but will we make the right ones? That’s anyone guess. We are still, after all, often guided by old survival programs.

The Pursuit of Healthiness

The pursuit of happiness is said to be overated these days. I say, pursuit healthy. What’s good for you? Your body, mind and spirit. Feed yourself the things that are known and proven to nurture your body, mind and spirit. Maybe it’s being single for a while vs being with, yet another, toxic intimate partner. Maybe it’s choosing that job that pays a little less because ultimately it will stress you out way less. Maybe it’s taking a step away from social media because you have been way too overstimulated and you need your mind to have some peace and quiet. Maybe, it’s deciding one baby is enough, you don’t need a surplus just because society said so. Maybe, it’s going on that trip to that destination you have been dying to see, but no one wanted to go with you so you decided to say ‘fuck it, i’m going anyways’. There comes a point where hopefully we step away from those fabric human made rules and we get on board with letting our intuition guide us toward a life that is more suitable for our health and our mood.

Published by functionallymentall

Social Worker, Writer, USAF Veteran

One thought on “My Life is GREAT, and I’m Depressed

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