Seeing Life as a gift

When you are a young teenage girl trying to find your way in the world, trying to separate from your parents and become your own person, life seems almost like a chore. You aren’t sure which road to take because you are still being lead down the path your parents want for you. Most times you just sit in the middle spinning and spinning, and hope you don’t throw up on someone like you are on the tilt a whirl after eating 10 corn dogs. At that point you just want to put your life into over drive, you want to get there, you want to be done, you want to know where you are going to end up, and you want everything to slow down. This I believe is why teenage girls appear melancholy, discontent and always searching. At this point in your life every decision feels like its going to be the BIG one. Who you date, who you don’t date, who your friends are, and who your friends aren’t. It feels like every step is on shaky ground and you become acutely aware of that.

or maybe that was just me…

I think I suffered from depression long before I was diagnosed. I worried about things far to young that I shouldn’t have been worrying about. I piled and piled and piled the work on myself. I was always trying to be the best.

I smiled through it all, everyone always commented on on my smile. I always giggled and I always looked for joy. I filled my time with a job, friends, homework and chatting online with Trev until the wee hours of the morning. I didn’t have time to be lonely, to really sit and think. I know now I was guarding myself, if I had too much time to think, my depression would have gotten the better of me sooner.

Then you hit your 20’s. You are carefree. I had a job, I paid bills, and I liked to go out. I didn’t think much about the future, only was in the now because I had my whole life ahead of me. In your 20’s you never think about mortality (well I didn’t) you just know that you are having fun and living it up. My 20’s were a weird time in my life, I dated a lot of guys in the span of a year and half. (at this time I had not determined that Trev was the one for me, which is probably why I didn’t date any one guy for very long.)

I hit 22, I started having these weird dreams. They were dreams that I would walk by Trev and he wouldn’t acknowledge me, and it was like he didn’t recognize me. I was scared to death. I booked a plan ticket to come to Canada to convince Trev that I was ready for all of this to be my happily ever after.

I think this is when I started to realize that life is a gift, you can be happy, not every moment has to be filled with something. I did have a hard time here at first because I couldn’t work, I was so far away from my family, my comfort zone, my friends. It was very overwhelming, my depression did take hold at that time. I was mostly able to control it then, with great help from Trev.

Then life felt like it hopped on the express train. We were married, we had Maddie, we bought a house, and then BAM my sister passed away. It is hard to describe what that does to someone that has suffered from depression for a long time.

It was like a dam that I had been patching before with bubble gum, and other small pebbles, burst. I was holding it back with a little help, but her death was like an explosion that tore down my dam in the 2 seconds it took for my mom to say “honey she didn’t make it”. My grandfather passed away when I was 12, I knew what grief was. This however was something that was like nothing else I had experienced. It took the wind out of my sails, it stopped my boat, and for a time it stopped my life.

Life was a chore for me again, most of those days I couldn’t find my smile no matter how hard I tried, I cut everyone out of my life and tried to hide. My depression caught up to me and the years of flooding I had held back came all at once. I know a lot of people think that I was just deep in grief. I was, but I was also drowning in years of backed up depression. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t think, sitting alone and thinking about life was the most difficult thing in the world. I wanted to run away, I wanted to hide, and yes I wanted to get out of my life.

It took 2 years of building my dam back up with nice sturdy bricks and mortar to get back to seeing life as a gift. Sometimes I think that if I could see the part of my brain where my emotions come from it would be held together with twine, duct tape, bubble gum, and paper clips.

These things had to happen though, was it difficult? probably the most difficult thing I will ever have to do in my life, and thats even after having to say goodbye to my sister for the rest of my life. It was like everything I had ever known was foreign and didn’t fit who I was. I was down in the trenches, and trying to get myself back. I didn’t do it alone though, never once. Trev was there every step of the way, some days he even had to help me put pants on. When my sister died, my husband lost the person he had known too. Together though we figured out who I was supposed to be. I am past those terrible times now.

I will never forget though, the friends that stood by me, my amazing daughter that learned far to young what its like to watch your mother fall apart, and my amazing husband.

I wont ever be able to stop fighting, I will always have to take these medications to keep myself on the straight and narrow, but…my life is a gift. Its a bright shiny red bow on a big box filled with everything that makes me who I am. Everyday I picture in my mind opening that gift to see what it will hold today. Sometimes it is one foot in front of the other, and sometimes its skipping and giggling.

My life is a miracle of true love, laughter from the soul, and living with everything I have in me.

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