Something I have fought all my life is depression. If you look back at some of my other posts, sometimes it becomes obvious that I have it. When I was around 20 years old, I was diagnosed with what is called “Cyclothymia”. An easier way to know what that is – A-typical bi-polarity (more extreme highs and lows, with less predictability). I was also seeing a counselor in college who agreed with the diagnosis, but we also went into other mental considerations now known as Dis-associative Identity Disorder.
I used to joke about how I was a “Loony Toon”, and my mother and I would talk about my “bad chemical days”. I have never taken meds for any of this. I don’t believe in them, and I have seen far too much damage caused to those who have. I used to sit down and write my emotions out. I still do sometimes, but I also have to pay close attention to what part of my childhood pain is being triggered, and what is triggering it.
You see, in over 30 years of dealing with this, I have discovered one thing. My swings, good and bad, and the “shadow people” in my head are the results of extreme emotional damage when I was a child. Even as a teenager, I knew that if I was going to function, I had to discover the emotion and deal with it, not cover it up. I’ve never had any choice about it. I have also always had to be the “strong” one, the example. I had to keep functioning even when everyone else had an excuse not to. That hasn’t changed, ever.
Am I upset about it. Only in the moments where I am triggered and hit an extreme peak. Over the years I have learned that these mental moments are not necessarily a weakness, but can be a tool. Because of what I have learned through them, I have been able to reach people with similar issues, I have been able to talk to others and sometimes help them see a wider picture. Sure, sometimes I have to take a step back and hide from the world for a while, but I always come back. I allow myself those moments of weakness so that I can find new strength.
For anyone who suffers from emotional distress, you are not alone. You don’t have to hide, there are others of us here and we are willing to help. Even if all you need is a moment to let go, if you need someone to just sit there and let you be. We are all in this together.