I have a neuro exam Wednesday, so naturally I’m back. It’s funny because I just got through a hell week consisting of two exams and two practicals in two days, so I had written a post as to why I’m thankful for GWCF, so stay tuned for that one. However, I wanted to take the time to reflect a little bit on the last year. For those of you that may not know, my birthday was this past week (Thanksgiving to be precise). It was an amazing couple of days filled with food, family, and the best friends a girl could ask for. I’ve honestly never felt so blessed, so before I attack this article just wanted to give a quick shout out to everyone that made my birthday special whether it was getting up early to get to the gym early to surprise me with balloons and donuts to making my office explode with the most thoughtful gifts to coming out and celebrating with me on the dance floor, I have truly never felt more loved and I owe it all to you guys.
I hate attention, it’s why I hate my birthday, but to be honest my birthday, as of last year represents way more than that now. This is hard for me to write mostly because I do enjoy being seen as someone with their shit slightly together, however, as of last year I will always associate my birthday with the most epic of breakdowns, which lead to the most epic of comebacks.
Let’s back pedal to last year. I decided to go out for my birthday food, dancing, and drinks what could go wrong? We were about halfway through the night until one of my friends decided to leave. I walked her out and before I know it I was in her car breaking down, sobbing uncontrollably. I had cried in her car for nearly three hours, and I kept saying I don’t know why (I knew why), but I’m just SO sad. I woke up the next day and felt just so emotionally hungover I can’t believe what had happened and that I would not only have to come face-to-face with my dirty little secret, but that I had to share it with someone. And today I share it with you.I struggle with depression. It’s manageable and to be honest it’s why I love to workout. Working out keeps it away for the most part. It’s never been something I considered serious or nothing I couldn’t handle – just a series of ups and downs that I can just wait out like I would a storm. Lately that year though, I had felt off in trying to wait out the storm I had submerged myself in school, working, and working out anything to keep my mind off of it. I thought it worked until a couple of months later I’m in my friend’s car crying uncontrollably for no apparent reason. It was then when I realized this wasn’t something I could ignore this was something I needed to actively work through and believe it or not the best way to work through it is to talk about it.
It’s amazing the different reactions you get. I remember the friend whose car I was crying in kept telling me well, maybe you should just change your perspective. Maybe you need to look at all the good you have in your life. I had never felt more misunderstood or judged in my life. Depression isn’t a pity party you throw for yourself it isn’t a state of ingratitude or selfishness, or a state determined my materialistic things or external triggers. Depression is a state of mind a chemical imbalance that suffocates you and leaves you feeling helpless. It steals your joy like a thief in the night, as you’re left alone to put the pieces back together. The more I thought about how blessed I am, the more I hated myself. How could I feel this way if I have been blessed with so many things? So no, I didn’t need to change my perspective, I needed to fight. Reactions like that are what leave people terrified to open up, and though that would have been more than enough of a reason to never talk about it again, I knew I’d lose if I didn’t open up to the one person that deserved to know what was going on.
I walked into the gym Monday to workout (I miss having Mondays off!) and pulled Tara aside to let her know why I disappeared that night. I told her everything the meltdown, the reaction, and how I was currently feeling. I will never forget her reaction her face made me so sad. I could tell she was hurting because I was hurting. That broke my heart. I’ll never forget how she listened with her heart and not just her ears. I’ll never forget how accepted I felt, and more than anything, how safe I felt. It in that moment that I realized things were going to be ok. She is truly my best friend, I have always known that, but that moment pretty much sealed the deal. It’s rare to have a friend that cares and loves you enough to feel your pain, and I’m beyond blessed to have that in Tara. I wish I could say everything turned around and got better but for the next four weeks the emotional roller coaster continued until the storm cleared early January. There were many weeks of mood swings, being mean to Tara for no apparent reason (still sorry about that girl), and skipping workout until I finally felt like myself again heavy deadlifts fix everything. But if there’s anyone reading this and you’?re in a dark place I want to let you in on what helped me and hope this helps you while you wait out the storm.
So what am I getting at? My birthday will never be the same; a small part of me was afraid I’d fall into the same pattern, but this year has been nothing but a joyful one. My birthday was filled with so much joy and for that I am blessed; it’s amazing how different my mind is this year compared to last. However, I know that wasn’t the case last year and may not be the case for some people reading this. Though I conquered the last storm, I know others await and that’s ok. Storms come and go, sometimes we let them knock us down. But it’s that same exact storm that is actually a reminder of how strong and resilient we are. How loved we are. Though I hated the idea of sharing this (I don’t want attention, and I sure as hell don’t want pity), it’s a small step in preparing myself for either the next storm or helping someone through theirs. Depression sucks. It’s not easy. It’s especially hard if you feel like you’re going through it alone and even worse to go through it with people who just don’t understand. Know that you are loved, and that this will pass. Know if you’re reading this and need someone to talk to, I’m here. I get it. Know that you are stronger than any storm and resilient enough to get through anything. Until the storm passes get up, lift heavy shit, and get better.
I’m sorry this was long, but there was a lot to cover. As always, thanks for reading this, thanks for reminding me of my purpose, and thank you for bringing out the best in me, sharks.
– Coach Hazel