I looked at myself in the mirror and smiled. I liked what I saw in the mirror. My hair was falling in a low bun, my makeup was done (though minimal) and my complexion, for the first time in what seemed like ages, was clear. I took a deep breath and walked back to my desk.
There was a time I didn’t like what I saw in the mirror. Not so much because of the insecurities I discussed in my last post, but because of an ugly, twisted word called depression. Know the one?
Maybe like me, you’ve been up close and personal with depression. You’ve looked him straight in the eye and walked a long twisting road alongside him. Rattled with exhaustion, fear and extreme anxiety he gripped you to where you couldn’t move. You stayed stationary and wondered if life would ever get better. Until one day, someone, somewhere saw you needed help.
That was my life at this point last year. Unlike the blonde farm girl with the red boots in my Instagram pictures, I struggled to take a shower much less get my hair done on time. I don’t know how it happened, or when it started happening, but once I started slipping, I fell harder and harder until I seriously contemplated whether or not I would ever be myself again.
I never had suicidal thoughts really. I never wanted to hurt myself in any way. I just didn’t want to wake up some mornings. I just wanted to sleep and stay confined in my bedroom. I had severe migraines almost daily. I had panic attacks. I constantly cried and I lost about 10 pounds. I look back at pictures from that time in my life and I cringe a little. Though on the outside I looked like I had it together, internally I was falling all to pieces.
For a long time, I tried to pretend I had it together. I, by no means, grew up in a bad family. On the contrary, I grew up in a really good one. However, like everyone we have our problems. We have skeletons in the closet and people’s names that we don’t mention. There were fights and feelings hurt and really bad memories. And despite my environment and family dynamic, I think I’ve always struggled, to an extent, with anxiety. Maybe it’s genetic. Maybe it’s circumstance. Regardless, it’s always been there. Combine that with a deep web of insecurities and you have a total mess of a girl. And though things may have been messy internally, they were always perfect externally.
I made sure, in high school especially, to be the best at whatever I did. I had more titles than could fit in the yearbook. One that wasn’t printed, but should’ve been as much as I heard it, was “Little Miss Perfect”. I continued to hold tight to that title throughout college and even into the beginning stages of marriage. My career has been no different. Until the last year. Until the miscarriage, and really, until my struggle with depression.
The grief associated with miscarriage is a bear of it’s own. It’s tons of emotions and hormones that I wasn’t prepared to face. However, the depression that settled into my life, was by far the worst part of the journey. During that time, ‘Little Miss Perfect” fell all to pieces. And everybody-close to her anyway-saw.
I spoke at a church earlier this year on “Knowing your Identity in Christ” and was recently reminded at She Speaks that not only does every person have a story, but every person has worth, even me. I’m on a medication daily now for my depression. I am sitting at home as we speak, taking a sick day, to nurse a blinding migraine that totally thwarted my plans for today. But as I drove home with a throbbing pain in my left eye, I almost smiled to myself. “Oh what a difference a year makes…” I thought.
“Little Miss Perfect” used to cry when she had to take a sick day, and she didn’t rest. She worked. And internally, beat herself up. Sick days were not acceptable. Her health didn’t matter. Her needs didn’t matter. Holding it all together-tightly-mattered. Are you there too?
As I sit here and type this, there is a nest of little baby birds chirping outside. I have the TV on, the fan on and I’m snuggled up tightly with Lily. I haven’t checked my work email today. I haven’t worked on my business plan or my goals for my blog in the next couple of months. Nothing has been checked off of a to-do list and I slept most of the day. Tonight, providing my headache continues to ease, I may even ride out to the farm with Jon. I will take a shower later tonight while soft music plays and do my nightly skincare routine. I’ll put on pretty pajamas and relax. Because I am worth that.
I want you to know, the pretty pictures on Instagram and the excited posts about building a house and a farm, are truly wonderful things that I want to share because I haven’t always been there. It may seem like it to you, but I haven’t-especially this past year. And it is truly redemptive for me to see the beauty out of the ashes.
This year has been hard-really hard- but I feel like God whispers for me to share the good and the bad, in an effort to provide hope in both the good and the bad. I want you to know if you if you are in the depression cycle and you just don’t know how in the world you got to that point, to be honest enough to tell someone and get the help you deserve. You will get better. It will get easier and life really is beautiful. You just can’t see it right now. I want you to know, despite the girl I used to pretend that I was, I really do have a love for others and for the first time in my life, I really do value myself too.
I also want you to know, the old saying “the breaking of you could be the making of you” is true in my case, and looking back, I am so glad “Little Miss Perfect” fell all to pieces and was put back together again.