No Rhyme or Reason

I’ve never been depressed. Sure, I’ve had bad times and I’ve had my own share of craziness. I’ve laid in bed at night and started crying for no rhyme or reason at all. But overall, even when things are as dark as can be, I am lucky enough to have the ability to say “I’m feeling depressed,” as opposed to “I have depression.”

I’ve never been depressed, but I’m slowly learning that there’s a big difference between those statements, and the key word is feeling.

In Driving Off a Bridge and Other Fears, I discussed a very confusing and difficult situation between Wilbur and myself. It was written out of pure and raw emotion at, what I thought, was the end of a promising relationship. That post was written from the perspective of a sad, rejected, and very confused young woman with no idea of the horrors depression can have on a person; this post is being written from the perspective of the same woman, now humbled and contemplative of what two months difference can make in understanding and education.

Following that post in January, Wilbur contacted me only three short days later. We talked. A lot. And some hard things were discussed as to what had caused the entire “Hiccup” in our relationship. The underlying factor was his depression.

I had known he struggled with depression, but I didn’t know to what extent. In all honesty, I hadn’t considered his condition to be more than just something to be aware of, and I definitely never thought it would wiggle into our lives and cause such destructive thoughts. Since our make-up, though, I’ve done a lot of reading on depression and cannot believe how off I was in my thinking of the condition.

Depression is literally one of the most helpless and frustrating experiences a person can face. It’s sometimes feeling sad, but it also brings feelings of emptiness, isolation, and self-hate. Those afflicted can feel paralyzed in their own minds and bodies. It’s not something they can simply “get over.”

People who suffer from depression often feel frustrated with feeling like they are a burden to those they care about. With this, they tend to push away people they need the most and end up mentally exhausting themselves with worrying about if their sadness is bringing down their loved ones as well.

Does this sound incredibly disheartening to you? It does to me. It breaks my heart that this person I care so deeply about has this internal battle going on and there’s nothing I can do to help. And that’s the worst part: there is nothing I can do to help!

In addition to taking the time to educate myself on what Wilbur goes through sometimes, I also have been teaching myself some self-bettering skills. One is patience. Another is that words are not always the best gift. Seriously, saying things like, “Things will get better.” or “You’re going to be okay.” are not ideal. Instead, I’ve begun training myself to simply be there for him during the times he needs me, and stressing that I will be beside him through everything for as long as he asks me to be. Offering advice isn’t helpful because, well, I simply don’t know exactly what he is going through. So just being there for him, believing in him, and encouraging him are some of the only things I’m able to provide.

I won’t pretend to understand depression as a whole. I’m not sure if anyone can actually claim such a thing. However, I am slowly treading the waters, becoming more knowledgeable of an invisible poison hidden in this sinful world and also becoming more compassionate to those in our society who have suffered for far too long from something beyond their control. Educate yourself, friends! And maybe then the world will begin to become a bit more welcoming on an environment for all…

Change has to begin somewhere.

Then Her Heart Hardened

I have some very important information for all you out there in cyberspace: break ups suck. It has been over a week now since Army blindsided me and I’m not sure if I’ve ever felt more drained. I’ve arrived, however, to the point where I am sick and tired of all things lovey-dovey. I find myself glaring at couples I pass, I laugh maliciously at sweet little notes found on Pinterest, and if another rom-com movie trailer is played on my TV, I swear I’m going to go live in a cave somewhere. I am just sick of love. And I’m sick of caring.

***EDIT: Okay, so this post was written on Monday, June 29 and scheduled to be posted on Friday, July 3. It is now Wednesday, July 1 and I’ve realized something crucial: I am stronger than the girl I was on Monday. However, instead of simply deleting this text and moving forward, I’m going to let it post. But not without a bit of editing to be shared at the end. For anyone going through a break up experience right alongside of me, take note. In only two days I’m already better! So onto the original post…

I went out Saturday night with some of my best girlfriends. It was meant to be an evening of fun and laughter and girl time, and for the majority it was. However, being a good looking group of girls, the night proceeded to bring numerous guys. By the time we left the second bar, I had six drinks bought for me, four of which I had to give away (you’re welcome, ladies from Cadillac) on account of needing to drive home safely. The night continued with me being poked, prodded, and forced to stand awkwardly close in order to hear their slurred, cheesy pick up lines. By the end of the night I was left with a banging migraine and an aching heart.

I felt the need to let my girlfriends know how much fun I had though. Perhaps this was to try and convince myself, but I think it was more so I wouldn’t hurt their feelings. They wanted me to have fun; that’s why they invited me out. They wanted me to forget; that’s why they kept pushing the night to continue. They wanted me to know how much they care, and though I am glad they do, in my heart I can’t seem to muster that kind of want in return. I just no longer want to care.

I keep being told things like, “Don’t let this harden your heart.” “Get out and just meet someone else.” “He isn’t worth the pain.” “You’re far too amazing to even care.” And I appreciate the support, I really do, but I can’t help but feel that the advice is falling on deaf ears. I feel so drained of all feelings right now. I’m just… empty. I feel as if I allowed myself to gain all this momentum into happiness and then crash into a wall. Just like a butterfly, I had burst out of my cocoon just to find my wings clipped. No matter how much I try to live day-by-day, the past and the future keep pounding me into a submissive, wallowing shell of a woman.

I thought that X was the pinnacle of the hurt in my life. Every person I dated following X left a bad taste in my life. They were liars, cheaters, immature bullies, and far-too hopeless romantics to be taken more seriously than a first date. The exception was Army. He broke every rule I had set for myself on the dating front; he was someone I could actually see myself being in a committed relationship. (I mean, just read Drag Out My Demons for the full disclosure of what Army was and is to me.) Then he broke my rule for relationships: I fell in love with him… and I told him! My one rule! Do not be the first one to say those three words. Yet I did. I feel like an absolute idiot for letting myself become so entwined.

Because, in the end, he too became the exact thing I feared: someone okay with leaving.

Sometimes I laugh at myself. This week I’ve been laughing a lot. Looking back, I’ve taken so much pride in things that make me weak. Caring about someone as much as I did (do) Army is a weakness. It’s a weakness that is physically, emotionally, and mentally harming me. And being one with a low tolerance to pain, I’m calling quits. I’m tapping out. I’m surrendering.

It’s time to just let it go. Let go of the care and the sadness and the feelings of need for anyone but myself. I’m sick of being the one continuously trampled upon. It’s time I thought about myself and focused on myself more than every other person in my life.

From here on out, I no longer care.

*** EDIT: Pathetic, right? Not even two days ago I was going to allow this one person to beat me into a raving, uncaring crone. I was going to enable this guy, who cast me aside for his own personal selfishness, to change me. For the worse, may I add. No, no, no…

Ashley, caring is not a weakness. Caring is actually one of the strongest ambitions a person can have. Seriously, look at the world. Were there more people who truly and genuinely cared about others, the world would not be turning the way it is now. No, caring is not a weakness, and you are far from being weak.

Today I was told by a friend that I am the most emotionally strong woman she knows. I have not felt very strong lately. But you know what? It’s been only a week since I was hit by a train of loss and grief. And within that week I have forced myself to smile through the tears, gone to work when all I felt like doing was crying, enjoyed time with family and friends, met new people, planned a short summer vacation, and simply continued living. All while refraining from reaching out to the one person that I wish were there for me at this time.

I’m not weak.

I’m incredibly strong. 

A caterpillar can become a butterfly after a lot of time and effort. However, no matter how hard a butterfly tries, it can never be a caterpillar again. Army helped me grow out of my cocoon and become the person I am today. I will be eternally grateful for his assistance. It is not possible, though, for me to diminish into a lowlier person. I will not let it become a possibility.

I will keep living my life as the “f****** amazing” person Army left. I will not stop caring, I will not stop feeling, and above all I will not stop being happy. This is simply a bump in the road, and though my heart still hurts, I know deep down that he’s the one who’s losing out. Not me.

The Worst Personality Trait

“Everyone will go through some hard times at some point. Life isn’t easy. Just something to think about..did you know the people that are the strongest are usually the most sensitive? Did you know the people who exhibit the most kindness are the first to get mistreated? Did you know the ones who take care of others all the time are usually the ones who need it the most? Did you know the three hardest things to say are I love you, I’m sorry, and help me? Sometimes just because a person looks happy, you have to look past their smile to see how much pain they may be in. To all my friends who are going through some issues right now–let’s start an intention avalanche. We all need positive intentions right now. If I don’t see your name, I’ll understand. May I ask my friends wherever you might be, to kindly copy and paste this status for one hour to give a moment of support to all of those who have family problems, health struggles, job issues, worries of any kind and just needs to know that someone cares. Do it for all of us, for nobody is immune. I hope to see this on the walls of all my friends just for moral support.”

-A Friend’s Facebook status

Continue reading “The Worst Personality Trait”