Listen to Yourself Sometimes
by Emma Read
I am nearly 32. I can remember being depressed on and off since I was 11. Maybe it was due to a delicate constitution combined with sensitivty and certain environmental stresses when I was growing up. I had always been quiet and shy but as I got older it became suicidal depression (which I eventually somehow got through on my own) and then all-out social anxiety even though I was able to put on a composed--even confident at times--front for the world to see. This anxiety has held me back and I'm actually upset it has stunted my life so.
I am generally empathetic toward people with mental disorders as I believe they suffer from brain chemical imbalances--if we treat people with diabetes because their bodies are unable to produce insulin, why should we not treat people whose brains are unable to reach chemical balance?
At the same time, I believe it's a fine line between a genuine illness and a difficult though ultimately temporary period of emotional distress. That's why I didn't listen to my unhappiness for all those years. I could talk myself out of a total meltdown, so there are definitely times it was good that I didn't listen to my negative thoughts. I didn't surrender but I limped along in life.
Finally at age 31 I started really listening and considering my observations of myself. I started taking an antianxiety/antidepressant about 9 months ago. It's the bare minimum, just enough to calm the anxiety down and help me grow to become the real me that had been locked inside. I am finally accepting for myself the help I would give to others. I was compassionate toward the troubled because I needed to be compassionate with myself.
It still makes me mad at times that the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back is a relationship breaking up. It was humiliating--I realized I had broken my own rules and let myself fall in love with and want to be with someone. I had finally let someone in even though I didn't want to need anyone ever. However, now I can also say it helped drive me in the right direction. I broke my rules because part of me WANTED to. I wanted a close connection and I might even deserve one.
Even if you feel trapped in a directionless void, consider that maybe, just maybe your subconscious is actually trying to tell you through various actions you don't even think about that something can be changed. Be kinder to yourself like I learned to be and don't be afraid to seek out assistance you wouldn't ordinarily try. I hope someone out there will find this helpful. Good luck.