then, now. here, there.
Many of you know already. Some will be shocked to read. When I was in high school, I suffered from crippling anxiety (of which I didn't know had a name) that spiraled into a deep depression where I battled suicidal thoughts for months if not years. I secluded myself from family and friends, feeling worthless and abandoned (yet I was the one who chose to "leave" before they could leave me... ass backwards, I know). I guess it was the performer in me because I went on like this for awhile, struggling alone.
At my darkest moments I was cutting myself to find relief (mostly because I was too much of a goody-too-shoes to find drugs or drink, like the actual thought of breaking the "rules" sent me into a panicked anxiety attack LOL). This was also the epitome of my perfectionist mentality. This mentality is one of my greatest strengths, as I continue to strive to better myself, and one of my toughest weaknesses in the practice of continuously offering myself forgiveness for. Perfectionism for me leads to the idea of never being enough. Whether this started from my days as a competitive gymnast, attempting perfection every time I stepped in the gym, or from the deeply buried feelings of abandonment from my father walking out on our family at age 3, I will never know. All I can do now is unpack each event, the emotions hiding beneath the memories and offer my younger self forgiveness, surrounding her with love, for she is the foundation of who I am today.
As I reflect on the high school version of me, it's not with sadness, it's with profound love for the strength I embodied without the slightest clue. Depression is not something that ever "goes away". It is a part of me. It is the dark to my light. The moon to my sun. It reminds me that even in the hardest of times, I will unbury a new strength and in the moments of un-calculated pure joy, there isn't another shoe waiting to drop, it is simply a moment I have found myself wrapped around the darkness, giving her the biggest hug, oozing with love.
This month has been one of the hardest months I have gone through here in NYC. This month, the dark has reigned and rained. If you don't know, my apartment became infested with bed bugs. Something unfortunately very common in NYC and a bitch to deal with. Throughout this process, I have felt isolated, alone, abandoned, unheard, incredibly depressed and frustrated in fighting for my rights as a human, not to mention a tenant. All of this is not to say that I haven't found peace, or extreme gratitude for those who have held me up, listened to me scream cry or who have offered witty banter with a side of empathy. To all of you, I thank you.
I share these parts of me, with you, not for you to feel sorry for me or for you to fight my fight, but more simply, to share my process of being human and how even the dark can offer peace. See, I was gently reminded by my sister the other day that, yes even though this month I have been the sole proprietor funding Van Leewen's ice cream (it's vegan and delicious, 10/10 reccomend), and I may or may not have eaten chips and guac for dinner several nights in a row (it's true, I did), I am a different human within tough circumstances. I have not failed myself, nor have I failed in general, for I have grown my toolbox and I celebrate the small victories of each day with a grateful heart. So yes, maybe I am low key eating my feelings, but at least I am still feeling and I know, that I'm emotionally eating in order to find comfort (they say the first step is always awareness....). Each day is its own roller coaster of emotions and experiences, but boy am I grateful to still be on the ride buckled in, even if, yes, my arms and legs have not remained inside the vehicle while it's been in motion.