I entered this spring feeling like a dormant seed: buried, isolated, and unseen. It was too cold for me to grow; the only thing I could feel was rain. There wasn’t enough oxygen to breathe, and what I had inside me wasn’t enough to sustain me. I was submerged, and no one knew. With all the talking I do professionally, I never fixed my lips to speak to anyone about what I was feeling personally. I created the soil for my own suffering. My default was to keep going, but when I finally looked around and reached out, I wasn’t alone in the sunken place.
I’ve never claimed to have depression, but I do get depressed at times. For some reason, this most recent slump was more hopeless than I’ve ever felt. It was disheartening to realize that no one noticed, but I’ve been challenged to look at myself to explore why I didn’t reach out and why so many of us don’t.
Seeds needs water, oxygen, and warm temperatures to grow. I only had the rain. I never came up for air, because I felt like there wasn’t time to be sad; things had to be done, and I was responsible for handling them. Instead of surrounding myself with the people who could warm my spirit and comfort me, I isolated myself in my cold queen bed in an attempt to sleep away the feelings and situations that were burdening me. I didn’t recognize that my need to work harder was a red flag, and disconnecting was another. More than anything I needed a friend to know how I was feeling. I needed to reserve some of the effort I put into everything else, to make sure I had enough strength left to fight for me.
Naturally, I could blame society and all the ways we are taught to be strong, keep going, and tough it out, but on an individual level, there’s work that needs to be done. Why couldn’t I speak up for the person who should matter most? Me. Why was my voice silent? Why was it easier to play into the façade of happy and hard-working than it was to simply say, I’m not okay?
If I’m honest with myself, one reason I didn’t reach out was because some of the triggering situations weren’t that big or I believed I should have been able to handle it. I was judging my feelings, instead of exploring them. The fact is, I wasn’t okay. I was emotionally hurt, mentally overwhelmed, and physically drained.
While I wanted to sit in my sorrows and be left alone, I needed to be reaching out. I needed to talk it out. By simply blurting out “I’m depressed,” I got the conversation and connection I needed from my friends. Internally, I felt like I shouldn’t have to be down to get attention, but if we all have our own struggles, it’s unfair to assume everyone can see the extent of yours if YOU don’t say anything. It’s our job to take ownership of our needs. It’s our responsibility to acknowledge our feelings, set boundaries, and ask for help.
Sometimes it’s easier said than done. I’m queen of the blame game and subliminal communication. I had to make a therapy appointment for this one. My therapist says, I need to own my space. I need to change my self-talk to reflect that I am WORTH stopping everything for. My feelings DESERVE to be shared. It’s okay to not be okay. It’s not okay to sit alone and wait to be rescued. We don’t grow that way.
If we want to be budding seeds, we have to open up to receive the oxygen and create room for the sunlight to enter. We do this, by speaking up. I’m committed to bettering my communication. I am learning to acknowledge my feelings, and I will start speaking up for me.