I guess its time I get something off my chest. I’ve obviously never been afraid to be real and honest here. Its one of the things I am truly proud of. I know being real isn’t for everyone…but its what works for me so I am going to keep doing it.
This week has been a pretty emotional week for me. My clinical internship ended and that meant saying good by to students I have worked with for over a year. I also had to say good by to the senior staff at my clinic who has been so incredibly supportive of me academically, professionally and personally. Even with my transition…they have been amazing. Then, on Thursday, we received word that my friend had died. It was just a lot this week.
Friday morning, I woke up and did my typical morning routine to get ready for work. I was doing my scurrying around, dreading going into the office but also excited for my vacation to begin. As I was in the kitchen getting my dog fed, I stopped for a moment. I looked around at my house…went and looked in the mirror…and I just stared at myself. Then, it hit me…
My depression is back.
You may remember that a few weeks ago, I wrote about seasonal depression and trying to be mindful of those close to you in the event they suffered from this. I have struggled with depression for most of my life due to my gender dysphoria. In addition, the seasonal depression from mid November to mid January has gotten worse since my mother died a few years back.
I spent a good chunk of the weekend evaluating everything that was impacting me and causing me to be back in this depressive boat that I had managed to avoid for the past two years. I realized it is truly a multitude of factors and not just any one thing. When I pieced it all together, I came up with these as contributing factors:
- My family history of depression
- My transition being incredibly far behind where my doctor and I expected it to be two years ago
- Losing the support I had at my internship site
- A work environment that does not feel safe
- The loss of my friend
- Spending both Thanksgiving and Christmas home alone this year
- My family rejecting me
- My brother’s upcoming birthday
That list isn’t all inclusive but it includes some of the major factors that have lead me to where I am now. The good thing…I have recognized it. I have reached out to a few trusted friends and I have even made an appointment to begin anti-depressants again.
Why do I bring this up here in my blog? As I said earlier, I try not to shy away from the difficult issues. I think I proved that when I disclosed my transition here. The other reason I bring it up though is that most of my friends thought everything was fine. They were all celebrating my upcoming graduation, which I am still very happy about. I think everyone just thought I was fine and I certainly wasn’t letting anyone know any differently.
But in the end, I am not fine. Now, I am not in such a position that I am at any kind of risk but I know full well what can happen if I don’t reach out to others now. I am fortunate that way. How many others are less fortunate and lack the friendships, experience and education on mental illness that I have?
There are so many struggling during this time of year. There are people who have few family and friends. There are people who have lost family or friends due to either death or a shattered relationship. There are people who will be alone. There are people struggling financially. There are people who just feel anxious, empty, alone and scared. These people may not be willing or ready to reach out to others like I did this weekend. They may need your support.
If you know someone who has shown a change in their behaviors….reach out to them. If you know someone who has suffered the loss of a loved one…reach out to them. If a friend needs to talk…listen to them. Its far too easy for us to get caught up in the joy of the holiday season and loss sight of others who are struggling just to get out of bed each day.
In conclusion, I want to say thank you to my friends who have listened as I have talked. I want to thank all of you for being there. I want to thank those who have helped me on this crazy journey called life to help me be more aware of mental illness. I want to thank everyone who has been there for me in the past and send a special thank you to all of you who are here for me now.
As I begin my vacation, I am just going to breathe and remind myself of what I need to do so I can conquer this beast again. I have done it before. I will do it again. I am going to just breath, focus on my self care and make the healthier choices. I am also extending a hand to anyone out there who may be struggling with depression and letting you know you are not alone.
If you are struggling, just breathe. If you need to talk, reach out. If you don’t feel you have someone safe to reach out to…reach out to me.
See it on Flickr.
Cliff Hill – snow A
Dirt Road/curve – brown
Gravel Ground -snow- curve1