Lows- Part Two

When you’re about to go into a low, you know. A couple of days ago I woke up and I felt different. For the past few weeks, I had been feeling so great. I felt happiness, a sense of calm, and I found joy. I attributed my feelings from my marriage being in a really happy, wonderful place as well as getting back into writing. I was sleeping again, and I found a balance to keep my life and all my emotions in line. Then, I woke up one morning, and my sense of security was no longer there.

Anyone who knows me knows that Harry Potter is my all time favorite story. I love everything about it, from the silly moments to the lessons that you can apply to your own life. J.K. Rowling, to me, is the beautiful soul who has helped me get through a lot of undesirable life moments. I have watched and read many of her interviews, and I truly can relate to her. One of the things that has always stuck with me is the symbolism with dementors. Dementors in Harry Potter are the guards that watch over Azkaban, and they basically suck out all of the happiness from within a person. Now it is possible for a witch or wizard to ward against a dementor, but the witch or wizard must be very powerful to succeed. In order to be protected against a dementor one must use a patronus, which is essentially powerful magic that takes the form of an animal to act as a guardian between you and the dementor. Now J.K. Rowling has stated on numerous occasions that she has suffered with depression, and the dementors represent depression. The past couple of days I could feel a dementor lurking by me, and I have been trying to be powerful enough to produce my patronus but I can feel it failing. The light that I had been feeling inside of me is starting to dim, and I can feel my soul starting to detach.

I am starting to not feel anything positive. This is the one thing that I hate about depression because you feel hopeless. Anytime something positive happens I lack the ability to really care, because I feel like something bad is going to happen to balance out the good. Every time I do a simple task, like brushing my hair, I feel myself exerting an immense amount of energy to complete that task. I haven’t even brushed my hair today because I couldn’t bring myself to do it. The reality is, I’m slipping back into a low, and as a result I’m slowly turning in to my empty shell of a person. I’m metamorphosing into a zombie a little more every day, and I can feel it happening but it is almost as if I can’t reverse the process. I am losing my strength, so now I am losing me.

Depression comes along with a lot of really fun sidekicks. Insomnia, fatigue, crying, and overeating are all crowded around me constantly pushing me down. My depression is the main bully, but every bully has their goons. Not sleeping regularly is really starting to fuck with my head. It has only been a couple of days and I am already feeling the repercussions mentally and physically. Depression is a trickle of symptoms. Once you start to feel one of the symptoms, you know the other ones are not too far behind. Every time this happens I try to gear up with all of my armor. I try to channel every ounce of energy to defeat my depression before it fully invades me, but it’s usually successful in taking down my blockades.

I don’t know if everyone who has depression experiences it the same way that I do. With me, it’s not intense right away. It slowly creeps up, with every day more and more of me slipping away into the darkness. At this moment I am feeling my depression, but I am still somewhat functional. I am not having suicidal thoughts, so I am not concerned about that right now. But this is the phase that is kind of scary for me because I know what is about to happen. I know that in a couple of days or in a week I will be on my bedroom floor crying hysterically holding on to my dog. I know that I am going to be in excruciating pain, and I am going to question if I want to be here or not. I know my soul will be completely detached, and knowing that is what my future looks like is terrifying. I know myself and I know my patterns, and I know that I can try to deflect the depression as much as possible but once it starts creeping in there is no going backwards. You’re basically forced to take it in, like you’re the host and your depression is the parasite. The more you wither away the stronger it becomes, and you can feel your armor breaking away.

I am not sharing this with you for pity. I am sharing this because this is my reality. This is something that I deal with on a regular basis, and unfortunately I am being forced to deal with it again. There are so many people out there that have depression, and I feel like they are afraid to talk about it like I was. Because depression is not really talked about, I am afraid that there is a lack of knowledge on what one goes through when they are in the midst of it. I would consider myself successful if I can help everyone understand depression a little bit better, so I am officially inviting everyone into my mind for a better understanding.

I hate mental illness. I hate how it feels like it is entitled enough to invite itself into someones life and take away everything that they are. I hate that it uses torture and pain to get what it wants, to take over you. I especially hate that no matter how many times you overcome it it still comes back for another try to take you away. The best thing you can do is fight it with everything that you have, and constantly tell yourself to stay strong no matter how much strength you lack. Depression is a bully, and bullies never should be given the opportunity to win.

Self-Esteem

I often wonder if the way that I physically view myself is the way that others view me. When I look at myself in the mirror, I try to avoid looking at myself because I am sick of always going through the list of things that I would like to alter on myself. I’m constantly comparing myself to others, and I am always wondering what I must have done in a previous life to look the way that I look.

My husband always tells me that I am beautiful, but let’s be honest, you’re not going to believe anyone who tells you something that you don’t believe. There is always a part of me that thinks that he feels obligated to tell me things like that because he is my husband, but usually I just respond with a casual thank you and call it a day. I know that Stephen probably really thinks that I am beautiful and it is my own issue, so I try not to allow my insecurities to get in the way of our relationship. I am extremely fortunate because I married someone who is very pleasing to the eye, so I always feel guilty that Stephen had to settle for a creature like me.

The list of the things I would want to change about me is long.

  1. I wish I wasn’t as pale as I am.
  2. I wish I was taller.
  3. I wish my hands weren’t ugly.
  4. I wish I had pretty nails.
  5. I wish my hair wasn’t so frizzy.
  6. I wish I had better control of my weight.
  7. I wish my feet were cuter.
  8. I wish I didn’t have a gap in my front teeth.
  9. I wish that my hair was lighter.
  10. In fact, I wish I had less hair.
  11. I wish my boobs were perkier.
  12. I wish I had those really cute back dimples.
  13. I wish that my lips were fuller.

There are several things that I wish I could change about myself, but alas, I am pretty much stuck with this body. I guess I should say that I highly doubt that I, Brookana Tempera, is the ugliest creature to have ever existed in the entirety of the universe, but I definitely am not what society says is beautiful. So is it societies fault that I feel this way about myself? Is it societies fault that I have a habit of comparing how I look to others? Is it societies fault that I can’t bear to look at myself sometimes? Maybe. I grew up around people who have always cared about what they looked like, and I think being around that made me conscious of my physical appearance. But even though I grew up in an environment where how someone visually looks was a significant factor, I still think that I would have had self-esteem issues. Unfortunately, I am pretty much convinced that mostly everyone has a list of things that they would like to change about themselves, and that is pretty sad.

At the end of the day, I remain grateful that I love who I am as a person. I once had a family friend refer to their body as a shell for their soul, and that still resonates with me to this very day. I truly feel like my soul, the energy that is me, does not have a correlation to my body. My body is the armor for my soul, it is the physical matter that allows me to walk alongside others on this planet, but it is not who I am.

I have another list that I think about whenever I start feeling self-conscious about how I look.

  1. I am kind
  2. I am loving
  3. I am selfless
  4. I am funny
  5. I am intelligent
  6. I am analytical
  7. I am organzied
  8. I am determined
  9. I am quick thinking
  10. I am sympathetic
  11. I am someone who fights for what they want
  12. I am fun
  13. I am adventurous

There is more to me than just my body. I am a good person with good intentions, and it is such a shame that I allow myself to get upset about what I see in a mirror. I wish that there was a way that the way we look wasn’t even a factor in how we view ourselves, because for the most part, we all have positive attributes that we often forget about. Think about who you are, not what you look like, but who you truly are, and write it down. That way, when you are feeling down because of what you look like, you can be reminded of what actually matters.

Keep in mind that they way that we view ourselves probably isn’t how the rest of the world views us. We have a tendency as human beings to exaggerate things, and I would like to think that we exaggerate our insecurities. When you constantly focus on something, it becomes easier to blow that thing way out of proportion.

Just remember this, who you are is not what you look like. If you have a beautiful soul, than that is beauty in its purest form.