July 21, 2014


As much as I strive to continue to live between labels, I still find myself attaching to certain things related to my life and my experiences. Depression, generalized anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, attention deficit disorder....these are all "labels" that have been given to me at some point in my life (mostly recent). Some of these I've been diagnosed with through a medical doctor. Some I've diagnosed myself with! (Thank you Dr. Google!) And some I've been tested for but never followed up to find out the result due to insurance issues.

All of these things had one main thing in common: I was letting them define me. I used them as a way to cope and deal with the struggles I was experiencing. What I learned through my own experience is this: depression is REAL. Anxiety is REAL. ADD, Bipolar, these are all very REAL! But I let them define me. I let myself believe that because I have depression, I am depression. I allowed these disorders to take over my life; my being.

It took so much to get past this viewpoint. I was offered and encouraged to use prescription medication to help myself. Anyone who knows me knows that I am usually fairly skeptical about medication. Please do not misread this to think that I don't believe in medicine. I absolutely believe in medicine. Medicine has saved lives. For me personally, it has helped me through some very hard times in my life and I am forever grateful for that resource at a time when I felt like I was losing myself. But I didn't want to be on medication forever. I wanted to be able to use it, temporarily, the way in which it was intended, to help me through the hard stuff and get me back on track to feeling good; to feeling more like me. I feel lucky to have only needed medication temporarily and to have found something that has helped me even more than medicine did. I still get bouts of these feelings from time to time and I worry about what the winter will do to me this year. (I forgot another label! SAD--seasonal affective disorder--this one took over my life for the better part of last winter.)

When I first saw this photo, I was moved to instant tears. It was the most perfect description of how I had been feeling for so long and I couldn't believe that there were other people in the world who could describe so perfectly what I was feeling. It meant I wasn't alone. It meant there was at least one other person out there who understood. And it meant what I was feeling was REAL.

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