I was on twitter this morning and it brought to my attention that today is #WorldMentalHealthDay. I read this tweet from Hadi Kondabolu and it resonated with me.
It felt like this past Sunday, I exited a months-long (lowkey lifelong) relentless depression. Yes I had good days in between and moments of achievement in my career and my physical appearance is improving, but in general I’ve been fighting for my life for months.
They say happiness is a choice and as a person who battles with depression that saying cme off to me as shallow. Like okay Susan good job, you just ended this public health crises with that congratulations. Why didn’t I think of that 🙄
It’s only shallow if you lead with that, but in all honesty I came to the realization of how true that just might be. I had to decide that I deserved to actually experience happiness in my lifetime. In my bones, from within. I’m not talking external gratification. I mean, being the source of my own happiness and love.
I remember I came to this decision in August when my personal life began to fall in shambles. I could either self-destruct and throw in the towel, blame the world for betraying me, and allow my misery to turn me hollow. The suicidal thoughts returned in full force because I truly felt hopeless.
In that moment, I couldn’t see my future or what I was even achieving in my present as I was producing a major show. My brain had convinced me that I was a fraud and that my opportunities would soon run out.
Now I’m no holy-roller, but a girl had to go to church. I needed to hear somebody’s praying grandmomma wailing gospel. After a lifelong battle with this shit, my soul was finally weary. I was tired of being so hard on myself, weary of internally being so vicious to myself.
Miraculously, my friend reached out me because she had a feeling that something was wrong – and I have to say that checking up on your friends is the key to saving a life. I had isolated myself again and it just felt like God had sent me a resource. I was in a puddle on my floor when she called.
I guess I come off as this strong, quirky, funny girl. I don’t like to disarm myself around people, even my closest friends, and realized that too was one of my causes of depression. I rarely let my guard down. As much I create a persona that makes it seem as if I’m an open book, in truth I’m guarded.
I feel like if people knew the real me and the intensity that comes with that, then I’d be unlovable and rejected. It’s better to isolate myself by choice to avoid that altogether. It was a defense mechanism I’ve utilized since adolescence. The more I grew, the more I stayed the same. My spirit had had enough.
My friend introduced me to her friend that told me about free yoga in the park in my neighborhood and that same weekend I attended my first class. It felt like weights were being lifted from my joints to my soul. I didn’t realize how much I don’t BREATHE. I didn’t realize how much I don’t turn off my brain and live in the moment.
I remember that first class looking up into the sky feeling the sun on my face, seeing the clouds and palm trees, hearing the ducks and cranes squak in the distance and realizing “I really moved to California, I live here. I’m living my dream.” Despite going flat broke, despite losing weight, despite being disappointed by heroes, I was living my dream. I’ve been waiting to face these obstacles all of my life because it comes with the territory.
And even upon realizing this – which gave me good days – I still fell back into bouts of sadness because at the end of the day I’m not satisfied until I get what I want. But what is that? I recently had to ask myself.
Because a year ago I wanted this. To live in Los Angeles and establish myself as a producer. Hell a year ago, my dream was to have my own bed. Living in my mother’s home for two years in New York, it was my dream to have my own space. Now I have my own studio, but I forgot how much I wanted this!
My goal now, is to just live for every day. My confidence is only growing because I acknowledge now that I have to choose happiness. I deserve it, I’ve worked pretty hard towards my career and self- development. But it’s about being present. I have to be self-aware of my actions and environment. I’ve had a series of epiphanies that have taught me different things I need to learn about my ways.
I’ve come to terms that I might have this for the rest of my life, but this past Sunday as I looked out my window and played Michael Jackson’s Forever Michael album that saved my adolescent life time and time again, I realized I had come so far from the hot-tempered, angsty, uncertain girl, teen, and young adult that I was.
I feel myself growing more comfortably into my skin, learning patience, staying in touch with friends, and accepting that writing is what will save my life. Acknowledging all of my good, bad, and ugly will save my life.
I told God, the universe, whoever was listening in August that I just want to be free. I just want to create art that will make me feel better. I just want to be surrounded by love and be a source of that. And since that declaration, I’ve paid attention to the new opportunities and people that have appeared in my life.
The source of my depression was that I put too much pressure on myself. If ever I was in a personal crisis, I’d disappear only wanting people to witness me when I’m poppin. It fostered inconsistency and procrastination and that snowballed into a whole nother realm of guilt and the cycle continued.
There’s no cure to this. But at the end of the day, it’s a good life and I’m keeping it. Stay in touch with your people, know when they’re bullshitting. Acknowledge your pain. For me, my pain has been a transition into becoming my best self.
I am truly happy to be me, and for as long as I’ve been sad I can finally appreciate this new era of bad bitchery I’m entering. There may be bad days, but that’s how I know the good ones will be especially lit. On this Mental Health Day, I’m just glad I didn’t give up.
– Carefree Maroon