L: ... Too Fly To Be Depressed?

Depression is the result of a chemical imbalance which, in me, manifested itself in the form of: staring at blank walls for hours; filling my hot showers with tears; struggling to get out of bed; dreading human interaction (more so than usual); and an overall disconnect from everything and everyone.

My depression was a culmination of everything that I let build up over the years, and it hit me at the worst time (because when is the right time for it to hit?)

Let’s Address The Perception:

When I initially decided to reveal to a select few how I was feeling, the reactions were either very supportive or very expected.

The way that people would receive this information is one of the reasons that I kept this information quiet for so long. The supportive reactions were just that: very soft spoken words of encouragement. The very expected reactions were those of selfishness: the ‘but you’re still alive, why are you complaining’; the ‘let me send you links to streamed church sessions’; and the ‘well, we all got problems [insert their problems]’.

I know that the movies and the extreme cases on the news have hardened our hearts to the idea that those surrounding you may be capable of suffering such an ailment, but please remember that it is very possible. And, whether or not you believe in it, if someone else is going through it and chooses to open up to you about it (1) feel honored that they thought that you were human enough to understand that they are not feeling “okay”, (2) try to tear yourself away from YOU for at least 20 minutes and hear that person out, and (3) do not assume that you know what is going on or what it is like. Everyone’s experiences are different and someone else’s depression is not yours.

The Feels:

Let’s talk about what a depression felt like for me:

The Loneliness:

Even though I wasn’t always alone, I always felt alone. I felt like I did not have anyone and could not go to anyone. This is the fault of no one, it’s just an effect that I suffered.

The Sadness:

There was a build-up that lead to my depressed state and it had to do with: my level of activity, the amount of people who rely on me financially, the way that I treat those that I am close to and the fact that I expect similar treatment in return (a bad habit that I am trying to break), the uncertainty about my future, and the negative feelings associated with opening yourself up to others.

This resulted in a bunch of me blaming myself for this continuing pattern in my life where I give my best (and worst) self to people only for them to take it, give nothing in return, and reap the benefit with one foot out the door. These types of things happened to me with past boyfriends, friends, family, and then when it happened again on top of everything else that I was feeling, it was just too much…

This sadness doesn’t easily go away. Mix this with the loneliness that you’re already experiencing and you’ve got one sad drink!

I still haven’t figured out how to deal with or get past this sadness just yet, but I am working on it.

The Denial:

Let’s not forget the fact that we don’t want to be going through this in the first place, so my initial thought was to just deny it.

I did not want to believe that I could experience something like this. But, once I got to the point where I really did not want to have to experience this anymore and that I wanted to get out of it, I was more willing to accept that this was happening. Once I accept it, I can start working towards getting better, was my mindset and it worked. I am now working through this ugly battle.

The Fatigue:

When you are depressed, you literally wake up feeling tired (if you get sleep at all). You often need a nap or a break in your day.

Little things tire you out, your days seem impossibly long (but also not long enough), and your feet weigh a ton anytime you have to get up and move.

So much weighs you down when you are “down”, and the fatigue is just another thing that you have to combat on the road to recovery.  

The Sleepless Nights:

Now, I experienced a complete lack of sleep when I was experiencing my “down time”. I just couldn’t fall asleep. I would lay awake and think, or stare at the walls, or watch “It’s Complicated” or “Living Single” over and over and over. As if those things would “heal” me.

The part that I dreaded the most was that, when the sun would start to set, I would just get sad because I’d know that I would spend another night laying awake and wishing that I could just go to some other subconscious world. I never have dreams but you have no idea how much I prayed for any type of dream to take my mind off of whatever else it was on.

Add to that the fact that I literally could not sleep in my own bed! I would begin my night in my cozy king bed but lay awake for hours. Once I finally got tired of tossing and turning, I would finally give in and move to the couch — the only place that I even have a chance at falling asleep. Hence, the sleeplessness. 

The Loss of Appetite:

As hungry of a state that I constantly live in, it shocked me that I could not eat!

I would find it being 1p.m. or 2p.m. before realizing that I hadn’t eaten a thing. Not because I didn’t have things to eat, but because I literally could not eat. Food would make me sick, but, I guess, to add to the drama of it all, my stomach would growl. 

No clue what the loss of appetite was about, but I didn’t like it when I experienced it. 

The Healing:

I don’t know what other people’s healing is like, but I know that mine is a long process that involves me getting back to my very routine lifestyle.

It is the fact that I decided to leave my very routine bubble that led me to this depressed state, so I am literally backtracking in order to get back on track (which means going back to a completely closed off state, as bad as that sounds). Unfortunately, this is harder to do than it seems like it should be, so I find myself constantly straddling the line between “okay” and “back in”.

My circle is not big, at all, there are probably 3 people that genuinely care about me and my wellbeing apart from family, but there are also people around my campus that make it a point to check on me.

I have so much love for those of you who saw me around campus, noticed I was down and talked to me (Josh and Ron); and those of you who randomly check on me (Corina, Em, Jason and Alicia); and NATHAN thanks for just being there to hug me. You guys have no idea how much those things have meant. You have no idea how far those simple acts go.

In short, the healing is harder than actually going through the depression itself. It’s a process that requires patience. And, it’s not easy, but believe me when I say, IT HAPPENS TO THE BEST OF US. So, if this is happening to you, embrace it, because this too shall pass, and I promise you ain’t too fly to feel it (because I surely thought I was).

XLVII: When Is It Right To Bring Him Home To Mama?

In such hasty times, how does one know when’s the right time to bring that special someone home to meet the parents?

I, personally, say that ‘the longer you can wait, the better’ (and I also feel the same way about introducing him/her to your friends)! But, there are definitely steps and signs to look for to determine whether you are both ready to Meet The Parents:

The Conversation:

Now, some guys do rush into things just as much as some girls do. When the rush is presented, it comes with the opportunity for the correct conversations to be had.

In other words, this is the open door to the talks about where your relationship is headed. Where I’m from, you don’t just introduce any old body to your family, so, in having the appropriate conversations, you ensure that you’re not invited someone into you and your family’s life who doesn’t deserve to be there.

This conversation will look many ways, but the main goal here is to at least talk about it. In talking about it, it is important to weigh the pros and cons of introducing your significant other to your family, it is important to discuss why you even believe that it is time to introduce one another to the family, and it is important because each person can then know what to expect once the family has been introduced and what the next steps for the couple will be.

So, have the conversation! It’s so necessary and it will open the door to truths about whether Meeting The Parents is the correct “next step” in your relationship. 

The Choice:

Sometimes we just convince ourselves that:

(1) we’re great together so there’s no way that this won’t last;

(2) we’re in love and this is what we want; and/or

(3) we’ve made it this far, we might as well go the distance.

This impatience is surely to be to your own detriment. I’ve rushed into introducing someone who is now (of course) an ex to my family and I completely regret it. I cherish my family so much, and when I was finally shown who my ex really was, it was so disappointing for me to have introduced such a horrible person to my flock of great people.

So, although your significant other may seem to be so enticing, so smart, so beautiful, so perfect now, be wary until you truly know this person before bringing them home. Protect your family from him/her by getting to know who you’re dealing with before choosing to make MTP the next step in your relationship.

The Coincidence:

Sometimes we accidentally Meet The Parents!

You know, that awkward run in, or the emergency that removes you from the comfort of your date night and places you smack dab in the emergency waiting room with all of your family and your newest beau.

This situation is often unavoidable, so order your steps carefully following this initial encounter.

The Commitment:  

In my opinion, the best time to introduce him/her to the family is when you’ve both committed yourselves to each other. At this point, you both know that you’re serious about each other, you’ve chosen to be faithful to each other, to respect and love each other, to support each other & to put each other first, etc. This is when it’s REAL.

At this point, there should be no doubts in the minds of either party and you both should know each others ins and outs, love languages, wants and needs, modes of communication, etc. You know who you’re dealing with at this point.

The only con to waiting this long is that you run the risk of your family not liking him or her. But, by this point, the idea is that you’ve put your significant other through an intensive vetting process and there’s no way that you could love some that your family doesn’t (unless they are choosing not to for other reasons). 

Good luck to all of the couples out there taking this big step! I wish you all the best.