Thursday, July 11, 2013

War of My Life- Toya

"War of My Life" is a song by John Mayer whose songs have often articulated how I feel about life much better than I can on most days.

*Note- Before I get into this, please know that things are slowly and very surely getting better. I would not write about this right now if they weren't.  I write this because quite often I have found that some of our readers go through the same things that we do. One thing I have found out about depression from some closest around me is that more people silently go through it than we can ever know.  This is why I am sharing what is happening; to show that breakthrough is possible. 

These past few months have emotionally been the hardest of my life. In comparison to the tragedies we hear of everyday, it seems very silly to say that. However, how many of us know that while your troubles may seem small in comparison to someone else's, they are YOUR troubles inside of YOUR head and that makes them very real? Anyway, it's not entirely been due to the bad things have happened to me. It's partly because of what has NOT happened to me; Being almost 40 and not being clear on where my life is going and wanting to do so many things but feeling as if my hands were tied from doing them. Working two jobs and feeling as if I have not made a dent in recovering from being laid off a few years ago. Not being able to help my family during what has been a very hard time in all of our lives. And my tragedy of a love life? Look, don't even start. I am not exactly sure when the downward spiral began but before I knew it I was fighting off panic attacks at work and crying in my car before heading out to my second job. My temper and patience became extremely short to the point that I had to pull over one time because my anger was so out of control due to lunchtime traffic. Much like babies who cry when it's past their nap time, I have been just completely emotionally and physically exhausted by consistent blows to my self esteem. Some terrible things have happened that have sent me past the point of being upset anymore. I had gotten to the place where I would just cry from being tired. I have had moments where I really started to think about what I would have to do to be committed. Not because I thought I was entirely going insane but because I just wanted to lie down for five days and not be bothered! I was just done, completely done, with everything all the way around and being at that place with depression is a very scary place to be. 

It's scary because with extroverts like me, you can turn it on and off. Because we draw our energy from being around people, when we are around others, we are okay. But how we are away from people is a completely different story.   Privately, we can become very self destructive.  This is why we need to be careful about how we treat people.  I don't care what someone's life looks like on Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr and the like.  The truth is that a lot of people are going through some hellish things that most don't even have a clue about. For me, it soon got to the point that when people asked me how I was doing, I couldn't even say I was fine anymore. I would just say "I am taking it one day at a time." because really that's all I could do. Sometimes it was as much as an hour at a time. I just stopped lying to people altogether because I knew I needed help. 

Things started to change when I had my first weekend off of work in months and was able to finally get some rest.  It was during that time that I made a few decisions. One was to stop pursuing a bunch of stuff. Just stop already. Get well first. I was working on a lot of different things and was initially scared of looking like a quitter in front of people but for my peace of mind, I had to let everything go and that included everyone's opinions of me. I then prayed for two things: 1) "God, please give me the help that I need"  and 2) "Whatever you want me to do with my life, you have to bring it to me. Please don't wait for me to decide because I simply can't. I'm exhausted. You choose. I'm open to whatever you want me to do." Immediately after I prayed that I began to have more peace than I have had all year and am finally in a place to make wiser decisions. One of those decisions has been that I would only allow myself to focus on these things: my holistic health, my relationship with God, and my small business when I felt that I could mentally bring myself back to it. There has been so much freedom in that. Three things and that's it. If what I am confronted with does not fall under those three things then it's a no. THAT feels good. I think if anyone were to ask me right now what it is that I want to do with my life, my answer would be to get and to stay well. It's just that simple.  I really don't want to be back to that place ever again.

One of the things that I have been challenged on is my eating habits. Emotional eating is such a crazy and addictive cycle.  Being busy and lack of planning, along with emotional eating due to the level of stress and anxiety I've gone through lately began to take a toll on my body and because of that my weight has shot up about fifteen pounds this year.  In a conversation about my depression, someone asked if I was eating right and the answer was not hardly.  Interestingly enough, the weight gain has been the one thing I actually wasn't depressed about. I was willing to give myself some grace because I thought that I couldn't possibly take care of my physical well being until I took care of my emotional and mental health so that's what I set out to do.  In doing so, I actually found out that one way to take care of my emotional and mental health was to take charge of my physical health.   What you eat (or don't eat) can have a very negative impact on your emotional well being. Hmm. I've tried to get healthy and in shape for a lot of reasons before: birthdays, New Year's resolutions, vacations, etc. But never until now how have I attempted to get in shape simply for my peace of mind.  

I am happy to say that I am on my way to being in shape both mentally and physically and it could not have come at a better time. Here's to a healthy body and a healthy mind.

Thanks for letting me share, guys. 


Jay said...

Thank you for writing about this Toya. You guys continually write posts that reflect how I feel about just anything! Reading this has given me so much to think about and some hope. Because I know I have been valiantly fighting these sad feelings but need a new plan. Thanks Toya xx

Alissha said...

I usually don't comment, but I want to thank you for sharing. And believe me, you are not alone! Just keep working towards your peace of mind and keep praying.

All Most Famous said...

I just want to drop a note and tell you that you are loved beyond belief. You are loved by literally everyone that has ever met you...not because of all the awesome things you do, the coolest shows in town that you throw, your pretty face, the fact that you are hilarious, or because you are there for everyone when they need you. You are, have and do all of those things but you are loved simply because you are you. Your sweet spirit is infectious and I would be lying if I said you don't inspire me ALL THE TIME in life. You don't inspire me to do more because that's not the most special part of you. You inspire me to be, and just to be me.

Love you so much. *hugs and awkward high fives*

Danielle said...

I'm so glad you spoke about this Toya. Thank you for being so open and honest about what you've been going through. I've been feeling down for years now about so many different things in my life. I feel like I'm not where I should be at 32 years old. I'm also a single mom so that has added on to the stress of being able to take care of the both of us.

Earlier this year, I came to the conclusion that I just can't take it anymore. I'm tired of walking around acting like I've got it together when I really don't. I'm an introvert so certain issues that I have, I just keep it to myself when I really need to get these things off of my chest. I used to have panic attacks, but now, every now and then I'll have an anxiety attack. They are not fun so I know what you've been going through.

Christina said...

First off, sending much love and prayers your way. You will get through this. Second, thanks for posting this. I too have been through some dark times in the past from depression over life stressors. I went through a particularly bad time in medical school and was so depressed that I would wish that I would just not wake up. But God brought me through those dark times and he will do the same for you. Know that we are here for you if you need us.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this.

missn said...

Thanks for sharing, you are definitely not alone..