Feeling Like a “Bad Feminist”

As I type this I’m lying in the comfiest bed in a hotel room in Moncton. I’ve just finished my second day of training my new job, and tomorrow my coworker and I have been invited to a small, more specialized training meeting for our particular roles. This new job role comes straight on the heels of my events/marketing summer position I scored during my move from Ontario to PEI.

I feel so proud of myself. For the first time in FIVE years I’m working in my field again. Sure, I’m taking a pretty big pay cut but to be putting my education (and the student loans I’m STILL paying off) to good use is an incredible feeling. Working a ton of hours this summer, being a worker so strong that my boss advocated for me to remain permanently in a full-time position in the department, and someone that my company felt confident enough to invest in my career makes me feel like I’ve finally made it in my career. It’s safe to say my career is taking off and I feel like a bad-ass business woman.

However, I feel like this move and subsequent career launch is destroying my relationship. And it’s sucks. After eight years of being with someone I feel unsupported in this new adventure and, even more so, unloved.

The worst part? I think I would trade in all this career growth in a heartbeat and I hate myself for it.

It’s 2019. I am a strong, confident, independent woman… aren’t I? I always thought I was. I thought I had learned from past relationships that I need to come first. If this was any of my friends I’d tell them no guy was worth this heartache. And yet… here I am.

I’m allowing myself to be weak. I’m allowing myself to be small. I’m allowing myself to diminish my worth.

I wish I had an answer and that I could turn around and be my own hero. I want to more than anything.

However, I realize that in writing this maybe I’m not giving myself enough credit. I have enough self-awareness to know what I should be doing and how I should be seeing myself, and it’s not like I’m quitting my job any time soon. I can have those thoughts and not act upon them. I can work towards wanting to be the “good feminist” I envision for myself and still want to be loved.

I have potential.

Clarity

I think it’s safe to say that, once again, the depression has lifted. Each time feels a little scarier, a little darker, a little more dangerous. The last two times I’ve been seriously struggling it feels as if it’s never going to get better. For the second time in less than a year I’m surprised that I’ve survived.

I’m emotionally bruised, a little jaded, moving through life more cautiously than I was before, and I have a few more scars to bare (both emotionally and physically), but I am here. I am alive and thriving.

Aside from blogging, I found myself using Instagram a lot to communicate my depression. It felt awkward and really egocentric but it was also weirdly cathartic to post my thoughts and feelings. Through therapy and some of the individual work I was doing I realized I felt extremely isolated and Instagram left me with a way to connect. It was nice hearing that people cared but, even more so, it felt really comforting to know that other people were having or have had similar struggles. I even had two face-to-face conversations with people at work that shared stories of what their loved ones have been going through.

However, the ironic thing about currently feeling not-depressed is that I’m constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop. I catch myself truly enjoying life and then I wonder how long it will last. I’m trying to be open and take advantage of my non-depressed state as long as I can but I’m fearful of when it will strike again.

Waiting For The Other Shoe to Drop

I feel like a weight has been lifted. I feel light, and happy, and free. Most of all, I don’t feel depressed. And frankly, that scares the shit out of me.

Depression is weirdly comforting. It hurts but I know what to expect. Sadness, heartbreak, self-loathing… they hug me tight and I walk through life with them by my side. I felt lonely in my depressed but I feel naked without it.

To not be depressed is terrifying because I’m waiting for the depression to set in, again. I know that life without depression won’t last. I know that something could trigger it at any moment. I remember exactly what it feels like and the irrational thoughts that ran through my head, and I wish more than anything that I could fully recover.

It doesn’t help that something really great happened to me last week that I think might be giving me a temporarily inflated ego that’s quieting the usual I’m-not-enough conversations I love to have with myself. It’s easy to feel better when I have something to hide behind.

The worst part is that I can’t fully enjoy or relish in the non-depression because I’m still so focused on being depressed. How horribly ironic.

Once again, depression has me irrational.

When You Cry at Work

I feel embarrassed just typing this, but today I cried at work. Not just a few tears but the kind of crying I’m known for in my family – a deep sob that causes me to have trouble catching my breath. Even worse, I let it happen in front of my boss.

There’s no need to go into specifics but on top of dealing with my day-to-day depression I’ve been experiencing today I got burned my a colleague. It caught me off guard and I couldn’t control myself. I could feel tears welling up in my eyes  and I tried to fight them back. I was doing a great job until my boss called me into his office.

We were about to have a conversation, completely unrelated to my issues, when it happened. I turned around to shut the door and I completely broke down.

I’m embarrassed and ashamed. I feel silly and ridiculous. I feel small and weak.

But I feel oddly supported. My boss didn’t flinch. He asked questions. He let me cry it out. When I posted my embarrassment on Instagram I received so many positive responses I never expected to receive, and even a message from someone who admitted they cry at work frequently. Even more so, I feel so much better after that cry. A sort-of weird catharsis.

I don’t want to speak too soon but I wonder if my mental health might be taking a turn for the better.

Alone vs Lonely

I used to think there was a difference between being alone vs being lonely. I used to pride myself on my ability to be alone.
To be independent.
To be comfortable with silence.
To be comfortable with myself.

Now, I’m having trouble finding that distinction. The lines seem to be blurred. What is the difference again? They seem to be one in the same.

It’s 2AM and I am alone. I’m alone on this queen mattress. The world is asleep. I turn the TV to quiet the deafening silence but it doesn’t help.

I am alone.

I am lonely.

In my involuntary solitude the only thing that seems to exist is my depressive thinking; you are not enough. You are unworthy. You are unloved.

Alone.

Lonely.

The difference doesn’t matter anymore.

Dawn

Watching your chest rise and fall

Your arm curled around the pillow

The sound of your breath as it escapes your lips

Morning light catches your arm hair, making it appear golden

Three months ago I would have moved in closer

Three months ago I had no doubt you loved me

This morning, as dawn breaks, I memorize each and every part of you

Knowing this will all come to an end

Therapy, Round Two

Today I went to my second session in this round of therapy. I find that the days I think, I have nothing to talk about, or, I feel OK today, end up being the hardest sessions. Today’s appointment was no exception. There were lots of tears and seven hours later I still feel so exhausted.

My eyes hurt. Every part of me feels achy and I don’t think I can attribute it to this morning’s workout. I’m tired. I have no appetite.

Therapy is work.

My feelings about my therapist are complicated. My last therapist was a sweetheart. Sitting in her office felt meditative and serene. It was exactly what I needed during that time. My new therapist is kind of a realist. She tells me like it is and doesn’t sugar coat it. It is exactly what I need this time.

My previous experience was about learning about myself, opening up old wounds, and finding my coping mechanisms. This experience is about perspective. Both will be equally important. Both will save my life.

The Tools

Earlier this week I (as my doctor has previously referred to it as) “gathered the tools.” I walked around our house trying to decide if this would be the place where I do it. I’m not so sure. I sat on the floor, tools in hand, and decided it’s not the time. Not yet.

I feel as if, in October, I opened a door I can never close. Coming to close to a suicide attempt has fueled an inner monologue I didn’t realized existed within me.

“Well, I could just kill myself right now.”

The amount of times this thought crosses my brain when I’m feeling sad or struggling is staggering. I’d say “scary” but, honestly, the idea is no longer scary – it’s desirable.

I want to say I’m not suicidal. I keep belittling my own feelings by telling myself that I’m just being over-dramatic. Sure, over-dramatic enough that nine months ago I found myself with a cord around my neck and ready to kick away a chair in my laundry room. I can’t say I’m not suicidal because I don’t think that would be the truth.

What is the truth?

I feel so sad.
I feel so lonely.
I feel like I’m not enough.
I feel unworthy of love.
I feel like I don’t matter.
I feel like I’m a burden.

The difficult part is when I make a post on social media and share these feelings, I start to accuse myself of seeking attention, and then the comments or messages I receive also make me uncomfortable. Part of me hates that I need someone to tell me that I matter and the other part of me doesn’t believe them anyways.

I’m still in this fight but mental health is kicking my ass.