Depression: WWIII or Tug-a-War?

As many people with depression know, living with it is tricky. You can have good days and bad days. For me, sometimes it could go on for weeks or months before I find relief from the depression. It’s always about managing it, learning to enjoy the small happy moments, and trying to remember you’re worth the struggle. This past Spring, it was WWIII for me in my fight against my depression. It lasted months, and I only found relief after multiple close calls of attempted suicide. Lately, it’s simply a tug-a-war with my depression. Some days I am happy, while other days I simply lose the fight.

Everyone experiences depression differently, but those who don’t sometimes don’t understand what it’s like. Add anxiety into the mix and you’ve got a tumultuous cocktail that simply isn’t good. I love to draw. It keeps my mind off of my problems, and it excites me to see how far my art has come. When you have depression, sometimes it’s a struggle to pick up the pencil. This past Saturday night, I pulled out the project I was working on only to put it back up; no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t find the energy to pick up that pencil. There’s no use forcing myself to do it, either. If you force yourself to do something, you won’t enjoy it…and that defeats the whole purpose, right? When you add in anxiety, you want to do so many things, but the depression doesn’t allow you. I lost the fight with both of them Saturday. I gave up my plans, not even watching Frasier could help me. I went to bed by 6pm, and I slept straight through the night.

There are days where it just doesn’t help to fight the depression. I went to bed, had a good cry, and I fell asleep. Sometimes you just have to give in, let yourself cry, and then start new the next day. I did just that!

I woke up Sunday with the determination to make the day better. I wasn’t going to allow myself to wallow in self-pity, depressing thoughts, or frustration. I got up for work ready to tackle the day. I sat down at work to my favorite book in between calls, and I was determined to go home and finish my drawing. After making it through the day without wanting to shout at anyone, which seems to be the norm these days, I came home to finish my drawing. This was the result:

Eva LaRue Scan
Eva LaRue,

It’s amazing how things can go right if the depression fades away for a little while.

I’ve spent the past week playing tug-a-war with the depression. It has really battered me. I managed to convince myself no one cares for me, when I was given several reminders that I am indeed cared for. It’s those little reminders that helps me continue fighting. I wrote a blog post when I first started blogging about my “happy book.” I created it to remind me how much people do care for me. When the depression hits hard, it’s easy to forget. I met with one of my favorite, most influential professors over the past week. She gave me advice on how to sell my artwork to raise money for a volunteer trip I’m taking, but just sitting down to talk to her has always been a great reminder that someone cares enough to reach out, continue reaching out, to help me in whatever way is possible for them. When the depression tried to win over the week, and when it won on Saturday, I kept thinking back on our conversation as well as the things I have pasted in my “happy book.” I think that is what really helped me give into the depression by sleeping instead of resorting to self-harm or contemplating suicide. Everyone needs something, and someone, like that in their lives.

Something that plagued my mind on Saturday was how much of an impact I am making on the world. I’ve always wondered how much difference I truly make in blogging, my art, or simply being a friend. Am I really important? Do I make a difference? Or am I just becoming part of the problem instead of the solution? The thoughts were brought on by something that was truly inspirational, but my brain just would not let me process it as such. Instead, it decided to compare myself to it. It never, ever helps to compare yourself to anyone or anything. It only leads you down dark roads that twist and turn until you get lost. However, logic was put aside while the depression won out.

After waking Sunday with a fresh start, I began to think about my questions more critically. Of course, I won’t stop blogging. I like sharing my story. It helps me process things, and I hope it also helps people who read it. However, I want to do more about mental health awareness. I can write essays and blogs until I can’t write no more, but is it really helping people? Is it really starting a conversation? I’d like to think so. However, I want to do more. I just don’t know what. So, I am open to suggestions.

Growing up with anxiety and depression, I’ve learned early on that it wasn’t ok to talk about it. You had serious issues if you were depressed, and having a 9 year old trying to commit suicide just wasn’t normal. I learned to bottle it up. The result is an adult who isn’t sure who to trust, how to feel, and how to process those feelings. I’ve come a long way since I met my current therapist, but I still have a way to go. I’m grateful we are starting to open up as a society to discuss mental health, but there is still that stigma out there that keeps some people quiet. I only wish to help people open up. If I had that help growing up, I think I would be a more functional adult. Maybe that’s just wishful thinking.

I think until I figure more of it out, I will continue learning about myself and drawing. I can’t describe how fulfilling it is for me to draw. I used to love to write, too. However, I tend to find myself drawing more than anything. I should probably say, I find myself drawing Eva LaRue more than anyone else. I love experimenting with new drawing techniques, like using a paint brush to help with the shading. For me, seeing the finished product makes me feel like I am accomplishing something in my life; in reality, I’m trying to work to get by while maintaining what sanity I have left.

To end on a happier note, I was tweeted the most incredible tweet on Twitter last week from Eva LaRue about my last blog post inspired by her lecture on vulnerability. It could not have made me happier.


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