Darkest Dawn

Depression hovers like a dark cloud. Anxiety lurks in the corner. Anger comes in like a tsunami destroying everything in its path. Finally, I can see the forest despite the trees.

For years now, I’ve fought the trifecta of darkness: depression, anxiety, and anger… on my own… rather unsuccessfully. “It is always darkest before the dawn” I kept repeating to myself like a mantra, but my dawn seemed saturated in never-ending darkness. Of course, my endocrinologist knew better and put me on an antidepressant two weeks ago. It has been nothing short of life changing. Now, for the first time in nearly three years, I feel myself again.

The overwhelming heaviness (of negative emotions) I carry is becoming lighter. I feel happy. I feel hope. I feel calm. I feel excited. I feel joyful. I nearly forgot how all of those felt. How is that possible? How does one forget such basic every day emotions? Answer: depression, anxiety, and anger; that is how. Each week, my antidepressant dose gradually increases until I’m fully medicated in a month. If I feel this good after two weeks, I look forward to the next two weeks (and beyond).

Full disclosure: I’m an emotional eater, so of course I tend to self-medicate with food and drink. Now, I find myself the heaviest I’ve ever been since I lost nearly 100 lbs. eleven years ago. My doc at first thought all of this extra weight gain was a hormonal issue and we tried a different drug therapy for six weeks. At my most recent appointment, his gut told him my issues stem from a chemical imbalance in my brain… hence this new antidepressant therapy. Delighted to report, with the new med the food cravings have disappeared and the extra pounds are following suit.

Right now, I’m reading “Happier Now” – well, rather I’m listening to the audio – and I LOVE IT! Yes, I highly recommend this book to anyone in the throes of depression and/or anxiety. The author, Nataly Kogan, outlines everyday practices to cultivate happiness. As I shared the truth about my darkness with my loved ones, a dear friend mentioned her similar struggles, “I’ve learned over time that I have to fill my own cup first. Take care of yourself. There is never any shame in needing help. Always know you are not alone! I’m glad to know you’re feeling so much better!” This reminded me of a section in the book that outlines Nataly’s daily anchors (as she calls them). One of the daily anchors is self-care; something we often overlook the importance.

As I navigated my way through the dense fog of a dark cloud, I tried my best to be decidedly upbeat… until my anger took over and that was no longer a possible option. You just can’t “positive” your way out of the darkness trifecta. Sadly, I’ve lost friendships as a result of said anger. I’m thankful that when I opened up about my dark place, others stepped up in support, compassion, love, and encouragement.

Being honest about my experience(s) also prompted several friends to share their similar challenges and I’m happy to have provided them a safe place to do so. The first step to solving ANY issue is awareness… next is acceptance. I’m grateful my loved ones helped me with both. We must extend ourselves grace; especially, in our lowest moments… yet it is much easier to do so when others are offering grace to you as well.

In my heart, I believe God puts me in these situations (hormonal issues, weight gain, weight loss surgery, emotional eating, fertility issues, auto-immune diseases, pituitary tumor, pregnancy using a cryobank donor (and subsequent single motherhood), depression, anxiety, anger, etc.) because He knows that even at the risk of being immensely vulnerable, I will share my truth in complete transparency. Perhaps in doing so my stories might aid/benefit others. You never know who you will help in this lifetime in any given day. Praying I help more people than I hurt (or have hurt). #Human #Flawed #GodsChild

Depression is not funny. Anxiety is not a punch line. Anger is not a joke. Mental illness is serious and comes in all forms. My challenges may not be clinical and yet they changed who I am at my very core. The chemicals in our brains and the hormones in our bodies can wreak havoc on our lives and these things are no laughing matter.

Trust and believe… the funniest people you know are struggling. I mask my pain in humor. Always have… I inherited my Daddy’s quick wit. The people who are always there for you, positive, giving, and uplifting are the ones you need to worry about the most; They do all of that for others because they cannot do it for themselves.

© Renae Rossman and Candy Coated Reality™

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