Today’s post is a piece written by, not only one of my closest friends, but also my roommate, Caroline.
Living with someone can be complicated. Their highs and their lows become, in a way, your highs and lows too. I’ve known Caroline for years now, but I’ve learned a lot more about her over this past year. I can genuinely say I’ve grown so much as a result of our friendship.
She writes about how she motivates herself when she’s feeling low, touches on some of her harder realizations, and expresses some of her most prized memories.
I especially enjoyed her writing because, although we may share similar diagnoses, we cope very differently. It’s nice to remember that there is a multitude of solutions to the same feelings, you just have to find the one that suits you best.
I once asked my psychiatrist if I was born this way, or if the events that happened in my life caused this. She told me, “well, I think you were born this way, but I don’t think those events helped”. That’s something I have had to come to terms with this past year. Although something tragic happened to me, I was born with anxiety and depression. Its like having an arthritic knee and running a half marathon on it. Insult adds to injury. Death of a sibling adds to depression. A break up adds to anxiety. And vise versa.
This year, everyone around me felt helpless. Not only did I push away certain people who were nothing but supportive, but I leaned too hard on those who were left around me. That’s probably the worst part of this “condition”. You act out, say and do hurtful things, and then when you’re falling apart, there’s no one left to help you put the pieces back together. That’s another lesson I learned. Only yourself and a trained professional can truly get you out of this rut. And although it feels so unfair, you are responsible for the things you’ve done while you were unhealthy. There are going to be people out there who can empathize and understand that anxiety and depression can cause this erratic behavior, but there’s only so much people can take. Why should they be expected to show love and support when they only receive hate and hostility in return? I personally learned this lesson the hard way, but if I didn’t, I don’t think I would have ever changed.
Now, I am still a work in progress. But I’m much better then I was. I feel like my confidence is up, I don’t cry over everything, and I see everyday as a gift and an opportunity to have fun. That last one is probably something I am most proud of myself for. Before, I didn’t see the point. And now, I constantly feel alive and want to experience everything. I think a lot of that I owe to my brother. After losing my him the way I did, I almost feel like I have a leg up in this world. That sounds weird, right? But I’ve felt that since the day he passed. I look at a day spent in bed as a waste. I have this constant nagging voice in my head of my brother saying, “Come on, get up. You’re not even trying”. And I get up. I shower. I go outside. I surround myself with fun people. If I feel anxious about something, I hear him say, “Just let it go, who cares?” And it genuinely brings me back down to earth and I don’t care. It’s the most freeing feeling, and that’s why I say I’m lucky to have endured what I did. He taught me that life shouldn’t be so complicated, it should be enjoyable. Your day shouldn’t be spent in bed, crying, trying to change something you can not change.
And here’s a little anecdote ~ I remember one day he got some bad news after a routine doctors visit. He came home, cried to me, and said, “it’s really bad this time, Caroline”. He sulked, laid in bed, and I held him through it. The next day he was up, and asking me if he could give my flash pass to his friend (uh sure, why not) so he could go to Six Flags for the day. Wait, WHAT?? Here I am, still recovering from the awfulness of yesterday and this kid wakes up with a smile on his face telling me hes gonna ride roller coasters all day? That’s when I really knew how amazing he was. And when he left this earth, I promised myself I would emulate all that zest for life, for the rest of my life. End anecdote ~
Although I would give anything to have him here with me, I am so lucky to carry him with me always. If it wasn’t for him, I don’t know if I could make as much progress as I have. And if he was here he would yell at me for not giving myself more credit. So yes, here I am giving myself some credit. I’m killing it.
Ok, thanks for listening. Hope you enjoy this beautiful day and go to happy hour and laugh with friends and smile at the sunshine!!