Keep Going, You Matter

My younger self had a favorite saying: Life sucks. Then, you die.

Yup, I was a real bowl of sunshine in my late teens and early 20s. A part of me desperately wanted to give up back then. My depression was endless. Continuing on with all of life’s bullshit seemed pointless. But I kept going.

My intent with this month’s Editor’s Note was to be a positive influence by telling you to “keep going.” I’ve heard about and seen so many people struggling lately that I wanted to remind you that everything is temporary. “This week might be hard but next week will be better! Keep that chin up! *winky face.” 

Funny thing, I’m struggling as well.

I’ve survived anxiety and depression most of my life. Honestly, who hasn’t? I’ve got what the professionals call “high-functioning anxiety and depression.” Basically, I’m an expert at concealing the evidence of such illnesses. The last couple of weeks though, it’s been a struggle just to get out of bed.

Anxiety has played a much bigger role in my life than Depression has over the last few years. I feel it coming on and I know how to pull myself out of it … for the most part. Depression has laid at bay in the shadows. When it does come around, I don’t see it until I’ve been in the same outfit for almost a week and haven’t left the house. By that point, I may as well fuse myself with the couch and binge “Schitt’s Creek” for the hundredth time.

I know why I’m like this, but I don’t know why I’m like this right now. Life is pretty good. I’ve been, dare I say it, happy. And maybe that’s the issue. When you’ve been a downer most of your life, happiness comes along and it feels uncomfortable. It’s foreign to a brain that is more pessimistic than optimistic. A brain that wants to hope for the best, yet always, always, always expects the worst.

Things are going too well. And when things are going too well, skepticism consumes me and I wait for all the good things to be ripped away. And as strange as it might sound, I think booze was keeping Depression out of the picture.

As I write this, I’ve been sober for 125 days. Booze has always been my coping mechanism. My escape. Now, I have to put all my hopes and dreams on Prozac. That’s a lot for Prozac to live up to, no? Prozac has a lot of people’s hopes and dreams on its shoulders. But Booze, oh precious Booze, has been more of a misery partner. It understands. It gaslights you into thinking you need it, telling you no one else wants or understands you, just like a toxic boyfriend. It claims it’s keeping you safe, but it’s actually holding you back from your full potential.

While I’ve been somewhat sober at other times in my life, this is the first time I haven’t given Booze exceptions. For example, giving myself a pass for special occasions, or, you know, a random Tuesday.

Ultimately, I kept myself numb for so long that I’m afraid of rediscovering the real me. What if I don’t like myself? I mean, I’m definitely less of an @sshole now, which is probably good. And the self-loathing has mostly dissipated. I know I’m much better off this way. I guess I need to allow my brain to heal in the gentle embrace of Prozac. 

If you’re struggling, know that everyone around you has their own sh*t. We might appear to have it all figured out, but we don’t. We’re trying to hold it together like everyone else. Reach out. Go to coffee. Talk to someone, anyone. 

Fight for your existence. 

You matter.

Much love,

Sonja O.

Founder & Editor-in-Chief

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