Wanna Know a Secret? This Smile is Fake.

 I just want to say that I am a typically private person. I know, I know, I write a blog that talks about all my feelings and whatnot, but that’s different. It’s not everything. No one writes the horrible, raw, painful, and heartbreaking trials of their life for the entertainment of others. I mean why would you? For one it’s a little sadistic as entertainment, and for two well it’s hard enough to deal with alone without everyone else’s pitying eyes. Everyone has their own heartbreak and their own issues they deal with, why tell them mine? It hardly affects them.

I think the reason I’m finally writing this is because of the fact that though the impact may be minuscule, and most people don’t care to know, someone else feels this way too and if I can let them know they aren’t alone and they always have an ally in me, how could I possibly keep it to myself?

I am not always an easy person to get along with, I have long since held my trust close and coveted so afraid of it being shattered like every other time I let someone hold it. I am emotionally distant only opening up the amount needed to sustain relationships, terrified of showing the broken light that is hanging within. I have a harsh exterior, jaded from years of rejection, heartache, and disappointment.

I may have looked to you like I had it all together, but I never did.

And this is where the tone changes.

Remember when you go through recovery no one, and I mean no one, is more affected than the people who aren’t you and were hardly there to begin with.

*she said bitterly and sarcastically*

Perhaps many didn’t understand me when I said I went to rehab because I worded it so prettily *rolls eyes*. When I went to the hospital, it was rehab.

Before you ask or say anything

  • Yes it really was that serious
  • I am aware I looked like I had it all together
  • Rehab didn’t make me magically better with 5 days of boredom and AA meetings
  • I am still barely hanging on
  • Yes you mentioned you didn’t know, It’s because you never asked
  • Again, I know I seemed so happy. Seemed looks like the keyword.

…Need I go on.

When I got out of rehab things were very different in my life. Those 5 days were not sunshine and roses I’ll tell you that. It was emotional numbness and hunger for food that wasn’t weird, for my jacket that I couldn’t have because it had a string, for a shower with a real door and a mattress that wasn’t harder than most floors.

I had to make hard decisions. I had to leave my school. I had to leave the people I had made my family and those who I thought were my friends. I had to abandon my carefully constructed timeline. I had to say goodbye to the things I never got a chance to see. It was and is a horrible punishment, one that wasn’t even earned I might add, one I got simply for having an unhealthy balance of chemicals in my brain.

It was my choice, yes. But when you are told you can choose to listen to your doctor and leave and live or attempt to go back at it only to end up back or worse dead…the choice is obvious, isn’t it?

I left expecting to go into open arms of the support I thought I had built with the family that vowed to be there.

The reality? An empty room and judgment about how disappointing it was that I wasn’t as strong as I looked as if I wasn’t upset about it either.

*record screeches*

Uhm excuse me? Disappointing? Oh pardon me, I apologize for not falling apart to your standard, for not appearing broken enough for it to be serious, for not scheduling a better date for you when my entire psyche was falling to pieces.

Not everything is perfect. And I sure as hell am not.

The funny thing about a breakdown is that it often happens from a lack of support. The Jenga blocks were wobbling, the facade was cracking, the pressure was building. I was out in the middle of a tightrope with the promise of a net, only to go tumbling down into a field of thorns.

I wonder, do you think I smiled for my sake, or yours? I think it’s interesting that so many pieces of my protective facade were able to fool you when in reality all you had to do was ask a few questions, or look into my eyes with every I’m fine. Instead of just accepting it because you didn’t want to have to believe differently.

I hope my anger is apparent to you. Because it’s not just anger, it’s fury.

I can handle strangers telling me that depression isn’t real or that my life looks so easy, or that it must be nice not to have to care.

What I couldn’t handle. My best friends, gone, no words, just disappeared. My “family” unresponsive and disappointed. My support, non-existent, only there because I offered something of my own.

So quite honestly forgive me if I just don’t give a fuck what you think about how I handled my situation because you honestly didn’t give a fuck about me.

Day 5: Finding Courage

Hey there! It’s Friday! It’s Day 5! And today is a different kind of day.

For a little over a week I have been contemplating about a particular article for my series on my recovery and whether I should or should not post it.

Why? because it’s a little bit messy, it’s a little bit angry, and it’s 100% what I need to let go.

I feel often times recovery is a lot like grief, you go through stages until you reach acceptance with yourself and your positioning in the universe and you move on.

This is part of why I decided to do this yoga challenge. Yoga can speak to you and work for you in ways you never imagined, opening doors that hadn’t existed.

I hadn’t been ready before. It was a huge life change I was preparing for. It was a bold statement.

But today on the mat I decided, it was time. It was time to release the anger and depression and denial and all the other things I had been dealing with alone, and write.

So today, my Yoga gave me the courage for this article (here) that you can choose to read or not to, it’s always your choice.

Day 4: *unintelligible noises*

Someway, somehow, I’ve made it through today. Although I woke up at probably noon thirty and then ate the most entertaining and filling breakfast of granola and yogurt

Although I woke up at probably noon thirty and then ate the most entertaining and filling breakfast of granola and yogurt, then sat in a parking lot for like 2 hours talking to my mom trying to figure out what to do, only to then go home and make 2 peanut butter sandwiches (yes I am 4) eat the rest of my pop chips, and then some pistachios, I still managed to do day 4 and I feel like death.

Not the fun death either, like the I should have been taking vitamins and eating healthy my whole life maybe then I wouldn’t feel so terrible all day death.

It probably doesn’t help that I haven’t had any caffeine today, and anyone who knows me knows Diet Coke is my life blood.

I am holding on, dramatically, by a thin string to life today.

Maybe the apple slices and Netflix will make it better.

*oh and you should totally watch that Trevor Noah special it’s hilarious*

Oh yeah, the yoga did help some, I pretty much ignored that part of today. I’m not used to doing it before 8.

Day 3: Simba is not my friend!

Okay, so day 3…I’m still at it, not many hiccups today. My motivation to this is really hanging on and my positivity keeps growing.

I’m finding that with each namaste that I breathe, I feel lighter, more positive, and like my abs will revolt because today was basically the boat pose and moving Simba over the cliff was not something I look forward to doing again.

see this thing:

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It’s this pose…but you’re not smiling and you’re working your abs by rotating side to side moving Simba over the edge of Pride Rock.

Thanks Adriene, that’s cute and all…but we already did like 3 planks AND I DID A PUSH-UP! Be proud my arms are cooked spaghetti and can hold nothing…until now (insert side eye smirking emoji).

All in all great workout, fell on the TV stand switching up mat location and only lost balance once. I feel like it’s getting easier every day. Plus this writing about it helps me remember that I told people I was doing it next thing you know imma be doing the scorpion pose!

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Until tomorrow, Namaste MckennaCats

Day 2: I didn’t quit!

I would just like to say I deserve a participation trophy of sorts since I’m a millennial (just kidding) because I completed day 2 of my challenge for Yoga.

Now before you say anything about how it’s only day 2 let me explain!

I believe that the universe is a very powerful force that many cannot understand, most call the forces at work God, or Messiah, or possibly even Allah. But to me, I refer to it as good vibes and positive energy.

When practicing yoga, you attune yourself with something greater than yourself allowing your body and mind to be at ease and find peace if only for a moment.

It’s when you find that peace and let the universe conduct its will that truly amazing things will happen for you.

After day 1 of my 30 days of Yoga with Adriene (Day 1 if you’d like to test it out), I felt so much relaxation in my body and I slept magically. I cannot even explain the magic.

But most importantly, about 3o minutes after I leveled myself with the universe, the job I wanted to bad that I had been waiting to hear from emailed me back and offered for me to start today.

It was a sign from the universe, this job you ask? It’s with a dance studio and is offering me a way back into the life of dance I’d given up when I prioritized other responsibilities and I lost a part of myself that I often missed.

This is why I deserve a trophy for not skipping day 2 everyone! Instead of doing the yoga challenge this morning like I had intended I decided night was probably best to set me in a good mindset to then write about my day and go to sleep.

Well today I assisted in a baby ballet/tap class and oh my goodness the cute was so undeniable I could barely stand it, subbed 3 classes for a sick teacher which included a tap/jazz/ballet combo, ballet level 1 (which I had to do some vocab google for) and a performance team class.

It was exhausting, but there is no way to describe how much I loved it. I was terrified at first that I was going to mess up and that the kids wouldn’t listen to me, but by the end of the night I was fully confident in what I was doing and I fell in love with dance even more than I already was.

So when I got into my car to head home after 3 straight hours of dancing and stretching and technique my body was tired! But I took 30 minutes to talk to my fabulous roommate, and then said “you have to do this, it’s day 2, come on you have to do this”

And magically enough I was able to drag my tired soul to the mat and let me tell you Adriene doesn’t play with those planks y’all my abs are on fire but I love it so.

For once I feel like I may actually be able to finish something I’ve started.

Now, if you excuse me, I’m going to go eat more fruit slices.

Yoga Challenge

So today I decided that I was going to start a yoga challenge over I had started back in August but never finished. I find that often times I do that…I get so hype and excited to start something and when it becomes normal or gets hard (I really hate waking up and planks yo!) I just ditch out and then pretend it didn’t happen.

I find that often times I do that…I get so hype and excited to start something and when it becomes normal or gets hard (I really hate waking up and planks yo!) I just ditch out and then pretend it didn’t happen.

For instance, January I was supposed to start monthly resolutions to give up something bad each month or start something new.

It took me three days to totally cave and grab a Diet Coke and there went that resolution because if I already broke it why start over? (because I am totally weak that’s why)

Anywho my lack of commitment extends to pretty much every area of my life.

  • I start new relationships, they get normal? I dip out.
  • Start a new workout? there are too many planks and I’m miserable at pushups or anything requiring arm strength, maybe not today.
  • I wanna wake up early and start a routine? Have you ever felt the comfort of blankets in the morning? How could you leave that?
  • Sewing? That new stitch was confusing
  • Crochet and knitting? I could never get the rows to do exactly what i wanted, plus my fingers hurt from yarn burn.

I never finish anything that I start.

However! This time I’m determined! I will finish this 30-day challenge no matter what! And to semi/not really prove that I’m gonna write about it every day!

Anywho, today went well my abs are feeling the burn and I am feel super great maybe I’ll even eat healthier, I have been eating more fruit which is shocking.

Depression Looks Like You.

When you think of depression what comes to mind? Someone who doesn’t speak to anyone and appears anti-social? Someone who wears all black and recites morbid poetry? Someone who is covered in scars and constantly needing to be brought to the hospital? Someone who sits around all day and never appears to have any motivation?

Well, you’re not wrong, a lot of those people are probably suffering from depression…but so are people just like you.

That person with the perfect GPA and list of extracurriculars so long it can’t fit on one page. That person you have never seen without a smile on their face. That person who seems like everything is under control and they have it all together. That person who knows when, where, and how they are going to achieve their life plan. That parent who loves their child so much and seems like the picture perfect PTA parent.

Those people, they have it too. They suffer just as much if not more than some of the others. The scary thing about depression is that you don’t know what it looks like and it could happen to anyone. It could be happening to your closest friend and you might not even notice it.

People cope in their own ways, maybe you didn’t think about it but the perfect GPA was because by constantly focusing on their work and classes they were able to ignore the feelings of inadequacy and despair. Perhaps they have a smile because it’s easier than sharing that they aren’t okay and by pretending to everyone else, they may be able to fool themselves. That micromanagement of their future? With all that control how can you not be distracted? Picture perfect PTA parent? All that dedication, they couldn’t possibly be struggling, they made 4 trays of cupcakes for the bake sale and single-handedly organized the fundraiser for new books for the library.

No one really knows why people deal with things the way they do, they just do. Some people buy 8 planners and schedule every second of their life with “meaningful activities” and some people turn to a bottle of liquor and forget who they are. There is no one way to deal with emotions, or stress, or trauma, or expectation.

Rich? poor? black? white? Christian? Muslim? male? female? gay? straight? single? married? kids? and every category in between, Depression, it doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t care who you are, it only demands to be felt.

Anyone can suffer because everyone has pain, everyone has heartbreak, and everyone has problems. But, not everyone has the support of people who love them that they can trust to walk them out of the darkness like a candle in the night.

My brain chemistry isn’t right, I’ve had things happen in my life that not many others have experienced. I live a life that seems like depression couldn’t possibly take root, I have parents who love me, I have never wondered where the next meal is coming from or if I’m going to have a place to sleep, and more often than not I got the gadgets and material objects I wanted, I got into and went to my first choice and very expensive private school, I was involved in clubs, I was doing what young adults are “supposed” to do. But nevertheless, I have depression, and until recently you probably wouldn’t have guessed that every day for more than 3 years I wished for an accidental overdose or a car accident.

For more than 3 years I’ve felt almost nothing but emptiness and the obligation to act otherwise, to not waste what others would “kill for”.

So please, spare me the lecture of how others would love to have my “charmed” life, trust me even with all my privilege, it’s not that special.

Pain isn’t a competition.

It’s not about the fact that people are starving everywhere in the world, and other people are oppressed for having opinions that are different or even for looking different. These things are real and awful and damaging. But their existence? They don’t change how my brain functions, they don’t make my suffering better, they don’t invalidate how anyone feels because feelings are personal and real and they aren’t related.

You may wonder why I share this, you also may not, that’s fine too, it’s how you feel, but I write this and I share this because of something very important to me.

I know I’m not the only one.

I am not the only person to surprise their whole family by having issues when “I seemed like nothing ever bothered me and I had it all together”. I’m not the only one who has withheld their personal trials and feelings to make others feel better because there isn’t any need to involve others who probably have bigger more important things to think about than me. I’m not the only one who is high-functioning despite having depression and can fool you by putting out a great paper and a smiling photo on Instagram.

I’m not the only one. And I’m not the last.