Reclaiming My Smile

In the world of the unhappy, we are always searching for something we had in the past. Back then, I had a smile. I had a way of expressing myself that made people gravitate towards me. Even on my darkest days, I was able to smile. But of course I changed and it affected everything.

Most mornings, I wake up and just lay there. I don’t get the excitement of a new day being upon me. At one point, I hoped that when I opened my eyes, I would be greeted by something new, but it hasn’t been the case. My first thought is usually what do I feel this morning? Followed by what’s hurting? What’s not hurting? What’s right? What’s wrong? Still, no smile.

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So wrapped up into trying to figure out how to get through the day that I haven’t started yet, the depression and chronic pain have all the control from the moment I open my eyes. I don’t choose to wake up this way, but maybe I do. I’m so consumed by what could happen that I don’t see what’s not happening.

I’m not giving myself a chance to be happy. I’m not waking up thinking at least I have the chance to fight today. There are other people battling things far worse than I am but they smile. They are excited about getting better.

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When I go to the bathroom, I turn the light on and once again, I stare at myself. I know I can’t see the old me but I really don’t know who the new me is either. Looking back at me isn’t the woman I’ve been ok with all my life. I see this broken reflection. I see pain in her eyes, I see fear in her eyes, I see doubt in her eyes. But I don’t see why she should smile.

I look at myself in the mirror in my room. I’m never happy with my reflection anymore. There’s nothing I can see that makes me feel like the old me. As I stare at my reflection, the room is dark. I can’t see too many details in my face but I see someone who’s unhappy, unsure. There are a ton of reasons that I have to smile but what makes it so hard to do it. Some people say it doesn’t hurt to smile, but it actually does sometimes.

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When I wake up, the left side of my face is numb. Every morning, I brush my teeth over the sink because the nerve damage won’t allow me to keep the toothpaste in my mouth without it spilling down my shirt. Because I have to bend over to make sure the toothpaste lands in the sink, my back pain flares up before I can finish. In a matter of three to five minutes I’ve been in the bathroom, if I did wake up with a smile, I’m reminded why it fades so quickly. I miss smiling. I miss telling people I’m doing well and really meaning it.

I know what I have to do to reclaim my smile but it’s not that easy. I know that the pain exists and I cannot let it control my life. On the days it isn’t so bad isn’t the problem. It’s the days when it’s more than I can handle in that moment that I must work harder to see change.
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One of my biggest reminders to smile lays next to me every night. I sit and watch him sleep, especially when he’s tired. He’s so relaxed, seems to be worry free. But I know he’s not. Most days he’s up at night to be there for me if I cannot sleep. Most days, he can’t sleep because he’s so worried about me and how to be the perfect man. And in my eyes, he exceeds what perfection he’s looking to achieve.

He loves the broken me. It’s all he’s known. He loves the passion I have for healing and becoming a better me. He watches when I cannot stand on my own to assist me in finding my strength, no questions asked. No matter how bad my mood is towards him, even when he’s done nothing wrong, he never runs away. He always asks what can I do? How can I help? He doesn’t make me feel bad about the things I cannot control, but he does whatever he can to see my smile. My broken smile. The smile I don’t love. The reflection I’m afraid of. The me I don’t know, that’s who he loves.

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True love is the way I’m going to reclaim my smile. Learning to accept my days of fighting this disease alone, are over. Knowing that when I smile, there’s someone who looks forward to it, even if I don’t, is the one thing I will make sure I hold on to.

Love will help heal this chronic pain. Love will bring back my smile. Love will show me how to fight, especially on the days where fighting doesn’t seem like an option. Love is the only way out of this dark hole. He’s showing me what I’ve wanted for my life, he is providing me. He continues to hold out his hand, it’s up to me to grab and never let go. He continues to love the flaws I cannot control. To him, the broken me is perfect.

I’m going to accomplish loving me, loving my reflection and reclaiming my smile. And you’ll call her by her new name, Mrs Robinson.

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#depressionwillnotwin #iwontfightfair #depressionisreal #fightforyourself  #fightforlove #fightforyourlife

I’m Not What You See…

 

Despite the smile on my face, I’m living in daily turmoil. No one expects to find themselves wrapped in the state of unknown on a consistent basis. Even if I know why I’m unhappy, it doesn’t change the fact that my happiness seems so far away, when it’s usually right in my face.

Depression is the Devil sitting on your shoulder, waiting to clap when you begin to disappoint loved ones. No matter how much you fight, he remains there to remind you of how bad things really aren’t. I can swipe, cry, beg and plead but there is nothing that works to get him to leave me alone. But some days he is weakened. So weak that he leaves on his own because I can see the true happiness I have in life. A wonderful child, an amazing spouse, a few great friends and a mom who jumps out of a plane without a parachute when it comes to me. But why isn’t it enough?

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I’d love to wake up every morning happy, but that’s just not in the cards for me. I wake up reminded that I have chronic pain to deal with, numb legs, and unable to always use my left hand at will. Then the smile disappears. When it comes back is usually determined by how the pain feels that day. But I fight….

I fight through the feeling of wondering if I will be normal again. I fight through the feeling of allowing depression to win. Some days, I am the heavyweight champion. Most days, I’m defeated by being stuck in bed with a migraine so big if I open my eyes I immediately feel like vomiting. Most days, I’m still up on the train going to work, even with that feeling.

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I’ve had some friendships ruined by this disease but I’m not sad about it. You can’t be sad when you feel like you’re the only one with wounds that need to heal. Do I miss some of them, absolutely. But I cannot chase them to understand something I’m learning to understand myself. I cannot put forth effort in fixing something they can’t physically see and chose to accept what I put out, as if they don’t know who the real me is. I cannot take all the blame for my actions because a lot of my actions are reactions to people and their lack of understanding. But I can hope to heal….

I can hope to heal, so those who have stuck around get the best me I have to offer. They can have that friend back from the past, but improved. They deserve it. They stuck by me when I couldn’t love me and when I couldn’t love them.

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Although I’m not what people see, the old me is still there. The angry, shut down, walk away from everything person that I currently am, is to protect me. Protecting me from myself. Protecting me from making decisions that I’ll regret. Protecting those who may be close enough to endure damage from a storm I didn’t even know existed.

Some people will care. Some people will say it’s an excuse. Others will say it’s not real, she just wants attention. Those who know me, in my current place, will defend me. They know that my heart is still genuine, even if my actions and words don’t seem to be. But I will win. It’s just a matter of when. Depression is me versus life that no one sees. Depression will not defeat me. Depression is a clock, with no tick or tock. Depression can lose. It will lose to me.

#depressionisreal #iwillnotgiveup #thehardestfightofmylife #nomorefear

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The beginning of healing…

When we are faced with a conflict, it’s not uncommon to look for others for help to get through our pain. As much as we value others’ opinion, sometimes the only answer is within ourselves. Everyone deals with heartache differently. Some say those who can move on fast are fortunate but that doesn’t mean a piece of them is not stuck in the situation.

 

I found myself at a low point and was unsure of how to get out of it. Depression had a firm grasp on my life but I couldn’t figure out what was the cause. It took years for me to realize, it was me. All the mental anguish I was experiencing was due to my past. Not because of a man, but because of the things I had no control over. Having daddy issues is a terrible feeling. Growing up, I saw my best friend interact with her father and it made me desire to hear my dad say he was coming to get me without me begging. The older I got, I realized I was still begging! At 30 years old, I was still waiting for my father to love me. So I decided to do some soul searching.

What Did I Want?

I wanted happiness. I wanted self induced happiness. True happiness definitely starts within. My first step was to accept this journey was not going to be easy. There was a point where I realized, I was so broken that I was willing to accept any kind of treatment, as long as I was ok with a piece of it. Biggest mistake ever! To accept a piece of anything means you are not getting what you really deserve. For years, I accepted that my dad would come and go as he pleased. I chalked it up as he had a problem with my mom, but that was far from the truth. My opinion, he had no desire to be a father. If he was forced to take care of me, he would send me to my grandma. I would never see him and it didn’t dawn on me until I realized, he just doesn’t love you the way you want to be loved. He doesn’t love you the way you see other parents loving their children. I had to accept all love isn’t good love and I cannot accept the kind of love that everyone has to offer, no matter who it is.

Looking at how he treated me, made me realize that I could not let others treat me that way. Even if there was a positive interaction at one point, it doesn’t justify being treated in the opposite manner we desire. I was created, I didn’t chose to be here and I thought my existence was more than enough, clearly that meant nothing. The source of all my anger and frustration started with my dad. After all these years, I finally realized I took my anger out on other people.

 

How Did I Move Forward?

It is not easy to cut off people you care about, regardless of what title they hold in your life. I accepted that we will never have the relationship I desired and if I had to cut off my father, I had to cut off others as well. Being depressed is a state of mind that you have no control over. However, I had control over who I allowed in my life that could keep me depressed. I combed through all of the people I talked to and slowly removed those who blocked my growth from rock bottom. I expressed to people how I felt regarding our communication. Some were ok with it, others were confused. I wasn’t doing this to help them understand, I was doing this to clear my soul of the things I knew would take me back where I didn’t want to be. People don’t realize how much baggage is brought to each new chapter. Many of our ways are reflections of past or present situations. Having a happy future meant I had to look at everything, leaving no stone unturned when it came to those who may have felt their position would never be affected. As much as it hurt, I had to walk away from my best friend of 25 plus years! I still love her, but I realized that we grew apart and what I needed in the moment, she couldn’t offer.

Acceptance was my biggest hurdle. I’ve always felt you don’t have to agree with something to accept it. Walking away was not my way of giving up, but accepting certain people cannot assist me in my journey of happiness. Finally I realized, everyone is not meant to walk through your entire life journey. Those who understand you as a person and willingly assist you are the ones who make life’s hardest adjustments just a tad bit easier. I forgave those who hurt me. I don’t believe they wanted to cause harm, but it’s not always easy to tell someone you care about that you cannot help them through a crisis. We all have to be honest about what we can and cannot do for someone else or ourselves. Now, I believe owning your limits will help decrease the amount of unnecessary stress. We cannot fix people; they have to want to fix themselves. The best thing we can do for someone else is to be honest.

Taking the steps to accept what cannot be changed, acknowledging what I needed, and owning my part of each situation was the perfect resolution to my problem. I’m not healed, but I’m on a path of healing.