Sorry for my absence last week.
It was tough going for me, and many people I know. Robin Williams’ untimely death created an impact on a lot of people, myself included. Although many of us did not know him personally, we felt his loss deeply because he was a part of our lives, because we identified with him, because we saw ourselves in his silent suffering. Saw a part of ourselves reflected in his actions. He was such a bright light, as many of us are, which is why we couldn’t understand how someone who possessed and projected such joy and laughter could be so devastated and alone inside. We subconsciously understand that he was very much like the rest of us.
He struggled with the same secrets that many of us know intimately.
Addiction is something I am very familiar with and have dealt with personally. My addiction is with food. I never saw it as an addiction until recently. I just thought I had no will power, was big boned, had a “fat” gene, etc. Food addiction is tricky. It’s an addiction of shame. It isn’t widely talked about and certainly isn’t one of the most recognized of addictions, but it is a very common addiction that many times, goes unnoticed. There are many different types of food addictions as well. Bulimia, compulsive eating, anorexia, emotional eating and sometimes a combination of those. They are all shameful and they are all just as difficult to overcome as any other addiction.
Maybe even harder.
Because we are taught to “clean our plates” and have to eat for sustenance 3 times a day, it makes controlling eating addictions that much more difficult. Everywhere you go, people are eating. There is food everywhere you turn, it’s made fast, appears inside clothing stores, it’s peddled up and down the beach. Trying to control an addiction that you are confronted with on this level of availability creates a feeling of helplessness, of not knowing where to turn, how to cope, and how to heal.
Depression is another struggle that I have known intimately. Depression is difficult because it is hard to explain, even to yourself. I wondered many times, why can’t I just “perk up”? Why can’t I “snap out of it” and just be “happy”? And I longed for happiness, craved to feel good and normal. Even just being slightly less depressed would have been a welcome emotion! So since I couldn’t figure out how to do that, and since people don’t enjoy being around someone who is unhappy, I chose to isolate myself.
Devastating and dangerous.
And it is difficult for others to understand also. Friends and loved ones don’t know how to help so eventually they end up turning their backs. Not because they don’t love you, because they feel hopeless and don’t know what they can do, or because being around you brings them down.
And so the cycle continues…until the ultimate decision is made.
I have never come to the point of planning my suicide, so I can’t relate to that level of depression, but I can only imagine the pain and mental conversations were so bad that suicide seemed like the lesser of the evils, the only escape.
I found my way out of both by taking small steps toward the light. It wasn’t easy, and there are still days that I fall back a bit, but when I look back at where I was and where I am now, the difference is overwhelming! I’m not sure if I will ever be completely healed but the journey has brought me understanding. And that gives me the strength to keep moving forward, to keep finding new ways to embrace happiness, to connect with my Higher Power and with true joy.
Recommitting with each set back.
There have been many things and people who have helped me along the way but I’d like to hear what has helped you with addiction, depression or any other difficulties in your life.
What have you done to pull yourselves up and begin the road to recovery?
Where did you find your inner hero?
How have you helped others in their struggles?
I feel we owe it to ourselves and to everyone who is silently struggling with a shameful secret, whatever it may be, to open up. To shed light on our inner battles and share them so that others can find a way to understanding and belonging. And we can all participate in a larger scale of healing that is so very needed at this time.
I look forward to your vulnerable shares…