So. Like three weekends ago I was thrown the most wonderful surprise birthday party. I was literally greeted with a minibus full of 14 of my lovely friends, bearing what seemed like endless drinks, balloons, food and a gigantic present. That pack of scheming liars got me good.
Yeah I know, the start of this post does not seem to lend itself to chatting about depression, but stick with me here. For me, my depressive symptoms come in waves. And it isn’t so much waves of sadness or despair, but waves of numb. Feeling nothing. No excitement or fear. Then waves of guilt, because I know everyone in my life that have space for me in theirs deserves to have a daughter/sister/friend/colleague that can truly experience everyday with them. And how dare this shared experience be viewed through a grey coloured lens like mine.
Usually, my depression asserts itself at times where I am desperately wanting to just enjoy the moment I’m in. They are usually the moments that I should be completely and purely happy, and this bloody illness just goes “oh hey there, let’s hang out.” Very proudly, my ability to manage these waves continues to improve, and I’m feeling more present during the beautiful times.
My surprise party was one of those moments. What an almighty expression of love and care! What superstars I have in my life. And they are, they really, really are. In my eyes, they’re amazing; they are amazing because of the way they have overcome challenges to finish their uni degrees, the way they have searched for months for their first grown up job and never given up, the way they spend their weekends barracking tragically hard for their awful football team, the way they have grown from the awkward teenager that couldn’t stand their ground to the assertive individual they are today. They are incredible human beings and I’m so grateful I have them around.
In a lot of ways, I feel like I don’t deserve their amazingness. What I have realised recently is that it isn’t an anxiety for me, it is something I believe to be true – me, myself, I’m not worth their time.
And there it was, it all started falling into place. Like a knee to the stomach I realised I feel like I’m not worthy of their love.
I know, I know, when it all clicked in my head I was equally as outraged and sad. Actually, it made me really angry. I don’t feel worthy of LOVE. How brutal a realisation is that?
But why? Why do I feel less than? I just shouldn’t, for so many reasons: my family is the complete embodiment of unconditional love; my friends, hello exhibit a), surprise party; I watch so much Lifestyle YOU, which is basically a channel dedicated to (awesome) low-budget reality shows all about the triumph of the human spirit and the importance of realising you are worth it; and, if I met someone who had done the things I’ve done in their first 25 years of life, I’d be mighty impressed. But so be the nature of this illness – absolutely zero rationality, with the ability to shadow the brightest of anything.
What I think I’ve worked out is that I give the love I can’t give myself to everyone around me, and that I need to reserve some love for myself. Not divert it from others, goodness no, I just need to learn to accept the love to top up my own supply.
And they try to give it back, I know they do. I am trying so hard to let the love in, to let it soak into my skin and warm me from the inside out.
The bottom line is: if I deal it out, I have to be able to take it. And to paraphrase L’Oréal, because you’re worth it, and so am I.