About a month ago, to my shock! I faced the biggest fear of every strong independent woman – or person in general- … PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) which is a form of depression! You may not believe me but there are moments in my life that didn’t make any sense at all, yet somehow, I figured a way to deal with them. But standing there face to face with a sudden depression was a rude awakening for something I knew existed but wasn’t mentally prepared to face. A part of my brain tricked me that I was fully equipped to face it given my happy outgoing personality and how much I have been through in my life so far. It tricked me to believe that I know what weakness is and was prepared for its natural course. I knew it was lingering around but never came to terms with it, or maybe thought I did but didn’t really comprehend its magnitude. I mean… writing about it alone is so surreal for me! It is such a raw and liberating feeling to address your fears, especially the ones that creeped up on you and found their way when you least expected them!
Dealing with any situation no matter how difficult it is, was never an issue for me. I was raised in a way that helped shape my personality into adapting quickly and stepping into action mode right away when needed. So naturally, when I knew my son has cancer for the third time, I did what I know best… I dealt with it! I talked to my husband, we each addressed the shock and fear in our own ways, we broke down, we picked ourselves up, we supported each other with our broken hearts, but we both knew we needed to act quickly. We needed to get ourselves together for the kids, make wise informed decisions and stay positive all at once!
Yet this time around I felt it, I felt this gray cloud haunting me and in-spite of smiling, laughing, pushing through and being the (Me) everyone expects me to be, I knew I was lost! I was lost within myself and I couldn’t identify a place to start. I couldn’t even talk about it with anyone. I discovered that I wasn’t the only clueless one in dealing with PTSD, but there are so many people out there who don’t know how to address this fear, let alone deal with it especially when it comes to strong independent people. The (You are strong) and (if anyone can do it, it’s you) kind of statements were nothing but re-assuring for those who didn’t know what to do and were skeptical to approach the topic with me.
When I launched my blog earlier this year, I tried to deviate away from being just (the cancer mom) that everyone knows, or the young mother who has been through so much, I had one theme (a little dose of happiness) and one goal…which was embracing my passion and love for writing with a continuous pursuit of finding a positive in every negative, grasping to the silver lining in every situation and embodying the lessons that were given to me so suddenly. If it wasn’t for my husband pushing and supporting me in my writing journey, I most probably would still be writing bits and pieces here and there or just adding content to my notebook of prose. So, one day – a really bad day- around a month ago and after the dust had settled with my son after his bazillion surgery and endless hospital stays, I felt hit with every single emotion in the book all at once…and I broke down! I fell to my knees not knowing what to do except being numb, taking a distance from the world and just sitting there quiet… not fighting the flood of unexplainable tears! My husband looked at me and saw it all. He came closely and asked me slowly: Should I be worried? And to my other shock, instead of replying quickly like I always did before and jumping instantly into survival mode…it took me a second that time to shake my head no and assure him – and myself with him- that there is nothing to worry about. I knew it was a low (super low) self-esteem moment that wrecked me and sucked the energy out of me, but I was also aware that it is at a concerning stage where it needs to be addressed. I have been sad before, broken and super tired but I never experienced an actual form of depression! – shocking I know!- Finding the courage to write about this took me a while, strong happy individuals rarely demonstrate any signs of weakness, not because they are arrogant or they are too good to be tired! But because they don’t know how! They simply are not built to complain, fall apart or attest to any form of mental weakness… their brains are not equipped to do so! So naturally when rock bottom announced itself brutally not allowing my brain or body to function for a while, I went to bed dragging my migraine every night, pushing through every day and still not showing obvious signs of what I was really going through except to my husband. It took its course rapidly, yet slowly but surely life started reminding me again of the simple reasons to fight back and showed me in different forms the little doses of happiness…
It sure is one heck of a cancer diagnosis that doesn’t end and takes the whole family by a storm, but we still are fighting it together and I am not a one woman show! The rock bottom was so intense and aggressive leaving me completely lost with no purpose or desire to fight back, but it clearly showed me that I still have choices… whether to stay down there at my rock bottom! Or to stop fighting its natural course, allow it to happen to rise back up!
So, in the spirit of finding (the little dose of happiness) and to every strong person out there:
- Hit rock bottom! Who cares? Who is anyone to judge you on how long it should take you to break down or get back up? Only you know! Only your brain is in control!
- Ask for help! You are still awesome! But help is awesomer (not a word I know! But fits nice! 🙂 you are light in this world, who chose to live with a cause and for a reason not just randomly, so recharging occasionally, is much needed!
- Choose your audience! Just like there are a lot of loving hearts out there not knowing how to help… you will be surprised how many are waiting for you to fall! You talk to vent, you vent to release negative energy , you release negative energy to absorb a positive one, so you can keep going…that’s the goal
- Be humble! You are not bigger than calamites. Yes, everything happens for a reason that most of the times we don’t know… but everyone is built to handle it or break down also for a reason…accept it. I realized that acknowledgment and acceptance goes hand in hand.
- And finally, take a moment and look around you. This kid of yours who is smiling back, this partner of yours who is there for you, this family who love you in every shape and form and your life in general with all its clear issues yet obvious and hidden blessings are there to balance you and your existence.
PTSD can start by -post traumatic stress disorder- with a goal to make it PTSD – put that stress down- ! The power within you is beautiful and happiness around us is relevant, and sometimes all we need is… a little dose of happiness.