March 5, 2014

A Post about Feelings

Libba Bray and Myra McEntire, two authors I adore, have each written blog posts this week about their own personal experiences with depression. You can read Libba's here, and Myra's here. And you should.

We all know that being silly and giggly and happy and supportive is kind of my thing, right? I love making people laugh. I love being a big dork. I'm constantly on the hunt for new ways to reach higher and higher levels of ridiculousness. And I love love love meeting new people, making new friends, and talking. A lot.

I've mentioned before on the blog that sometimes, my whole Happy Megan persona is an act. I've always had an extremely hard time showing any kind of negative emotion. For a host of reasons, I feel this weird pressure to put on a happy face no matter what. So even if I'm not feeling like myself, I'll fake it until I do.

But sometimes, I can't even do that.

I'm already feeling anxious about this post. When I get upset, my tendency is to withdraw. I go silent- publicly and privately. This behavior has cost me several friends who don't understand why I shut down. They take it personally, and I can't blame them. I literally can't bring myself to speak up and tell them why I disappear. Luckily, I have a few friends who've learned to recognize when I go quiet, and they check in on me, and they wait for me to snap out of it.

I've never considered this to be depression. I just thought, this is me. I'm really good at being happy. I'm really bad at being sad. I criticize myself for being down. I often feel like I have no right to be sad, and then I start to feel guilty. "What do I have to be unhappy about? Look at what [literally, ANYONE else] is dealing with. What is WRONG with me?" (My guilt complex is AMAZING, y'all.)

After reading Libba's and Myra's posts, I reached two conclusions:

1. No one should feel bad for feeling bad. I say this all the time to other people. When my friends are upset with themselves for being sad or hurt or mad or whatever, "Don't feel bad for feeling bad" is one of my favorite pieces of advice. For whatever reason, I've never really turned that around on myself. I'm allowed to feel how I feel. I shouldn't beat myself up for having emotions. Feeling down is bad enough. Believing you're weak or damaged in some way just because you feel down--that's the worst.

2. There's not always going to be a reason for feeling down. I can't always point to something and say- "There. That's the thing that's upsetting me right now." The feeling doesn't necessarily come from anything. It just IS.

I've read well-written posts about depression many times over the last several years. This is the first time I've read them and seen any part of myself in their words. I don't know what that says about me, but I do know that I'm tired of feeling like being sad (or stressed or scared or anything but happy) is something to be ashamed of. I'm thankful that Libba and Myra were brave enough to write their posts. Their honesty helped me admit that I'm not always going to be on top of the world.

And that's okay.

18 comments:

  1. I already shared my thoughts with you, but I love you, Meg.

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    1. I love YOU. Thanks for listening. :)

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  2. I want to sing the song "Kissing You" to you from the Romeo & Juliet soundtrack but instead, I'm gonna change 'kissing" to "hugging" because, well, you know, I'm not trying to be a creeper. Feel better Megs, and don't be afraid to look into talking to a counselor or therapist. Thanks for sharing. ; )

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    1. 1. OH MY GOD thank you SO MUCH for reminding me of that song. I used to LOVE it and I haven't heard it in forEVER and LOOK AT ALL MY CAPITAL LETTERS. 2. Thank you for always being lovely.

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  3. Love this post. Thank you. And I see some of myself in it, enough that I don't feel so odd or alone in the fact that I behave similarly when feeling down. I think it's important to not feel alone when we go through stuff like that. Also to know it's okay to be down sometimes. *hugs* <3

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    1. <3 I honestly have no idea where I got the idea that it was not okay to be unhappy about anything. It's nice to know you know what I'm talking about.

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  4. Thank you for posting this Megs. I admire you so much for being brave and strong <3

    I was nodding my head while reading - I see so much of myself in this, it really helps to know that I'm not alone. I do the same thing - I retreat when I'm feeling down and break off connections with people. I know it's not healthy, but sometimes it's the only way to handle it.

    And yes. We don't need a reason to be down, just recognizing that we are is enough. And that's okay *hugs*

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    1. I love you, Jamie! Thanks so much. I know what you mean- "sometimes it's the only way to handle it." So true.

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  5. *hugs!* I love when I find a blog post that perfectly expresses all the things I wish I was brave enough to say. <3

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    1. Thanks, sweet girl. I think you are super lovely and brave.

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  6. It's easy to love the sparkly parts of ourselves best, but the quieter parts often make us most human. So sorry you have to hurt but thank you for sharing. You are great.

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    1. Thanks, Geni. That's such a great way of putting it, especially given my love for sparkly things. You're right....it's simply not realistic to be happy all the time.

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  7. I heart you. And this makes me feel a little bit more normal. *hugs*

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