“In the midst of winter, I found there was within me, an invincible summer.” ~Albert Careb
A strong woman knows that there is strength in weakness. Real strength comes from admitting when she needs help. For me, I found power in acceptance and surrender. It was only when I admitted that there was something wrong, something I couldn’t fix, that I realized how strong I really was. When I accepted weakness as a strength my entire world changed.
“How is that a strength?”, you may be wondering. I’ll explain.
I’ve always preferred being alone to being in the company of others. For me, there is peace inside of a book, in music, anything that kept me from interacting with others. I had horrible mood swings — crying and snapping at people. I didn’t know what it was then, the heaviness and sadness in me. I never defined it as depression. Now, after talking to other women I know I wasn’t alone in not being able to identify what exactly was going on with me at such a young age. I felt so alone but it’s important to note: I was and you are never, ever alone. Ever.
It was in my college psychology classes where I identified myself in almost every definition of depression. Until then I blamed “the college experience” for my drinking, experimental drug use and skipping classes because I wanted to sleep instead. The problem was this wasn’t simply a college girl partying phase. I had a problem. I wasn’t coping. I was numbing myself and hiding from the darkness within me. What’s worse is that I’d made a home there, enjoying my lows and justifying my isolation and addictions.
Any of this sound familiar? The excuses for your behavior, the inability to get out of bed, the chemical dependencies, the lethargy and mood swings? I’ve found that a lot of my writer friends —the creative types — tend to relate to these emotions. Turns out that angst is great fuel for creativity (at least there’s an upside). Don’t worry, if this still sounds like you, there are many things you can do to get better.
When I admitted that I wasn’t okay and that I didn’t have the tools to heal myself, my whole world transformed. Off to the doctors I went and onto medicine I went to help my ailing brain regulate chemicals I wasn’t naturally creating. Problem solved, right?
Nope, not at all. Instead, the only change was that I became a zombie. I wasn’t sad anymore, didn’t have to stay in bed all day, but now I just didn’t feel anything. So why would I bother getting out of bed if nothing that happened made me happy or sad? What was the point of living a life without extremes like that?
Not having any range of emotion wasn’t acceptable to me, not as a woman and especially not as a writer. It sounds ridiculous but the numbness, without my depression, left me uninspired. In my mind I’d rather have been a depressed mess than not be able to feel anything at all. This left me stumbling for a little while; lost. Luckily I never had to be ashamed. Depression, while unpleasant to feel, wasn’t something I hid from people. For me, hiding it gave it more power and influence than it deserved.
It’s important to note that while meds didn’t work for me, I know they work for others. I made a decision to stop testing medications until I found one that worked for me but at the same time, I know there are a lot of great ones out there. And there isn’t a damn thing wrong with using anti-depressants to stabilize your moods and help you! Strength is admitting when you can’t do it all and asking for help. That, my friend, is strength in weakness.