Today I did some reflecting and decided I wanted to write about how I got out of the largest ditch I was ever in. I figure that after high school I must have broken a mirror or something because from age 18 to 25 (when I was supposed to be having the best times of my life) I just struggled and felt out of place in this world. Having severe depression sucked; it made me a terrible friend and person to be around in general.
A large part of depression is self confidence/self esteem, so when you’re depressed, you tend to not have much confidence in yourself, which makes you think that you’re totally shit at everything. I should also point out that I’m not a fan of medication. I stopped taking my prescribed venlafaxine without doctor approval the day I moved to Australia, and haven’t been back down that street. When I moved here and started really working through my problems, I began to feel like I had the confidence to do all the stuff that I thought I was dogshit at, like art, writing, getting out of bed, etc.
The best thing that I ever did was stop trying to medicate the problem, and tackle it head on. I decided to work the way I know best – in list form, and wrote down the things that I could identify were getting me down the most:
1. Dad being sick
2. Money (mega debt)
3. Not liking the way I look
4. Not knowing what I wanted to do; I couldn’t see any way that life could ever be fun working in some dead-end job.
5. Feeling “behind” as all my friends had graduated uni and were moving on with their lives etc and I was just working jobs I hated, with a failed marriage and no direction.
After ages of struggling along, I realized that trying to tackle all of these things at the same time was what was preventing me from feeling better. I was tiring myself out from trying to deal with it all at once. So I decided to just tackle it one thing at a time, starting with money. I also had to choose my battles. I knew that there was nothing I could do about Dad’s health, but I knew that getting myself to a state where he wouldn’t need to worry about me would be a huge relief for him in the very least. I knew moving to Australia would help due to the better wages over here, and also being close to family. After working hard at 2 jobs for awhile, my debt started to significantly diminish; I had a steady budget worked out and could cross that off my list as I knew that keeping to my budget until it was gone would be fine. That was Number 2 gone, and in a small way, Number 1 was being worked on a little too, as Dad was so stoked to hear that I was out of the red money-wise. Having financial freedom gave me a feeling of more independence and hope for a future, and it also gave me huge self-confidence. Knowing that I cleared close to fifty thousand dollars of debt in 2 years made me really think I was capable of tons of things if I could put my mind to it. With that, I started having the guts to do things I enjoyed, like painting and drawing. Of course out of that and my already-present love for tattoos, I organically realised what I wanted to do in life. Which meant that I had crossed off Number 4.
After thinking about my high school friends more, I realised that I’m not “behind” at all. One is happily married with a baby and is a successful schoolteacher, and really enjoying it …. however I couldn’t see myself enjoying that kind of life in the least. Another is some kind of nightclub or skimpies dancer, which again I wouldn’t thrive at, but it’s perfect for her in that she loves it. Realising that “different strokes for different folks” is the truth helped me so much, and now I don’t feel inadequate compared to my friends. For the first time in my life, I sometimes feel like I wouldn’t want to be anyone but me !! That is how I conquered Number 5. I’m very happy for my friends and excited for the paths they are on in life, but most importantly now, I’m finally getting happy and excited for myself, too, instead of trying to compare myself with others.
As for Number 3, I’m still proactively working on that. But in a way I’ve improved there too, I have a more sensible outlook on things and I can now walk out the door most days without feeling anxious, though I have a long way to go before “feeling sexy and sassy”. The more things I cross off, the easier it is to tackle the remaining issues. I have learnt so many life skills and coping techniques and I feel like I can handle absolutely anything now. I’ve gone through the worst times and I’m still here. I think that this year is the year that I finally put that list to bed, and focus on a new list that revolves around achieving positive things rather than trying to battle negative things.
Sorry for the big wankfest but it felt good to get it out
Love, Chelle xoxoxoxooxoxoxxo